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Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery
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Active Beers: 22
Beer Ratings: 94
Beer Avg: 3.77
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Brewery, Eatery ]
279 Springfield Ave.
phone: (908) 665-1755
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Reviews by RonfromJersey:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$$
The name is perfectly accurate. "Restaurant and brewery". Not brewpub. And in that order.
I caught my wife off guard with the suggestion that we go to a brewpub for our tenth anniversary dinner. But she went along.
Valet parking is merely the first sign that Trap Rock is not the stereotypical brewpub.
Entering, the brewing equipment is visible on the lower level. You procede up half a flight and enter into "the lounge" (server's term). Most of us might say "the bar". It's a relatively small bar, with stools, and tables across from it. It is also a very dark bar, somewhat a throwback to an earlier time. There is a large dining area to the left, and a separate dining room to the right. We were seated in the right room, which has a rustic decor while still evoking formality. My window seat overlooked the patio diners below. Rest rooms and a party room, with bar, are located upstairs.
The menu is a single very large card, food on one side, the beer and wine on the other. We were also given a separate smaller card with the day's specials. One thing which bothered me about the menu was that with each entree there was a suggested wine, but not a beer. The beer list did include general recommendations for food to pair with the beer, but it seemed a bit half-hearted to me.
This is upscale American cuisine. In other words, almost every listing included some element that I had no idea what it was. But we are adventurous. For appetizers we chose lobster spring rolls with dipping sauces, and a crabcake with came on a bed of what seemed to be stuffing with ham. For entrees I had beef tenderloin and my wife had scallops. We managed to squeeze in Creme brule for dessert. All of it was excellent.
The beers I tried were pleasing and to style: a very drinkable helles, a solid IPA, and an exceptionally impressive APA: Dave's Commitment Ale, which seemed appropriate for an anniversary dinner. I didn't have room for the stout I was planning on. I regret that I failed to inquire about cask ale.
Though it was a little slow in taking our first drink order, service was attentive, and my beer glass was not left empty too long.
This is not a cheap date. Dinner for two, even splitting appetizers and dessert can easily top $100. In terms of dinner, this is a special occassion place, from my perspective. We will probably be back, but it will be awhile.
One concern I have is for the brewery side of the business. I see a lot more wine and cocktails both in the longue and in the dining rooms than other brewpubs. And I don't imagine "regulars" like in other brewpubs who pop in a couple times a week for a brew or two, and a quick bite.
Original review: 05-03-2004
12-18-05 Update: I will add that while dinner might be a little costly (not unfairly, mind you), this week I stopped in for lunch and had a fine pulled pork sandwhich, a small mountain of fries, and about a pint and a half of one damn good porter/stout for $14 something plus tip.
12-19-2005 07:28:59 |
More by RonfromJersey
More User Reviews:
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
From the exterior, the place looks unassuming, but you are greated with a moderately upscale dining and drinking environment upon entry. Exposed wood and some masonry star in the decor, dimly light at night. Very euro feeling. Smallish bar, but a lot of table seating throughout. Warm and cozy.
A nice selection of 8 beers available, from average to solid. As with most places, the standard line leans towards light and crowd pleasing, instead go towards the roating seasonals and special brews. Menu covers standard fried affair and burgers as well as more inspired cullinary creations. All was solid to fantastic. Service was spotty despite the comofrtable crowd.
All in all, the beers are average, save for a few seasonals, but the food was quite good. Well worth a revisit.
07-09-2012 15:16:47 |
More by rfgetz
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Stopped in yesterday and had 2 beers, the pils was nice, crisp and clean, more Bavarian than Czech. The Oatmeal Stout was also pretty good but certainly not as good as Krogh's up in Lake Mohawk. Since we were doing some bar hopping we didn't want to eat too much in one place so I ordered the spring roll app. This was pretty tasty and pretty expensive, $12.95 for two small rolls cut in half. Everytime I go back to this place I remember why I don't go there more often. There is nothing particularly wrong with it but the bang for the buck is just not there.
04-23-2012 13:24:48 |
More by crenegar
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$$
Really nice atmosphere; old oak bar and benches and stairs, etc. Small but spacious, multiple rooms and an upstairs if you wanted a private party. Plenty of light as well. The brewery area was nicely integrated as well, you can see the mash tuns, serving tanks, etc.
Food was awesome, got the Taco Trio (Mahi Mahi, Pulled pork and Chicken) with 2 different slaws to use as toppings. Mother/sister really enjoyed their butternut squash app, prime rib wrap and vege quesadillas.
Service was spot on. Waiters changed mid-meal but it was seamless and both were great.
Beers were the most disappointing part of the experience. Mother and sister split the sampler but I passed because it was 75% lagers/pilsners. Sampled their IPA which tasted like Celebration, the brown ale which was meek and watery and the bock which was surprisingly hoppy and yet malty and enjoyable; def the best beer I sampled. Still I wish these small brew pubs would push the envelope considering they can make whatever they want and if it's not good, it's just one batch and they can try again.
