Something new In the neighborhood...

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

Twenty / 20 Tap House, 18 Cedar Grove Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873 – Visited 05/31/2019

This is a new local ‘gastro-pub’ located nearly at the corner of Cedar Grove Lane and Easton Avenue in Somerset, NJ. The tap house sits on a site in front of the relatively new Spring Hill Suites hotel. I have visited this place several times since it’s opening in the Spring of 2019. On this particular occasion, two of the We Eat A Lot editors made a pit-stop on a Friday in the Spring.

While one editor had been in the restaurant previously, the other editor, who we will call agent 1107 had not. As will many of the reviews, immediately after leaving the location, we discuss our experience and the experience is recorded with a cell phone app. This review will follow the conversation of the two editors as it unfolded. Don't ask about agent 1107's name, that's whole different story...

Restaurant Review, Places to Eat
Twenty/20 Gastro Pub, Somerset, NJ

We just came from 20/Twenty:

RW: Hi 1107.

1107: Hi Bob

RW: So, we just came from 2020, and now this isn't going to be on the blog and just listening and then I'm going to write it.

1107: Okay, go on.

RW: What'd you think about the restaurant overall? Not giving it a rating, but overall, what was your opinion?

1107: Overall, I thought it was great. I liked the level of service. Our wait time wasn't bad considering that the restaurant was busy. Our waitress was very attentive and then, you know, I'm not sure who the person was that helped her out, but even that person, you know, was very attentive. I, you know, I thought the service was great. I thought the food came out in a reasonable amount of time. I know you mentioned l with your burger, because we both had burgers and I know that you mentioned your burger was smaller than the size of the bun where mine was the size of the bun and might seem like bigger than yours.

RW: Good. Right. But I don't know if it's because, remember the waitress said something about the Gouda cheese.

1107: I don’t know if it was like fried on top of the burger. It seemed bigger because of it.

RW: I thought she said it was like a cheese patty and then the burger patty.

1107: Yeah. I thought that was delicious. And like I said, I ordered the chips, like the house chips or whatever.

RW: Blue chips or something like that or I don't know.

1107: I don't know why they call them blue-chip because there was no dip or anything like that.

RW: They weren't those fancy potato chips. It's like there are some potatoes that are blue and then they slice them when they’re fried.

1107: Yeah. It wasn't like that, but you could tell that there were house made like fried potatoes. Generally, they were good and remember I said early on when I took the first taste of the first one or two. They weren't super salty, but it was like, Hmm. Maybe just a little too much salt, but then eating the ones after that were okay.

RW: Seemed like that a little bit.

1107: I don't know what you thought of your French fries. I mean I thought your French fries were like regular French fries.

RW: I couldn't tell if they were like hand cut fries. I think that's what they were trying to go for. But they were hot.

1107: Yeah, they were.

RW: You know. I mean generally are your French fries generally ever crispy? No, they're just cooked.

1107: No, because you know who has crispy fries is Shake Shack.

RW: Their fries are always awesome. That's one review we'll have to do.

1107: Yeah, their fries are crispy. So, like I said, overall, I'd give them a great rating. And the atmosphere was great. I even like the set-up of the restaurant,

RW: Like we were saying at the restaurant, it has an earthy crunchy feeling. But it's not stuffy and it's not just a run of the mill kind of bar kind of place. And it's also not similar to like chain restaurants. It's not similar to an Applebee's or TGI Fridays where they just jam them in and push them out.

1107: I enjoyed the food. And I know you had mentioned like the Stage House. The Stage House is okay. Especially like the one here in Somerset is okay, I think I prefer the one on 22. But and even comparing the burgers, like you figure who could mess up on a burger? Like, yeah. But in the Stage House, they are just okay. These were like a lot better. If I had to compare, these were definitely a lot better.

RW: Yeah. I mean, Stage House, especially here in Somerset, if you are lucky enough to sit out on the patio that whole atmosphere thing is really cool. The food doesn't generally match it cause doesn’t look like the crew can keep up with the demand or there's too many people to be good. You know what I mean?

1107: No, but I think the reason they stay in business probably because of the location, the way it's set up. Because it does have a nice atmosphere.

RW: Yeah. Plus, they have that BBQ in the summertime. Remember they have that pay what you want BBQ?

1107: Yeah, outdoor patio and stuff like that. So that's what people are going for.

