This past weekend we were meeting J.’s family for dinner. Looking for a midway point for us all, we stumbled across Marlow’s Tavern, off of Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.
Marlow’s Tavern takes that classic tavern atmosphere and puts a modern twist on it. The restaurant has an urban feel with a black, white and red color scheme, modern furniture and lighting. It was rather dark in there, which of course lends itself to that warm tavern feel. With a handful of TVs along the wall, J. quickly commented it would be a great place to watch Sunday football.
We started off with the asparagus fries and fresh burrata mozzarella as appetizers for the group. The asparagus fries were lightly battered, fried, and served with a tarragon citrus aioli. They were perfectly crisp without being too heavy (you could still actually taste the asparagus!) I easily could have eaten the whole basket myself. (Side note: I want to try to make these myself at home!)
The mozzarella was served on top of a roast tomato and eggplant caponata, topped with a parsley olive oil and served with toasted ciabatta bread. The roast tomato and eggplant caponata was a delicious sweet, acidic bite that paired nicely with the heavy, creamy cheese. The eggplant I thought could have been a little more finely chopped, the chunks of it were much larger than the tomato bits. The bread was toasted well, enough to stand up to the soggy toppings. I do wish, however, we had either been served more bread, or the pieces had been cut into smaller pieces. With a group of 8 we were ripping the bread apart for everyone to get a bite.
For dinner, I ordered the banh mi chicken wrap, filled with grilled soy glazed chicken, napa cabbage, picked veggies, fresh cilantro and firecracker sauce. The grilled wrap held up to every bite which I consider a huge feat, especially considering the amount of liquid that was in this wrap. There was a nice balance of the sweet soy glaze and heat of the firecracker sauce and it needed the texture from the cabbage and veggies. The chicken was cooked well and there was a good ratio of chicken to cabbage to veggies. Probably the most unique (non-American) dish on the menu, but I was a big fan.
I ordered my wrap with a side of chick pea fries. I’d never had these before so I don’t have much to compare them to other than an idea in my head. I’d call these more of chick pea cakes than fries, although the outsides were crisp, the insides had a soft texture much like a grit cake. There was some added heat to these that gave them nice flavor, as chick peas can be pretty bland on their own. Overall, I liked them and I think are a good pairing for any sandwich.
All of the dishes were modern twists on some classic fare that are certainly worth checking out. And if you like J.’s idea of watching Sunday football there, you’re in luck because they also served Sunday brunch.
Until next time!