Tavern 180: Contemporary, Casual, Creative

Martha’s Pick:

Tavern 180
203 N 180th St
Fare: Steak | Seafood | American
Cost: $45 each for 2 drinks, 2 appetizers, one meal and shared dessert
Reservations: We made one, but didn’t need it.

Greetings Eaters and Readers!

For this week’s food-adventure, we headed west! Having driven by Tavern 180 multiple times, I used my choice this week to finally venture inside. If I’m honest, opening the door and stepping in didn’t thrill or inspire us by first glance. A blend of modern and trendy, we didn’t feel like the decor added anything to the experience. To be fair, as we exited the restaurant, a quick walk through the bar/lounge area had a completely different feel than we were presented with in the dining room. For everything the dining side may lack in character, the lounge side makes up for. And we’d be keen to try our next experience on that side of the wall.

Everything about Tavern 180 seems to have been chosen and executed with a futuristic feel — from the iPad-like menus to the decor and ambiance and even into the bathrooms that made us feel like we were peeing in space. What we didn’t know then, we know now: if you won’t go back for the feel of the place, you’ll want to go back for the food.

Jaclyn was told by her friend Scott there was a flatbread that came topped with a drizzle of something resembling eel sauce. (Who wouldn’t love that?!) She took a shot in the dark and got the Thai Peanut Chicken Flatbread, which came with sesame sauce. And Scott was right. It. Was. So. Good. All the other ingredients — chicken, cashews, green onion and sesame seeds — made for one delicious app.

We also shared a plate of their Cashew Beef Lettuce Wraps, which were everything they should be: savory and flavorful with luscious, cold Bibb leaves. Our knowledgable and uber-friendly server Bailey was keen to point out that Tavern 180 is proud to exclusively use Nebraska-raised Kobe beef — and we could taste the quality. Bailey also plopped down a basket of complimentary and bottomless dinner rolls with her own warning of how addicting they could be. Before we knew it, the basket was empty and we had to exercise extreme restraint when she offered to fill it back up.

Fish and Chips ($14)

Jaclyn got the Fish and Chips — mostly because the price was right, but also because the picture on the menu looked promising. The cod tasted fresh and she liked that the breading was light. A lemon wedge came wrapped in mesh and a bow so she could cleanly squeeze it over the fish. You should have seen how her face lit up with excitement when she saw the beautifully wrapped lemon; she felt like she got a gift and I felt I broke her spirit when I explained what it was for.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken ($17)

With input from Bailey on menu highlights and popular choices, I went with the Parmesan Crusted Chicken, plated with baby vegetables and Boursin whipped potatoes. The chicken was tender with the right amount of crispy, which I appreciated. Instead of overpowering the chicken, it was the perfect compliment.

Signature Wagyu Steak Salad ($18)

Bonus dish! Joining us from exotic Lawton, Iowa was my dear friend Sarah. We consider her an unofficial NFF-er, as she has joined us on a handful of pre-blog excursions. On this adventure, she went with the Signature Wagyu Steak Salad.  After requesting her beef be cooked Medium-Well, Bailey interjected with a “Oooh, girl. You want it Medium.” And Sarah obliged. She was pleasantly surprised with the sweetness of the vinaigrette which was balanced with the bite of bleu cheese crumbles, halved red and yellow tomatoes and red onions. It was so filling, she left the last few bites of greens on the plate.

Bananas Foster Pain Perdu ($8)

We almost got the Iron Skillet Cookie for dessert, especially when Bailey said it was her favorite. But we wanted to try something new and got Bananas Foster. There were a lot of good things happening in this dish: french toast, cinnamon ice cream, vanilla pirouette, caramel sauce, house-made whipped cream, bananas … it was delightful from top to bottom.

Don’t let the initial sticker shock deter you. I had the suspicion that cost might be a tad higher than we usually see when the website didn’t feature prices. But we were able to stay on the lower end of the spectrum and felt our food was worth all the pennies. Our feeling was that whatever Tavern 180 saved on decor, they wisely invested into their rich and well-executed menu.

Rating: 2 Forks Up and a bonus fork from Sarah

Martha and Jaclyn

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Feature image photo credit: Tavern 180



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