RW: Okay. Let's talk about ratings. Okay. And I'm just making the categories up, but sometime in the future we'll come up with like standard categories that we talk about. On a scale of one to 5, let's talk about the restaurants overall. So, one to 5, 5 being great, one being awful, what would you give it?

1107: I mean, I think I'd have to give it a 5, you know, I thought it was great.

RW: All right. I think I would probably give it between 4 ½ and 5. Okay. Then let's talk about our server. So, what would you think about her service overall?

1107: I think overall it was great. She was very attentive.

RW: Agreed. She wasn't overbearing and she wasn't sitting on top of us.

1107: She wasn't sitting on top of us and she didn't ignore us either, but she came and checked in on us. Kind of like on a regular basis. And the other thing she seemed very friendly and even in like giving her opinion. When I was thinking about the burger and you know, it seemed like it's something that she had tried or had when I said, Oh, how was this? She was like, “…Oh, you know, that's really good….” or whatever. And then even being able to talk about the dessert, like them not having a menu.

RW: Oh, the verbal menu. I remember that, because if you read some of the other reviews, that's where people kind of stumbled. Like they had a menu, but they did have a menu and they had some stuff, but they didn't have stuff.

1107: So, it's clear that they do have dessert but nothing's written down. The menu is something that the server should know.

RW: On a scale of one to 5, what would you give our waitress or server?

1107: I kind of have to give her a 5 also because she was great. For example, when our food came out, she checked on us, you know, asking if she could refill her drinks. I know at one point you said to her like “…can you give me another Coke?” She even apologized because she felt like she should have checked it before you asked. But I liked her even checking if I even wanted another ginger ale.

RW: Good. I'm glad she did that.

1107: Yeah. But she checked on us just enough. It wasn't like overbearing or too much and it wasn't like we were looking for her. It wasn't like she just ignored us.

RW: Okay. So then let's talk about the appetizer because we had the calamari with the peppers, right? On a scale of one to 5, what would you say?

1107: On a scale of one to 5? I'd probably give them like maybe a 3 or 3.5. And the only reason I say that is because I thought the calamari was nice and crispy. It was hot and it was crisp. It wasn’t rubbery, which I enjoyed.

RW: Like I said earlier, I think that is the mark of a well-cooked calamari. Crisp but not overcooked. Because otherwise you're chewing on rubber bands.

1107: But the reason I'm not giving it a higher mark is because it was a bit oily. It was a bit oily or greasy and the oil you could see was collecting at the bottom of the bowl.

RW: So even though you didn't really taste it, you could really see it. So, it's almost like you could have soaked this on a paper towel or something like that.

1107: Agreed. And, and like I said, the peppers that they had in there, they weren't hot. The peppers were delicious because, you know, after we finished all the calamari, I kept the peppers to put onto my hamburger. They were delicious. They weren't hot, they were more like sweet or whatever. But even with that, I thought there were just too many, like they could've cut back. I almost thought that was kind of like a waste.

RW: Like I was saying earlier, maybe they could have thrown in a couple more rings of calamari and taken out a few handfuls of the peppers.

1107: I think they were just as supposed to be accents and not half of the plate.

RW: So then let's move on to not only be two more categories. Okay, fine. So, let's move on to rating the main course.

1107: You mean my burger?

RW: What did you think from one to 5?

1107: I'd have to say, because I ate my entire burger. I have to. Hmm. I'll say I'll give it like a 4. And the reason I say that is because the burger was very good. There was something wrong with it. It's very tasty. But you're right in saying that because you ordered yours medium and I ordered mine medium well but then when they came out it almost seemed like they confused the meat itself because yours look well done. The thing is neither of us ordered well done. Correct.

RW: Mine would have been closer to your medium-well versus the medium because yours had pink in it. That's not exactly what you ordered.

1107: No. They, you know, so they got crisscrossed with that. But besides that, like I said, it was a very good burger.

RW: And the chips were good. Your chips were better than my fries. So, on a scale of one to 5, what would you rate it? Your burger?

1107: I want to say a 4.5.

RW: I think I would give mine probably about a 3 because it was a plain Jane burger. Because it was just a bacon cheddar burger with nothing else on it.

1107: Did it have cheddar on it?

RW: Yes, it was cheddar. It was mild cheddar. You couldn't really taste it, but it wasn't American cheese, which was better, I'm not a big American cheese person. On a scale, I'd say it's between 3 and 3.5 because it was a plain chain burger. I like to order the plain Jane burgers because I like to taste the meat. That's how I can tell for myself whether the meat's really good. There are a couple places where you go and you're like, “…Oh my God, this burger is really great, like Shake Shack.” With Shake Shack when you bite into their burgers, even though they're are plain burger, you can really taste the meat. That's what I really like. Then what did you think of the dessert? It a pretty basic dessert, right?