Overall it was a nice way to celebrate my belated birthday and I would definitely go again in the future if I knew there was something more "worth-while" on tap; but a nice experience overall.
02-27-2012 17:40:36 |
More by claspada
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
I've been there twice now. Once we ate outside and once inside at night. I really enjoyed the food and brews both times I was there. I'd love to go back soon. Their beers are not out of this world, but are all very enjoyable. I got the sampler both times, which I tend to do at every brewpub I visit. Their food is probably better than the beer. They also have valet parking, which for me is a bit much when going to a place to eat in suburban New Jersey. Overall, one of my two favorite brewpubs in New Jersey.
02-04-2012 13:41:49 |
More by DrStiffington
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$$
A nice quiet place but a little bit on the pricey side. Went there for a late lunch with my father and tried 2 samplers and a few pints of their seasonals. It was nice to be able to hear the person you're talking to for a change. Bartender was on point for the most part, food was decent (took it to go - veggie burger). Growlers are priced average - I think I need to go back and get the cherry stout. Samplers were $10 which isn't bad considering you get a good jist of what they are capable of..
01-12-2012 23:47:40 |
More by facundoCNB
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
From notes from a recent visit.
I was there most recently on July 14, 2011, with a small gang of friends, the day before finding out that I had landed a new job.
You walk in the front door, and there is a nice sized bar right in front of you. Slightly to the right is the wait station, and the hiring standards are obvious; these young ladies are beautiful. It helped that one of the ladies was laser-locked on my friend, in that we got a table quickly.
The waiting was shared by two people, with varying degrees of beer knowledge. They come with a fairly standard boilerplate speech, but when challenged, either shine or fade. One waiter shone, the other faded. Most of us tried the beer sampler, which was okay. It's a good way to get value for your money, as you get six reasonable sized samples for somewhere around $10.
The food took longer to arrive than it should have, but their plot to have you drinking so that you don't mind the wait pays off handsomely. The customers are nice and buzzed, so there's less complaining. When the food eventually arrives, it's really good, not quite outstanding. The steaks are pretty damn good, as are the appetizers that precede.
The bathroom are located up the stairs, and remind one of a golf clubhouse. They are clean and well-maintained; kudos.
Overall, the beer is okay, the food is a bit pricey, but good enough that you don't mind, and even the valets hustle. If I lived clser, it would be my local haunt.
10-01-2011 22:16:20 |
More by bogus564
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
I am a fan of the entire Harvest Restaurant Group. They recruit excellent executive chefs for each of their establishments. There has been good coordination across their restaurants for some successful recipes.
I was there in a large group tonight. They treated us well and I always had a drink on hand (one sign of good service).
Some of the servers had a good understanding of the beer selection.
The food is very good, as usual. They trend toward the high end, and you get charged for it. I had their ribs, spring rolls, and two beers. It came to about $55 with tip.
I recommend that you try out Trap Rock.
07-15-2011 02:59:49 |
More by ummswimmin
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I love that there is a place like this near me.
They food is good. They try to make it a little more special than your average food. Their fried chicken is great. Their angus burger is also good.
The beer is also good. I enjoy the Pilsner and the Hathor Red which are among their standards. I can say that the different brews are not always consistent, but I don't mind that at all.
Charlie the Brewer gets very creative sometimes and usually has at least one unusual variety on the beer menu. He has been known to use lavendar to produce beer with a bubblegum flavor.
I often try the special varieties.
The service is very good. The staff are all friendly and helpful.
I can say that I met a friend for a beer after work, and the manager and barman occupied all of our time and we barely got to have our own conversation.
05-15-2011 02:07:24 |
More by mrgrinch
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Stopped by here on 10SEP10, before heading to the Greenwood Lake Airshow.
Looks like a ski lodge from the outside! Into the parking lot, and enter on the side to the rear. Once in, the bar is ahead a bit, with tables set off to the right and also the rear left. More tables are beyond the bar to the far and rear left. The bar is ahead, and is L-shaped and going back to the rear left. The place is a bit dark, with beamed ceilings and dark wood around. At the bar, "Mel" made me feel at home, and helped me with the bier/food menus. There were 7 biers on tap, though the hoped-for Oktoberfest was not amongst them. It had kicked but would soon be on again, I was told. I opted for an IPA, followed by a stout. Hungry, I threw in an order for some pulled pork. It hit the bar in 5 minutes, no lie! And it was damn tasty! Fries were good, though not too plentiful. Anyhow, the IPA and stout were satisfying, and the meal was top-shelf. The place does seem to strive to be upscale, with the staff all bedecked in black pant, white shirts and ties. Anyhow, the meal and bier hit the spot!
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 - $$$
09-16-2010 01:27:26 |
More by Bierman9
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Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery in Berkeley Heights, NJ