The Cosmopolitian Tavern: Old-School Class
You may not know it from the exterior or even from the name, but the Cosmopolitan Tavern isn’t really a dive. It isn’t dank, it isn’t dirty; they have white table cloths for god’s sake. We were actually going to Indian food that day until Brendan called us up and said he wanted to come with.
You see Brendan can’t eat exotic flavors, interesting foods, or even eat lettuce without invoking a gag reflex. Brendan did hear that “The Cosmo” had the best French Dip sandwich in town so we scratched the Indian and headed downtown to an old tavern and Italian grill that has been serving people for almost 80 years.
The Cosmo is an old building that externally would be considered lackluster at best. If you didn’t know better you would be really surprised when you walk in to see a bar that has a touch of old-town class. The lighting was low as candles flickered at the tables. The bar itself was filled up with an older crowd that looked to have just gotten off of “suit and tie” jobs. I heard this place has been a perpetual hangout for the lawyer crowd and looked that way.
Greg, Brendan and I were seated at a table with white linen table cloths, linen napkins, and two forks. This is a far cry from our usual food review destinations where mismatched or plastic utensils are the norm. We were given cold water and warm bread while we perused the menu.
It is important to note that The Cosmo has distinct lunch and dinner menus. Brendan’s French Dip didn’t even make it onto the dinner menu, which was more steak and seafood oriented then the almost unparalleled extensiveness of the lunch-time sandwich selection. Despite the no French Dip ($10.95) we asked if they could whip one up anyways for the sake of Brendan and they did.
During dinner at The Cosmo all sandwiches come with soup or salad and fries and Brendan chose the minestrone. I went with the cheese-steak with salad ($10.95) and Greg went with the Cosmo Pasta ($14.95). The servers were kind and professional and all our requests were handled with haste. Waters were refilled and plates cleared with astounding urgency.
The salads and soup came out. Both Greg and I chose to get our salads with a wet and dry (bleu cheese with Italian dressing) and they did not skimp on the cheese. I am a bleu cheese mega fan so I was in heaven while Greg was overwhelmed by the pure volume of pungent fresh crumbled cheese. The salad was an iceberg base with a cast of assorted common veggies. Brendan’s soup was a traditionally delicious Minestrone, a happy accompaniment to any meal. Waters were filled again and again as Greg leisurely sipped a Peroni and we spoke of Dead in 60 things. Then came the meals!
Brendan and I appeared to have the exact same plate. Both big hulking beef-filled sandwiches with melted cheese. Mine was with BBQ sauce (with a cheese-steak???) and Brendan’s with Au Jus. The bread was a thick but light Italian white roll which was perfect. The thinly-sliced beef was moist and tasted alright; I wasn’t that impressed with the beef's flavor but maybe I was expecting too much. The fries on the other hand were fantastic, hot and flavorful and the perfect crisp.
The star of the table though was definitely Greg’s Cosmo’s Pasta. It was a linguine dish that was covered in big gorgeous prawns, clams, and mussels. It was in a thin buttery sauce that let the flavors of the seafood control the dish without you ever having the word “fishy” enter your mind. It was a dish to be applauded. The portions were huge and while none of us finished our plates, they made for wonderful left-overs.
To break it down - Old School class, extremely attentive service, great lunch menu, great dinner menu, old crowd, good sandwiches, amazing pasta. DEAD IN 60 APPROVED !