|A better bun befitting a better bar burger at Republic|
Let's just get this out of the way: The new outpost of Republic in Calhoun Square has nothing on the original Seven Corners location in terms of atmosphere. Yes, the views are nice and it's a very welcome addition to an area that's lacking in really good beer bars, but the lofted space, in the former home of chachi bar the Independent, just doesn't have the well-worn, dark, wooded charm of the original. (Note: The gross smoking patio has been destroyed and remade into sunny atrium seating.) Fortunately, what they do have is a menu identical to the one at their successful Seven Corners store.
It had been some time since we stopped by Republic to actually eat rather than to just wade through their extensive and oft-rotating beer list, so a visit to this second location, which opened in early November, seemed in order, and it offered some very nice surprises.
Aside from respectable burgers both of the beef and turkey variety (made with either Wild Acres turkey or 1000 Hills beef), a generous and chunky spinach-artichoke dip, and a fabulous smoked turkey sandwich with salty-sweet bacon and bourbon jam, we found a healthy and hearty smoked trout salad that made for the good post-holiday re-energizing eating
we've been writing about lately
|Light eats to go with a heavy beer|
It's more of a wild rice salad on greens really, but it's chewy, filling, lightly dressed, and accompanied by beautiful jewels of roasted red and golden beets and a bit of smoked trout from Star Prairie Farms in Wisconsin. Though the trout was a little on the dry side, the salad was a winner -- and from a bustling beer bar, no less.
But the best thing we sampled at the new Republic (remember, they are available at both locations) were the celestially light ricotta fritters. Like an incredibly, splendidly sophisticated spin on tired mozzarella sticks, these fritters are breaded and fried, but they are Panko-crisp, not at all greasy. When you break into them, they're delicate as a good crab cake and have just enough salt to work as a worthy foil against the truffled honey that gets drizzled over them before serving. Get them to share or keep them all to yourself, just be sure to order them.
Here's a parting shot:
|Celestial and light: Republic's ricotta fritters|