Peterson’s Tavern is known for the weekly live music shows it holds outdoors, with crowds gathering at the corner of Front and Main Street each Saturday night to enjoy sets that range from rock to acoustic. But despite the large bar that takes center stage in the dimly lit gastropub, their offerings go far beyond their many beers on tap: They also serve a host of American and Italian staples on their lunch and dinner menus, including burgers, steaks and wings. For their second Restaurant Week, the restaurant offers a $10 lunch menu and a $20 dinner menu featuring many of their most popular dishes, such as the Peterson Burger and wild mushroom risotto.
Because of the chilly weather, my photographer, Mike, and I opted to sit indoors when we attended for dinner, but the tavern also offers an outdoor patio patrons can enjoy in warmer seasons. The first thing that struck us as we entered was the dim lighting, which gave the bar a relaxed atmosphere and highlighted the browns of the floor and tables. The L-shaped bar is long enough to seat upwards of 10 people, and a colorfully decorated chalkboard presented the variety of beers on tap the bar offers. Six televisions were mounted above the bar, making it the perfect place to catch a game.
For the appetizer, I ordered the house-made mozzarella cake, served on a plate of thinly spread tomato sauce. The exterior was satisfyingly crunchy and a perfect contrast to the gooey mozzarella center. Mike’s bacon-wrapped shrimp were tender and juicy, placed in a sweet-heat sauce that expanded the flavor.
For the second course, I chose the restaurant’s new Impossible Burger, a completely vegan burger served with lettuce, tomatoes and onions on a roll. Gluten-free alternatives to the roll are also offered, but I opted for the bun. I went in with some skepticism that it would taste like the real thing, but one bite of the burger quickly convinced me; its taste and texture replicated a meat patty so well I almost wondered if I was actually eating beef. The burger was light, enjoyable and not too moist or dry. It came with a side of sweet potato fries, which usually aren’t my favorite type because of their softness, but they were pleasantly crispy and went well with the burger. Mike ordered the New York strip steak, one of Peterson’s Tavern’s classics. The steak was meaty and juicy, and the fat on the side complemented the lean meat. The seasoned vegetables it came with were well done and not too salty.
I easily decided on the funnel fries for dessert, topped with powdered sugar and served with sweet-heat sauce that could satisfy any sweet tooth. Mike’s order of cheesecake was not too sweet, topped with raspberry sauce and nestled in bread-like crust that he said reminded him of gingerbread. We were left full but not overstuffed at the end of our meal.
If you’re a meat lover with vegan or vegetarian friends, or if you’re looking to unwind and relax with high-quality meals in a low-stress environment, Peterson’s Tavern should be added to your Restaurant Week list.