TAPS features an elevated bar, an exhibition kitchen and a shady patio.

TAPS at Irvine Market Place is more than just craft beer

by WENDY FAWTHROP

Wine lockers, sommelier smackdowns, six-course wine dinners — these aren’t what you expect from a restaurant named after a beer delivery device.

But TAPS at Irvine Market Place is full of surprises — like a dog menu with house‑smoked pig ears. TAPS, with sister restaurants in Brea and Corona, might be known for its amazing beer selection, says general manager Masaya Yamazaki, but it’s not a brewpub. Yamazaki and executive chef Ryan Robertson describe how they have crafted their guest experience.

What’s different about TAPS in Irvine?

Robertson: At this location we have patrons looking for what’s new and different. We envisioned this as the cutting edge of TAPS, where we could push the envelope.

Yamazaki: The biggest difference is the restaurant is completely open. We have an elevated bar and an exhibition kitchen. We have two sets of wine lockers. We have happy hour every day.

What’s most popular here?

Robertson: Our octopus is unique to this location. (The grilled Spanish octopus takes two days to prep and is accompanied by caper berries, oven‑dried tomatoes and panisse, a fried hummus.) Our happy hour is popular for meals. And you’re going to get a little edgier food.

Yamazaki: Chef is avid about cured meats. He’ll go to importers in Los Angeles and find cheeses you can’t get anywhere else.

What do you want Irvine to know about TAPS?

Yamazaki: It’s approachable to everyone. You can come in shorts and a T-shirt and have a $15 burger, or come for a business lunch and have cioppino and champagne, or come with your buddies for beer flights and bar food.

Robertson: We have a Sunday brunch buffet with all-you-can-eat crab legs and oysters. We smoke our own meats, so we do a 14-hour brisket. Free-flowing champagne. Two chocolate fountains.

What has surprised you about this location?

Yamazaki: We discovered Irvine is very family-oriented. We get to take care of generations of families. We have a fantastic kids menu: three courses for $9.95.

What events do you do?

Yamazaki: Every six to seven weeks we do a wine dinner. We’ve been honored to have some master sommeliers. Fred Dame did a fun Napa vs. Sonoma dinner. Peter Neptune did France vs. Italy and Spain vs. Chile. We have a Charles Krug wine dinner Nov. 1 and Hess on Nov. 30. We’re attracting these big players in the wine world into a restaurant known for its beer.

 

 

TAPS Fish House & Brewery
13390 Jamboree Road
TapsFishHouse.com