Reviewer: 
M. H. Perry

Restaurant Growlers—Eclectic Tavern

 Location:  227 East Diamond Avenue
                        Gaithersburg

 Phone:  (301) 519-9400

 Hours:
      Sunday-Thursday
:  11:30 am-12:30 am

      Friday & Saturday: 11:30 am-1:30 am

     

Growlers has undergone a number of incarnations in the decades of its existence. In the 1950s it was a bar run by Frank Ciarrachi's father. Recently, it was called the Brew Pub. The current incarnation is so charming, that we hope it lasts forever.

The current owners updated the painting and décor, but the outside of the building hasn’t changed very much since it was built in 1903. Fortunately, the interior wainscoting has been retained and is painted in earth tones, Some of the wall is brick. There is a lot of brass in the bar area.

Growlers is still a brew pub where they make their own beers. Half a dozen varieties are available on the menu.

The bar area is something of a typical bar, but opened and airy. There are three separate dining areas, each exhibiting an antique look with a modern flare and cleanliness. They have a lot of upscale fare without the upscale prices, and they pay particular attention to quaint presentation. Their fish and chips is served in a brown paper bag on a plate. This somehow adds a kind of flare that makes the perfectly prepared golden fried fish even more appealing than it would be just on a plate.

The range and variety of menu items and prices make Growlers appropriate for a lunch stop with kids or for a more festive occasion. Any time there is a  need to go to City Hall, Growlers is right up the street—or it can be a destination. The combination of food and atmosphere make it worth the trip on its own merits. Parking is in back.

They offer nine salads and you can add chicken breast, flank steak, calamari, Portobello, or seared shrimp to any for $3 to $4 extra.

Among the salads are:

  • Baby field greens—$ 5.25
  • The Avocado Chop—Diced avocado with a mignonette of tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, garlic, fresh lime grilled tortillas, and olive oil—$7
  • Brewers Plate—Chef’s choice of cheese4, Boquerón’s, pepperoni, pickled goodies and toaster bread—$10
  • Tavern Peppercorn Steak Salad—Grilled flank steak with baby greens, tossed with read onions, parmesan cheese and roasted garlic –sherry dressing—$14.75

They offer nine vegetable dishes, among which are:

  • Spartan Spinach—Sautéed with red onions, garlic, tomatoes and topped with feta cheese—$6.50
  • Artichoke Quesadilla—Stuffed with a blend of Monterey jack, parmesan and goat cheese served with a sundried tomato spread—$7.50
  • Potato Skins—add chili $1—$7.75
  • The Mash Tun—Mashed potatoes with demi—$4.75
  • Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus—Stuffed with feta cheese, red onions and roasted red peppers—$7.50

Their Seafood dishes include Crab, Scallops, Shrimp, Mussels, Calamari, Salmon, and Talapia and range in price from $7.50 to $10.00.

  • Their Crab Stuffed Pretzel, crab blended with crab, spinach, and cheeses, served with a honey mustard is both good and unusual.
  • The Fish & Chips in the brown paper bad on a plate are perfectly fried to a crisp gold and for some reason look irresistible in a brown bag.

Twelve different sandwiches are available ranging from the Growlers Grilled Cheese for $6.50 to the Maryland Lobster Roll and the Tavern Sliders for $10. The sandwiches are hearty and good. They have their own chili for $6.25.

What they refer to as “Meats” are their nine dinners which include Fire Roasted Lamb Chops for$14.00 and Chicken Tenders for $7.00.

They serve seven varieties of Thin Crust Pizza from $8.25 to $10.50 and seven selections of Pasta and Paella. My companion ordered the Chicken and Chorizo Sausage Conquistdor Paella for $10. It is served in a piping iron skillet resting on a dinner napkin on a large plate. It is something to return for.

There are a variety of wines and special beers brewed on the premises. The desserts include Flan—choice of chocolate or vanilla—$5; Bread Pudding—$7; and Growlers’ Root Beer Float—$5; or just an espresso: “decent crème and good aroma.”

Growlers can be a great stop after going to a city council meeting down the street or just to go to Growlers.

MHP    
July 2008  

*Please note! Maryland 20878® has no connection with any of the restaurants reviewed.  Prices and hours are listed as a convenience and are accurate as of the date of review, but may have changed at any time.  Consider the prices to be an indication of roughly what dinner might cost at the establishment.

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