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The Tappen in Kingston (A Mini Review)


The Colonial end of Kingston, also known as the Stockade District (or more boringly as Uptown) has streets lined with wonderful old houses — many of them pre-Revolutionary, Dutch-style stone ones, practically thrumming with historic vibrations. A few weeks ago, chef Dan Sherman opened a new restaurant in the Tappen house, a long-neglected, 300-year-old stone saltbox on Crown Street. Not surprisingly, he named his eatery The Tappen. Our friend Gerald Celente, who owns three stone houses nearby (yes, three) and knows a thing or two about restoration, says that Sherman “did a remarkable job in bringing the 16-whatever-it-is building back to life.”

tappen house exterior

Outside, the simple stone house with its dark shutters is all quaint, Colonial charm. Inside, it’s much the same: cozy, with walls painted warm colors, wood floors and tavern-style furnishings. There’s a bar and dining room downstairs, and another small dining room upstairs. 

So that’s the welcoming, atmospheric setting. As for Sherman’s original New American/Northern Californian cuisine, Gerald (who will admit that he’s particular) pronounces it “first rate.” The menu borrows from around the world: torched Mahi and preserved lemon, smoked trout and Camembert arepas, Chinatown pork belly, mango and tamarind glazed ribs, lumache rigate with asparagus and roasted garlic cream. (Lumache rigate, in case you’re wondering, is the shell-shaped pasta.)

“I had the rattlesnake bean and plantain flautas — I really liked that,” Gerald reports. “The clam roll is out of this world; the New Zealand lamb chops were cooked to perfection… I took two people and everybody loved it. One of them travels around the world; she had the rum barbecue pork chop, and she was very impressed.” So there you have one international traveler’s take.

clam roll
The drunken clam roll: Panko-crusted clams with stout chili reduction, scallions, French fries, and pickled daikon

Service is excellent, the portions are good, and the prices are reasonable, Gerald concludes. “It’s not a place to hang out — it’s about dining,” he adds. Well, I like dining, and the menu looks mouthwatering. Casual reviewers online have been tossing superlatives with abandon, including OMGs about the spicy berry crème brulee and vanilla plum cake. I can’t wait to try the place.

P.S.: There’s even a Black Angus burger, if you must.

I visited and had the baby spinach salad (light lemony dressing with salty Parmesan shavings), and wonderful lamb chops bathed in a delicious mint-apple-brandy sauce. The seared Brussels sprouts were a treat, too. And the liquor license has arrived! 

The Tappen is at 10 Crown Street, Kingston. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Check the restaurant’s Facebook page for lunch and dinner hours.

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