It has taken a while for the old tire store and garage on Frankfort Ave. to morph into The Hub, but now all the work and wait is over. Following a couple of days of shake-down soft opening events, Clifton’s newest bar, music venue and small plates restaurant is opening tonight.
The expansive space has three distinct areas. To the left of the spacious entrance area is the game room, with pool tables, a shuffleboard game, an electronic golf game and a jukebox worked though one’s cell phone.
Just to the right of the entrance is the roomy L-shaped bar. The cocktail menu has a number of clever mixed drinks, but one of the star attractions is likely to be the cocktails on tap: a Manhattan, a margarita and a delectable drink they call the Magenta. The bar area also has booths and seating at high-tops.
Further to the right beyond the bar is the restaurant area, with tables and booths, allowing for quieter dining. A number of TVs scattered around the walls allow for whatever sport viewing is desired.
Jeff Brantley is executive chef, joined by Stephen Dunn, both veterans of Dean Corbett’s operations; Brantley was at Corbett’s and Dunn at Equus. Their menu is focused on delectable bar food, with a few more substantial dishes, but nothing over the $14 meatloaf. On Monday’s soft opening, the F&D staff sampled the ham & cheese sliders, fried crab claws, quail saltimbocca and the duck confit flatbread. All were tasty and interesting, with the quail and the flatbread winning top honors.
The kitchen also brought out for our delectation a plate of BBQ shrimp and the short rib poutine. Also on the menu are a burger, a pork Reuben made with pork belly, and a braised lamb sandwich, three salad choices, mussels, a roasted mushroom dish served with a crispy risotto cake, and a short dessert list, including a Nutella ‘wich, made with bananas and brown butter on a croissant.