PLYMOUTH (CBS) – From the outside, The New World Tavern in historic Plymouth, Massachusetts, may look like a typical local watering hole, but when you step inside and see the three dozen beers on draft and 120 bottles from around the world, you’ll start to get the impression that this place might be something special.
Once you see the food coming out of the kitchen, you’ll quickly realize that there’s absolutely nothing typical about the New World Tavern.
Before opening the place, owners Roman Dombrowski and Karl Heine worked for a local beer distributor. So when it came to what would go behind the bar, they had plenty of great of ideas.
“You can probably find any style that’s brewed in this world, from almost any country in this world,” said Dombrowski.
As for the menu, they weren’t so adventurous in the beginning.
“When we opened this place, we wanted just a craft beer bar that served wings and nachos and pizzas,” Heine explained. “And when we brought the chef on, Johnny said ‘why not have the upper scale food if you’re gonna have the upper scale beer?’”
That idea came from chef Johnny Sheehan, who worked for some of Boston’s biggest chefs. When he took the job at the New World Tavern, he knew that the same great food he was cooking in the city would sell just as well in Plymouth.
“I’m not scaring anybody away, but I’m gonna challenge you at the same time,” Sheehan promises. “You get scratch cooking, fresh ingredients, great technique.
“Whether it’s Asian food, or French food, it doesn’t matter. It’s an open concept for me, to show off my abilities.”
Since this is a tavern, Johnny does make plenty of bar food classics, but he does them his own way.
Like Nachos topped with homemade Salsa Verde, Pineapple Pico de Gallo, and Lime Crema…
Crispy Fried Chicken bites with a sesame chili sauce for dipping…
And Buffalo Wings kicked up with Cranberry.
“I go out with my buddies and having a few beers, do I want wings? Yeah, I do. So would I offer that? Of course I’m going to,” Sheeehan said. “But again, am I going to just give you frozen wings out of a box? No. So I thought it would be fun to infuse an approachable sauce, being a Buffalo sauce, with a tangy cranberry. So it not only has that cool, spicy, sour thing going on, it’s also a nice color.”
When it comes to burgers, the Don Juan Burger is one you will fall in love with. It’s a half pound of Angus beef with Gouda cheese, crisp bacon, fig ketchup, truffle aioli, and a sunny side up egg.
“You take a bite and that yolk just drips down your face and it’s burger heaven for sure,” said Chef Sheehan.
Just as heavenly is The New World Grilled Cheese, a gourmet take on the kid-friendly classic.
“It’s a grilled cheese, but I want to bring it to the next level,” explained Sheehan. “So I use a couple different cheeses, smoked gouda and a greyure, and then I add apple onion spread, and then a quince paste, so it’s buttery and sweet and smoky from the smoked gouda, and then the other things in there add the little punches of flavor themselves.”
The New World Tavern boasts a busy dining room, decorated with hundreds of tap handles, a large room in back for live music and local theater productions, and a long and welcoming bar, featuring an extensive beer list offering bottles from all around the world.
And there are plenty of international flavors back in the kitchen too.
Including Pulled Pork Tacos with green chili hot sauce and queso fresco…
Pizzettas topped with black mission figs, gorgonzola, and arugula…
A Charcuterie Board with imported meats and cheeses…
And addictive Asian style steam buns filled with pork belly.
“They’re pillows of love with unctuous pork stuffed between it,” described Chef Sheehan. “And it’s one of those things that’s a little intimidating when you first see it, because you’re not sure what it is, but you eat one, it’s one of those things you’ll wake up in the middle of the night and say I want a pork bun.”
And just in case a pork bun might be a little too adventurous for some members of the tavern team, there’s always the simple Steak Frites.
“That’s just my style of eating. I’m just a plain meat and potatoes guy. I see it on the menu, it’s cooked to perfection. There’s nothing better than a nice steak,” said Sheehan.
But if you’re looking to experience the true essence of beef, Chef Johnny has one dish he really wants you to order.
The Roast Bone Marrow and Oxtail Roulade.
In fact, he’s so proud of this dish, it’s the first thing item on the menu.
“My statement as a chef is: look at the first thing on my menu. Try it. I dare you to. This is what I can do. This is what I want you to eat. Try it and I guarantee you’ll like it… And if not, you can get some wings.”
Obviously this is a chef who goes to great lengths to serve great food.
But there’s one popular item on the menu that he simply hates serving… Waffle Fries.
“We were hand cutting fries, and one day I wasn’t here and we ran out of them,” Sheehan recalled. “So the owners, being resourceful, ran out and they got some waffle fries. And everyone loved them, and I hate them, but they’re tasty.”
But not content to serve plain old waffle fries, Johnny uses them as a base for something truly delicious…
Duck Poutine with Jameson gravy, cheese curd, and scallions.
“You just want to dive into it instantly. It’s that essential perfect beer food,” Sheehan said. “It’s salty; it makes you want to have another beer, and it makes you want to order another poutine.”
Even dessert is elevated here, as the simple fudge brownie gets a gourmet makeover.
“It’s a super fudgy brownie with some awesome dark cocoa powder from France, and that comes with a housemade dark chocolate sauce, an aerated peanut butter mousse, a raspberry gel, and also some chocolate truffles,” described Sheehan.
It’s a sweet way to end a meal that is so much more than what most customers expect.
“The expectation from speaking to most people is, ‘I had no idea what this place was. I didn’t know what was going on; I can’t believe what you’re doing in here.’ As far as what the food is, what the menu is, with my take on everything, and they’re always pleasantly surprised and come back for more.”
You can find The New World Tavern at 56 Main Street in Plymouth or online at thenewworldtavern.com.
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