Opened in July, Dunstan Tap and Table sits alongside Route 1, nestled between not much of anything. Scarborough isn’t exactly known for their vast food and beverage options, so it was a welcome addition to the area. As I’m sure many patrons of the new pub have done, Mrs. Portlandeater and I went to catch a movie at Cinemagic and then stopped by DT&T down the street for dinner, planning to meet a friend there.
Designed by Maine’s premier interior designer Tyler Karu, the notes of obvious thoughtful decor were present immediately. The curved bar and pendant lights which followed it, hanging ceiling decor, and panels loosely separating the bar and dining areas all stood out. As I soaked it in, we were told that we would need to wait just a minute while they cleaned off a high top in the bar section for us if that was okay. It was.
There was a reasonable selection of beer, wine, and liquor, with a separate menu for drafts. I wasn’t planning on ordering a drink, but one of the signature cocktails looked to be right up my alley. It was The Margaretta – house infused El Jimidor Blanco Jalapeno Tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, jalapeno garnish, rocks. I supposed it was the perfect “almost Marguarita”, adding some of my favorite drink ingredients to one of the most popular drinks in existence. She ordered a Citizen Cider Unified Press.
Our friend arrived as the drinks did and she ordered a duplicate of mine. My drink (sans salted rim) was spicy as intended, but had many shades of taste. With just the right amount of sour citrus, flavorful heat, and a modicum of sweetness, it not only hit the spot, but performed well against some of the best drinks I’ve had recently. The only question I had was what to do with that bright green jalapeno slice sitting on the rim.
Moving on to food, I spied the categories on the menu including Starters, Soups & Salads, Burgers, Handhelds, and Fork & Knife. I wasn’t predisposed to ordering any one item, but the waitress suggested one of the burgers, a chicken sandwich, and pasta and meatballs as some that people were loving, while insisting that nothing was bad. She also noted that the restaurant makes the vast majority of their ingredients right there, including hot sauce, dressings, and the like.
We finally decided and started with Pickled Deviled Eggs – farm eggs, beets, smoked paprika. I went for the recommended Bacon Mac Burger – bacon and ground beef blend, American cheese, 1000 island, lettuce, pickles, onions – the restaurant’s take on a Big Mac. My wife ordered the Fish and Chips – beer battered haddock, fries, tartar sauce, fines herbs – and our friend, the Chicken Tacos – shredded chicken, 3 flour tortillas, chipotle mayo, heirloom tomato pico de gallo, pickled onions, cotija, cilantro.
The eggs came out pretty quickly. They were purple-ish from the beets with some yolk underneath and decorative greenery on top. I grabbed one, eating an entire half egg in one bite. It was mostly traditional, though the yolk wasn’t quite as potent as I was used to. The mustard and pickle flavors were slightly muted, but it was still a solid app and a worthwhile starter that got me excited for the rest of the meal.
My burger came with chips and was stacked tall with a skewer to keep it mostly upright. It looked much more appealing than the sham it was trying to imitate. Served on a board with chips, it was ready to be smooshed by my hands and shoveled into my mouth. I did just that. There was more than enough meat, bread, and cheese. My only concern was that I felt the 1000 island to be a little light, but this was a serious burger nonetheless.
Her fish and chips came with three sticks of haddock. The tacos also came by three and with tater chips . Unfortunately, the size of my meal left me unable to sample those, but there weren’t any complaints. I force fed myself the last few bites. When I was done, I was covered in burger residue and made my way to the restroom. The design in there was oddly nice and, of note, the sink water drained through the characters “DT&T” as opposed to a bunch holes (taking pictures in bathrooms is weird, so I can’t show you that).
All in all, Dunstan Tap and Table was a winner, though I never did eat that jalapeno garnish. Our meal came to about $75 prior to tip which included a second cider. I liked the food and drink and the design and atmosphere were great. The menu included all the standards with a few extras that probably wouldn’t be found at most pubs. The service was very attentive and friendly. It all worked well together. Next time I’ll be sure to try that house-made hot sauce. If you’re in Scarborough for a spell, check it out.
6 Stewart Dr, Scarborough
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