CLAIRE CARRIQUE FOR THE HOYA Bulldog Tavern is a pub and therefore offers the expected list of classic American dishes and beer. The Hoya burger stands out as a solid bet among an array of dishes that didn’t wuite hit the mark.
CLAIRE CARRIQUE FOR THE HOYA
Bulldog Tavern is a pub and therefore offers the expected list of classic American dishes and beer. The Hoya burger stands out as a solid bet among an array of dishes that didn’t quite hit the mark.

★★☆☆☆
$$

Instead of dining at The Tombs once again or quickly grabbing a Sweetgreen salad, my friends and I decided to try something new this week. For a convenient, close-to-home meal, we took a short walk down to the recently opened Bulldog Tavern in the Healey Family Student Center. The pub is located to the left of the entrance, which is a little confusing if you’re not familiar with the building.

We were not greeted by a host or hostess when we entered, which created some confusion, as we were unsure if we should head on and grab a table or actually wait to be seated. Finally someone came and simply signaled to us where we should take a seat.

The ambiance falls short of what one would generally expect from a pub. It looks as if the decor of the venue is still in progress, and there’s a lot of work to be done to evoke that authentic pub feeling. There is a very cool wall in the middle of the restaurant made out of kegs, and the bar is trendy and modern looking, featuring several TV screens showing sports games, but that’s pretty much all there is. One of the walls is just plain white, which makes the whole venue seem rather empty and bland. There was some music playing, which did add to the ambiance even though one has to make an effort to actually hear it.

The menu at Bulldog Tavern is not very extensive and mostly offers typical American food, so it is easy to pick out what you would like. The prices are extremely reasonable and adequately tailored to the college student’s wallet, so don’t worry about having to break the bank to enjoy a meal here.

Some of the appetizers include 12 hot wings, cheesy fries, onion rings, seasoned garlic and parsley fries, and chili bread bowls, all ranging from $3.99 to $9.99. The entrees include a number of sandwiches, burgers and salads, all fairly priced at around $8.

For those who are lucky enough to be 21 already, there is a range of very creative signature cocktails to choose from. And of course, essential to any pub, there is a wide array of ice-cold beers that patrons can enjoy with their meals.

Unfortunately, the experience at Bulldog Tavern was not particularly satisfying, especially because we expected a different atmosphere and faster service. We ordered the garlic and parsley fries to start with, the Hoya burger, falafel with tomato cucumber salad and Italian chicken salad as main courses.

About 15 minutes after ordering, we were given the sad news that the kitchen had run out of fries, so we had to change our minds about the appetizer and get chips as the side for the burger. Running out of fries or any given ingredient might be acceptable at a regular restaurant, but not when it is needed for almost half of the items on the menu. We ordered hummus and pita chips instead, which took about another half an hour to arrive — and then only after we asked about its whereabouts because we were painfully hungry by then.

After a seemingly endless hour of sitting and waiting in our booth, our dishes finally arrived. The Hoya burger, topped with lettuce, tomato, caramelized sweet onions, cheddar cheese and herb mayo was delicious. If you are a burger lover, you should definitely head over and try this one.

The falafel, however, was not up to par, with three balls that were not even green and barely tasted like falafel, over mixed greens, tomato and cucumber. Additionally, the salad was inedible because it was basically drenched in dressing, overpowering any other taste it had to offer. The Italian chicken salad was fine; nothing too exciting, as it didn’t have enough dressing and taste, but overall a good meal. They say good things come to those who wait, but this wasn’t exactly the case at Bulldog Tavern.

Despite the slow service, the wait staff was very friendly, which is a must for a pleasant dining experience. However, it was clear that all the employees were in a big rush and had a lot to handle at the same time.

In all honesty, our meal at the Bulldog Tavern was not great and our reward for the long wait was nothing we couldn’t have gotten somewhere else. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that the pub has only been operating for about 10 days and it is reasonable to expect that the establishment will improve with time. All we can do now is hope that it will only get better and evolve as the weeks pass.

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