After an extended closure for renovations, Harry’s Tap Room in Clarendon reopened just after Thanksgiving as Market Tavern.
The two-floor restaurant is almost two restaurants in one, with a first-floor bar and lounge and a second-floor full dining room called The Chophouse.
Diners enter immediately into the bar and lounge, a space that gives a modern, almost industrial impression with its metal chairs and exposed concrete floors. From this spot, customers can order from a modest menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and burgers – including The Gold Standard Burger, a multi-meat concoction combining ground beef short loin, beef short rib and brisket that is topped with bone marrow and served on a brioche roll. While the Gold Standard will set diners back $19, other entree offerings range from $7 – $18, and appetizers range from the $7 mushroom soup to the $18 sliced New York strip steak and blue cheese fondue platter.
A heartier eating experience happens on the second floor. Guests who make their way up the winding metal stairs to this expansive, elegantly appointed dining room are greeted by some curious art – a pixelated rendering of a bull covers the back wall, emblazoned with the phrase “almost every person has something secret he likes to eat,” from renown food writer M. F. K. Fisher. The piece foreshadows the meal – an unabashed devotion to beef, an intellectual approach to dining, and a fair amount of indulging.
Indulging comes by way of the price tag. Diners at The Chophouse can expect to pay much more for this steakhouse fare than the pub bites below. The appetizers and salads are, for the most part, repeated, but entree picks range from the $18 vegetable cous cous to the twin beef filets with crabmeat and asparagus in a bearnaise sauce, which costs $36. These plates don’t include side dishes – for an additional $6 apiece, diners can have their pick of the standard vegetables and starches like baked potato and green beans to accompany the meal.
Upon taking their seats, customers are invited to sample one of the new offerings that comes with the Market Tavern change – a complementary bread and butter bar, featuring a variety of the two, intended to engage the diners with the dining experience as they make various combinations to be tried.
Steaks and chops are emphasized in the main course selections. Each can be ordered with a special treatment or “simply grilled” for a few dollars less. The skirt steak ($25), when ordered with the recommended seasonings, comes Adobo-rubbed in a mustard-sherry sauce with marinated red onions served alongside. A simple plating removes all distraction from the sizeable meat strip, and while the seasoning is robust, it doesn’t mask quality beef flavors.
Seafood options make up the greater part of the remaining entrees, with a few vegetarian selections and a few lamb and chicken plates. The salmon filet ($25) plates the cedar plank-roasted fish, wonderfully tender and flavorful, with root vegetables and lightly-seared gnocchi, all drizzled in a thin dill sauce that brings a nice lightness and tangy flavor to the dish.
$7 desserts – from the bread pudding to the creme brulee – tempt diners looking to end the meal with a bite of something sweet.
Though each floor is its own separate dining experience, both serve drinks from an extensive wine, beer, and cocktail list, featuring over 100 options that are sure to satisfy any drinker and accompany any meal, from a hamburger to a gourmet steak.
Market Tavern is located at 2800 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington. For more information, call 703-778-7788 or visit mtavern.com. Restaurant hours are Monday – Thursday: 3 – Midnight; Friday: 3 p.m. – 1 a.m.; Saturday – 10 a.m. – 1 a.m.; and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.