Burgers, barbecue, and beer. What more could one ask for for dinner in the summer? Perhaps a big pool or white sand beach and plenty of sunshine instead of the dreary weather I encountered upon meeting my friends out in Schaumburg at Westwood Tavern and Tap.
As my friend, Erin, who thoughtfully supplied me with an umbrella, and I quickly ran inside from the rain, we were greeted with a spacious and elegantly furnished sports bar. From the stone finishing on the walls to the towering wall of illuminated liquors behind the bar, it was a welcoming place for sports fans trying to catch the next nail-biting Hawks game or a couple out for their first date. We were a party of three and were seated in a booth that was a bit too wide for adequate conversation between three people. So we all had to get a bit more intimate with each other in regard to proximity which might not be as easy with larger groups in the booths. I started by looking over the drink menu, and it was like a yellow pages for Brewtown, USA. While I was well acquainted with most of its residents, I noticed a new neighbor on the block. So, I gave the Black Butte Porter ($5) a warm welcome. The simple label belied its pleasant, rich, chocolate/coffee flavor contained within an enveloping shade of ebony. As for the food, I could choose from a variety of items ranging from sushi, flatbreads, salads, signature entrees, and of course, burgers. I had a hankering for a good burger, and who doesn’t when you’re hungry? I settled on the Baby Back Burger ($12) along with a complimentary side of fries and smoked jalapeno mayo. I’m sure you can reason what the “baby back” in my burger derives from. If not, perhaps this catchy Chili’s jingle can explain it for you. Before I get to describing my meal, I do have to point out that our waiter screwed up my friends’ orders. Erin wanted sweet potato fries, but she got normal fries. Carolyn didn’t even get her sushi either. I don’t know if the server was having a bad day or if there was a mix up, but he made up for it with a heaping bowl of sweet potato fries and eventually brought Carolyn her sushi. Anyway, it’s true that they put bbq rib pieces on top of my burger along with cheddar cheese, chipotle mayo, and onion strings. I couldn’t believe it when I was looking at it. I placed all of it together in one sexy package and proceeded to take a bite. It was like your typical barbecue, cheddar, bacon burger sans the pork belly, but the barbecue brought a smoky sweetness that jived with the crunchy onion strings. Even with all of this going on inside the burger, the bun managed to hold together the party on my plate. As for the fries, they were ok, and the jalapeno mayo could have been a bit more flavorful. I could see that they were trying to bring a bit of the pepper infusion to an otherwise bland condiment, but it’s back to the drawing board for this one.
Overall, Westwood Tavern has plenty to offer for diverse tastes to a certain extent, but aside from that, it’s just another fancy sports bar and grill.