Monday, September 20, 2010

LaBan Torches City Tap House

Ouch. Just when you were starting to think that great beer was the key to a great review from Philadelphia Inquirer restaurant reviewer Craig LaBan (I'm kidding; but he has loved the gastropubs), he launches this flaming load of thisplacesucked at City Tap House. Wow.

Hey, I'll admit; I had my doubts about the place before it opened. But I really thought it was pretty good, pretty squared away. LaBan experienced dirty glassware (soapy, lipstick, and "with bread crumbs floating on top"), a mouse (admitted, running around outside where they have a grassy roof), and bland pizza. He didn't really find much good to say except about the fried oysters and the burger...and, of course, the beers.

Too bad. Guess I'll have to head back and see if things really do suck that bad.

A note on comments to this post, and any post on a particular place: I'm not going to publish your reviews of service/food/beer here. If it's a general comment and you have a short illustrative point, okay, but otherwise, I'll reject those comments. It's not because I don't agree with you, or think your review is too gushing or mean-spirited, or because I don't like you. It's because I don't want this turning into Yelp. Yelp is there for that; post there. Seriously, I do, and I read those reviews when I'm looking for new places. It's a much more appropriate place. Okay? No hard feelings, I hope.  

8 comments:

NJFoodies said...

LeBan is losing more and more readers by the day unforunately. His recent rant about West Side Gravy, a place he has yet to even dine is a perfect example. We've actually gotten qute a few e-mails asking our opinion of Mr. LeBan, and in all honesty, I really don't ahve one. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't. To each their own!

CReilly said...

wow rough review... I had been to a bar where the first beer glass had lipstick on it, i asked her for another glass and she outright poured that same beer into another glass, so my hefe now had no head...guess its a matter of training bartenders to be bartenders not just people pouring beer out of "things with handles that beer comes out of".

Dan Bengel said...

Craft beer and the bars in which they are served, do not, and should not, get a free pass. If your servers are laughing off something in front of you, what are they laughing about behind your back?

Lew Bryson said...

No arguments here, Dan: craft beer and craft beer bars do not get a free pass. Too much of that went on fifteen, ten, even five years ago. They're not precious darlings any more, they need to stand up and be responsible.

My point here was that LaBan's experience was almost 180 degrees from mine. What I'm wondering is whether City Tap House has slipped, badly; wouldn't be the first time that happened in Philly. But like I said...I want to go back and see for myself.

Jay Zeis said...

I am not one to form opinions on bar and restaurants in one trip. You can go to a beer bar and get a new bartender, while someone else can get the beer manager. Unless you know who is who, it is hard to judge. I will also try to go to a different bartender (if they have multiple on) to check how well the staff is trained- I am not saying I quiz them, just observe as I order a beer.

JohnM. said...

I'm with Jay Zeis on this. While I'm not saying the criticism isn't deserved, if you're a professional (semi-professional?) restaurant critic, it just strikes me as unprofessional to write up something like this based on a single, Friday evening visit (when I assume Tap House was likely slammed). At the very least, you'd kind of think Mr. LaBan would want to visit at least a couple of times, just to assure himself that the Friday experience wasn't a one time aberration. It sounds to me as if it could have been, based on Lew's post regarding his own experience (or maybe the place really has gone that far down hill since he visited). Either way, it's hard to know based on Mr. LaBan's single, one time visit.

Lew Bryson said...

LaBan makes three trips. If I were reviewing a place the size and type of City Tap, I'd one of my visits a Friday night, too. He never said he only went on a Friday night. He really does go three times.

JohnM. said...

Thanks for the clarification Lew. Unfortunately, that's not really clear from the article (that he visited three times), though I did wonder when I saw his comment that he ordered three different mussel dishes.

If his experience was consistent on all three occasions, then that tends to make me think your other theory is the correct one (the CTH has slipped badly since their initial opening). That's a shame.