All right, Halloween is over. The days are getting shorter and colder, and most of you are staring down that barrel of a lot of evenings and weekends spent with friends and family who want to grub, gossip and giggle.
Whether you are looking for a calm and relaxed place to converse or need somewhere to duck and cover from the holiday onslaught, The Good King Tavern fits the bill.
Just a few steps away from the hustle and bustle of South Street, this tavern exudes a cozy charm that sets the stage for the modern American lineup — with a few French twists. The menu is an efficient affair, with a handful each of starters, boards, salads and entrées, as well as a few specials here and there. The crispy shrimp ($8) were pleasantly unique as far as pub snacks go, battered in grits, which gave the shrimp an uncommon crisp crunch and a smoky finish.
Things took a more rustic turn with the socca ($12), a nicely baked and seared chickpea pancake served with a piping-hot helping of ratatouille. For a vegetarian dish, this hits all the right pressure points, especially on a chilly autumn evening.
In contrast, the refinement on the red endive salad ($12) added a spicy and colorful complexity to the meal with a kick from the pistachio-pepper pesto and the Parmesan cheese balancing out the bitter notes of the endive.
Things got back to no-nonsense, working-class tavern fare with the steak frites ($21), a nicely cooked and sliced steak bathed in butter and a bordelaise sauce, served with a heaping pile of fries that walked that perfect European line between crispiness at the edges and bendable softness in the middle. The sauces elevated the flavor profile of the dish considerably, but when the beer-drinking everyman dreams of meat and potatoes, this is probably what pops into his mind.
What The Good King Tavern lacks in elbow room, it more than makes up for in charm, atmosphere and a menu designed to please and comfort. If you happen to be in the neighborhood and feel a bit peckish, pay your respects to The King.
If you go:
The Good King Tavern
614 S. Seventh St.
Mon.-Sat.: 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
Sun.: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.