ACTON -From the outside it looks like a house, but inside it looks more like a delicious house party. With a world-class chef in the kitchen, and twin brothers who know a thing or two about beer behind the bar, you’re going to want to come hungry and thirsty to Rapscallion Tap and Table.
Located in Acton, Rapscallion is the restaurant spinoff of a popular local brewery out of Sturbridge, known for its signature devil tap. Brothers Peter and Cedric Daniel took over the brewery about a decade ago, and recently opened up a restaurant right on Route 2A to pair comfort food with all of their craft beers.
While the twins know their suds, when it came to the menu, they brought in Ian Michaud, a talented chef who aims to exceed expectations.
“I have a passion for cooking. Love the wow factor. You make something, and it makes it out to the table, and it’s like a magic show. The wow that comes out on the other end is definitely why I do it.”
Just as important as the beer and the fare is the atmosphere, so they decided to open their restaurant in a quaint spot with many different dining options.
“It’s a built in a 1790s house. It has a lot of eclectic feel. It’s got a lot of small room,” Chef Ian described.
“Right when you walk in the main door, it’s the bar, the bartender literally is greeting every person that walks in the door. To the right there’s the main dining room.”
There’s something on the menu for just about every palate, with appetizers ranging from Spicy Mussels soaking in a sop-able broth spiked with chorizo, jalapenos, roasted garlic and white wine; to Tri Color Nachos topped with smoked brisket and melted cheese with a grilled corn and black beans salsa; to smoked chicken wings cooked over Applewood for added flavor.
“The flavor is just smoke. We fry them to get a nice crisp skin, and then served with a chipotle Caesar so you can get the heat, if you like, but the flavor is the smoke,” Ian said.
The must order appetizer has to be the Poutine.
“It’s a traditional poutine. Instead of a gravy, we use a demi here. We slow braise the demi with a black IPA,” Chef Ian described. “We try and incorporate beer in as much of the food as we can. The cheese curds hold up to the gravy really well, and you can literally pick them right up with the French fries. Then we cover that in a blend of herbs. It’s fantastic.”
The sandwiches at Rapscallion are differently delicious, whether you get the Fig and Prosciutto Grilled Cheese – amped up creamy goat cheese and Cabot white cheddar, or the Lamb Burger – stuffed with spinach and roasted red pepper and topped with feta. Since these guys are handy around a smoker, you should probably order the BBQ Pulled Beef Sandwich, served on toasted sourdough with melted sharp cheddar and a Honey Ale barbecue sauce.
“We smoke the brisket until it’s pull apart tender,” Chef Ian started. “We make the barbecue sauce in house with a little bit of our lager beer, and when they’re incorporated together, it’s melt in your mouth tender.”
Upscale spins on comfort food classics are what lines the entrée section of the Rapscallion menu, whether you go for the Smoked Turkey with golden apple and brie mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, and a fresh herb gravy; or the Steak Tip Frites smothered in a Black IPA demi glaze, served over truffle parmesan shoestring fries. For something like mom used to make – only much, much better – try the New England Style Bison Pot Roast, slow cooked with carrots, celery, potatoes and parsnips in a rich Porter gravy.
“Here we try and do comfort food with a twist, something slightly different than what you’d normally see or do at home.”
The same goes for their mac and cheese, which is available in several ways. There’s the fresh lobster and fontina mac, or one chock full of fresh veggies like zucchini, eggplant, peppers and summer squash in a sundried tomato pesto. The pulled beef, smoked white cheddar, and fresh jalapenos is the mac and cheese that will always please.
“The pulled beef flavor is just amazing. When you get that spicy mac and cheese topped off with the barbecue pulled beef, it’s pretty phenomenal,” the chef promised.
To finish off such an intoxicating meal, dessert brings a Poached Pear and Red Wine Sorbet soaking in a sweet and satisfying vanilla bean syrup.
“It’s a nice, warm, spice feeling for the winter.”
The Poutine. A Pulled Beef Sandwich. Some Mac and Cheese and the Poached Pear make for The Perfect Meal at Rapscallion Table and Tap.
You can find Rapscallion at 5 Strawberry Hill Road in Acton, and at drinkrapscallion.com.
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