I am a fan of second chances. Of course, there are some instances where one is not called for—an example would be if someone punched me in the face. Yeah, sorry, you don't get a second chance on that one. But in the case of Tavern at Bown Crossing forgetting my order on a recent visit, I thought a chance at redemption was called for.
It's true. The first time I went to Tavern, I was a little let down. I sat on the sushi side of the restaurant with a friend and ordered a small filet, while she ordered some squid salad and a couple rolls. The sushi showed up lickity-split. I had a few pieces while I anxiously awaited my creme de la creme filet mignon. Then our bill showed up—sans steak. What the? I'll admit we went in late on Friday night following, from what I could tell, a monstrous rush. I chalked the misunderstanding up to my tendency to mumble. With a little explanation, the waiter quickly remedied the situation and the steak ended up being one of the best pieces of meat I've ever had in Boise.
Then came the second chance. With my friend Ashley in tow, we ventured over to Tavern on an early Tuesday evening. The place was clean, accommodating and staffed to the hilt.
We were quickly seated upstairs on the patio. The scene from the Tavern veranda is spectacular with a great view of Table Rock and surrounding Foothills, and the deck is worthy of envy.
Our waitress, Bronwyn (she's from Mobile, Ala., and has an affinity for the phrase "y'all") quickly showed up to take our drink order. I noticed the Tavern had a good selection of moderately priced glasses of wine starting at $5.50. Nonetheless, Ashley—always the beer drinker—and I went for some brewskis. I opted for a Deschutes Drop Top Ale (22 oz.-$5.50), while Ashley went for a Newcastle (bottle-$4.25). Our beers showed up with our waters—which is to say, within a minute—and Ashley and I started pondering our dinner choices.
With my stomach growling, I chose the surf and turf special ($31.95), while Ashley went with a small sirloin (8 oz.-$16.95). Within minutes, a few slices of fresh bread showed up, with Bronwyn making sure we liked our beers. After a few moments with our warm bread and cool beers, our main course arrived.
We both got excited and started digging in. My potatoes au gratin were cooked just right and had a plentiful amount of cheese. The baked mussels had a lot flavor, consisting of a diverse mix of crab, mussels and scallops. The dish also included a collection of seasonal veggies: zucchini, squash and broccoli—which I happily ate in full. But the focus was, of course, the steak—it was a culinary lesson in medium rare.
And that is what deserves special mention. I'll admit, I'm not a butcher, and I know the minimum when it comes to choices and cuts, but I think Tavern has some of the best steaks around. According to Bronwyn, it's because they get prime-cut beef—something like the top 1 percent of all the steaks sold in America.
I asked Ashley—who I've never known to finish a meal—how her dinner was. She replied, "Awesome."
While we were eating our dinners, many other employees came by to check on us. The bartender dropped by to say hello, and the manager cleared a few glasses and made sure we liked our dinner. Every employee was working for every diner.
To paraphrase Harry in Dumb and Dumber—the Tavern went and totally redeemed themselves. My second visit to Tavern was met with impeccable service, great food and relaxing atmosphere. They are unlike any of the other high-priced steak houses in town. The vibe is low-key, the staff is ultra-friendly, and their steaks are delicious.
Ryan Peck thinks Miller Chill does not deserve a second chance.