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Tap & Vine is a vus-navinim fusion of serious brau haus and Romper Room. The decor is a night-and-day improvement over the old Milan, and each table is covered by brown paper and a set of Crayons for doodling.

Beer lovers: No longer will you need to relieve the rigors of daily life by expensive massages, binge eating, or the lonely world of internet porn; as of last week, Tap & Vine had seven beers on tap and seventeen in bottle, the worst of which were Eggenberg and Grolsch, respectively. And things get a lot better from there very quickly - this may be the best beer list in Arlington.

However, I took advantage of Virginia's "Wine Doggy Bag" law (now available in Washington, DC!) and got a perky little bottle of Musaragno Pinot Grigio ($24).

There's a Latino influence behind the stoves, and you shouldn't hesitate to get the Green Chili Pork Stew ($9.00), a homey ladle of slow-cooked, mild stringy pork, potatoes, and vegetables that could have come straight from a Salvadoran or Bolivian kitchen.

On the downside, the Fish Tacos ($12.00) are too expensive for what they are, with fried tilapia that isn't brought to life by anything else on the plate. Likewise, my young dining companion pronounced the Kids' Mac And Cheese ($6.00) "undercheesed," mainly because it's just a bowl of bland elbows with nothing gooey, baked, or particularly flavorful to distinguish it (the adult serving may well be different).

Tap & Vine, Restaurant Vero, and the little wine-store gem Grape Juice sit atop an ugly section of Lee Highway (are there any other sections of Lee Highway?). Like three green plastic houses built on Virginia Ave, they show that "development" can come from within, and doesn't always mean in-your-face architecture such as Joe's Pizza and Pasta, Tarbouch Mediterranean Grill, or Bear Rock Cafe - all three eyesores being just down the street.



Tap & Vine is a vus-navinim fusion of serious brau haus and Romper Room.

Isn't anyone going to question my novel use of this Latin term?

Sigh ... all my genius goes to waste.

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