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West End Tap [Santa Cruz] [Split from burger.aptos thread]

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West End Tap & Kitchen is in the (really nice) space that used to house the Bonny Doon tasting room and the associated restaurants (Cellar Door, later renamed Cigare Volant). They only made some relatively minor changes, which I'm glad about since I've rather liked the space since it first opened.

I would describe the concept as firmly in the gastropub genre, which is a good addition to Santa Cruz as I don't think any other place could lay claim to that. Maybe the nearby Parrish but it's more pub than gastro. The beer comes from three breweries from what I can tell: Tied House and Hermitage (San Jose) and Almanac (SF). I think Hermitage makes some pretty decent IPAs (they have a single hop line that is pretty tasty in addition to being very educational - a good way to learn about the difference between citra, simcoe, sorachi ace, etc.).

The food was, I thought, very decent gastropub fare. The flatbreads weren't very inspiring (dough was mediocre, toppings too cheesy) but the burger was cooked as requested, was juicy with good beefy flavor, and was rather large as well. The generous portion of shoestring fries was well-cooked. I didn't try anything else but I'm sure I will slowly work my way around the menu since it will probably join my second-tier rotation. Good place for groups with different levels of interest in food and beer. They also have wine, but I don't think they have a full bar. Website wasn't enlightening on that last point unfortunately.

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  1. Sounds good to me! I glanced through the menu, and I think you need to try the pastrami bites and tell us about them. Didn't know that Salchichero made pastrami.

    West End Tap & Kitchen
    334D Ingalls Street
    Santa Cruz, CA 95060
    Phone: 831.471.8115
    http://westendtap.com/

    6 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      I love Salchichero. I often make a trip there just to see what they have on special. Their copa is delicious.

      1. re: KatoK

        Besides the coppa, what else do you recommend at El Salchichero?

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          The first time I went there, by accident actually, they had sausage that they had created specially for a beer dinner event that were leftover. I can't remember what name they attached to them, but they were really tasty. It would be worthwhile to try their other blends.
          I have also enjoyed the chorizo spiced bacon, but I would have liked even more chorizo seasoning. The beef and pork cuts always look great but I haven't splurged on them yet. Maybe next trip.
          MW, what have you tried?

          1. re: KatoK

            The mortadella when they have it is great. I like duck breasts and the steaks are tasty and pricey.

            1. re: KatoK

              I haven't been back to El Salchichero in two years . . . last visit report,
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7846...

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                It's time to get back.Chris has been doing some amazing things.I think his salumis rival Boccalone.A freind brought over the bone marrow mousse. Spread some on grilled bread. Also used to saute brussel sprouts.

      2. Had a good dinner there recently. A large portion of roasted brussel sprouts was a good deal at $5. I might have preferred it cooked just a touch longer, but the glaze was not over-sweet or overdone as seems to be one popular style these days. Also had a deftly cooked pan-fried white fish (can't rember what kind now) served with some nice braised kale and heirloom beans.

        Seems the kitchen is evolving nicely and the community is responding accordingly. A popular place for both happy hour and dinner from what I can see. Glad to see it doing healthy business.