We're here for the beer

Stick to liquid refreshment at The Copper Tank

A night like that is no basis for reviewing a new restaurant. I only mention it because our next visit was a lesson in how to salvage a service disaster. Copper Tank had sent up kitchen staff from the Austin store so the kitchen was functioning. Our waitress, Kendra, recognized us from that Black Wednesday, and went out of her way to ensure that our second dinner was as smooth and pleasant as a professional server could make it.

Well-meaning and friendly as the service was, the food was still mostly mediocre.

We had tried the bacon cheeseburger the night the place fell apart and it was fine. The chicken-fried steak that night seemed to be outlandishly seasoned with fennel or anise--but that could have been an aberration of the brownie-challenged kitchen crew; the uncooked calzone, its stuffing of cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions encased in partially raw dough, certainly was.

When we returned, the food was still uneven. We did like the onion soup, made with a glug of brown ale, the sweet onions and beer combining in hearty accord as they do in the famous stew made by the beer-loving Belgians, carbonnade flamande. The teriyaki-marinated tuna steak (a fish hefty enough to stand up to the beer) was cooked until dry and unevenly seasoned, ranging oddly from sweet at one end to hot at the other. The accompanying rice had been overseasoned with allspice and the vegetables seemed not to have been seasoned at all.

We did check out that brownie, though, and it came with a scoop of chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, and fudge sauce--a good, gooey dessert, but not so unorthodox that a line cook couldn't have figured it out.

The Copper Tank Brewing Company, 2600 Main Street, 744-BREW. Open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m.

The Copper Tank Brewing Company:
Chicken Pesto
Big Dog Onion Soup, Cup $2.25
Copper Tank Club Sandwich $5.75
Copper Tank Bacon Cheeseburger $5.95
Chicken-Fried Steak $7.25
Grilled Tuna Teriyaki $6.95

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