1107: Actually, the dessert was like, okay the, you know, we, so we had the brownie skillet with vanilla ice cream on top. I mean I know I ate practically half of it, but it was okay. The ice cream was good, but actually the brownie skillet itself was fair. The consistency and the chewiness, that was all fine. But the flavor of the brownie itself, I've had better brownies.

RW: Yeah. So, they just seem like they do a really good job with all of the other stuff, but it almost seems like that brownie thing is like a mix that they just pound into the pan and pop in the oven. Sound like someone's back there mixing it from a box.

1107: It wasn't like the most flavorful, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't like wow. So then, because it was to the point where I should have ordered the chocolate chip cookie.

RW: All right. So then on a scale of one to five what would you give it?

1107: For me I'd say a two., I was going to say like a 1.5 to 2,

RW: I'm going to say like a three only because it wasn't horrible. Like I said, the, you know, it was a nice chewy brownie. But the problem is the taste itself, it was just like, okay. Yeah. Well I would say it was incredibly uneventful or terrible. It was a mix or something, but I could do a better brownie with Duncan Hines.

1107: What did you think about the cost of the meal? So now everybody's read about what we've eaten, right? Burgers, calamari, two sodas and one dessert. Hmm. So overall the bill was $57. What did you think about pricing?

RW: looking at things individually, I thought it wasn't so bad. But then I wondered if my burger was worth $15? Well, you know, I can say, I didn’t think I thought it was worth $15.

1107: My chips were good. You know it was a pretty big burger. It had that cheese thing on there, like a whole slab of cheese. But as you pointed out with your burger, first of all, the burger didn't even fit the size of the bun and it was just nothing special.

1107: But I think the reason your burger was $15 was because you added bacon to it.

RW: And that could be, so I'm guessing that it probably without the bacon is probably 12 or $13. We should've looked at prices more because I thought it was a bit pricey, especially since $57 was just for burgers, Cokes. A single appetizer and a shared dessert. The dessert by the way was the most reasonable thing on the menu for $5. I think you pointed out with the calamari that it was $14 or $15 bucks.

1107: Now because you say that, how many rings and tentacles were there, maybe a handful? It was a decent sized serving, but not a serving that should cost $15 for the amount we got. I would say a reasonable charge would have been like $9 to $12.

RW: It's has to be something really good to push it up to $15. I don't think it was so bad as New York prices, but it's hard to justify those prices for that restaurant here in Somerset.

1107: But then the other problem I blame us because the prices are clearly stayed on the menu. That's the thing.

RW: The thing is we knew what we were going to pay. We just didn't know what we were paying for.

1107: Yeah. Because the only thing that wasn't on the menu was the dessert. But you know who could complain about dessert being $5

RW: That's true. And again, we knew what the prices were going in. We just didn't know what we were going to eat with those prices. So now you can circle back, and you can say, well, $15 for a burger, which might seem little high when you're ordering it, but you're not really sure what you're going to get. Then once you get it, wonder if it was worth 15 bucks?

1107: Then the other thing I just realized is that they didn't offer any like coffee or tea. I’m kind of wondering now, because you have a hot drink usually with dessert.

RW: Oh, like a cappuccino or coffee? Oh, that's true. It's kind of like a pub atmosphere. But they could still offer it.

1107: Yeah. I'm just realizing that now. It's either something that they generally don't serve, or they haven't thought of it or maybe the waitress forgot to mention it, but I don't even remember as we were leaving, seeing any cups of coffee or anything that looked like a cup of coffee or a cup of tea.

RW: Boy. Yeah, that's a good point. So, okay, so then let's just recap. we can say it is more pub food because you remember it ordered you, it offered you pizza and pasta, also pizza pasta. And you said there were lots of steaks on the menu, sites of care appointing chicken and stuff and salad. They actually did, they had chicken and the intersection of salads. We can't just say it was regular pub food because it is just that side of the menu that we looked at.

1107: We didn't pay attention really to the other stuff cause I kind of glanced it, but yeah.

RW: Okay. So, it's more than pub food. Thank you 1107.

1107: You’re welcome.

There you have it. Check out Twenty/20 Taphouse. It is a lot of fun and the lively atmosphere will provide a great diversion from a rough day.

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