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Review: T. Murray’s Bar and Kitchen

 Morgan Kelley Review: T. Murray’s Bar and Kitchen
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T. Murray’s Bar and Kitchen opened at 560 South High Street just over a year ago by Tony Murray, a former bartender at Lindey’s in German Village. Since then, this restaurant has been producing quality bar food, classic cocktails and an dark atmosphere that is comfortable and swanky, a throwback to the venue’s jazz club days as Barrister Hall.

The menu at T. Murray’s falls into the American Bistro category nicely with a focus on affordable sandwiches and salads for lunch and a mix of bar snacks, small plates and larger entrees for dinner. Center-cut pork chops, turkey meatloaf, pot roast nachos and an ever changing daily slider offering are just a few examples of what can be found here. My recent visit was during lunch, so I stuck mostly to the sandwich side of the menu.

Our Burger ($9) is T. Murray’s signature half-pound hamburger topped with cheddar, applewood bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickle and served on an Eleni Christina roll. The burger is hand-pattied and grilled to order and a great representation of a homemade version. I found the roll to be a bit on the chewy side, though delicious and moist. The toppings are all fairly straightforward with no big surprises, which amount to a solid burger. There’s nothing wild and crazy here, which is refreshing with so many gourmet burgers touting themselves as gourmet. The proof is in the patty, as they say.

The Crunchy Grouper Sandwich ($11) includes two pieces of breaded fish topped with lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickle, served with a side of house-made spicy tartar sauce and served on the same type of sandwich roll. The grouper was a great fish choice, served firm, flaky with a mild sweet fishiness. The breading was similar to that of a crispy fried chicken, giving it a nice thick crunch. The tartar’s spice was mild, but a welcome addition to add sauce to the meal. Once again, the other toppings are a pretty standard selection, though high quality and and nice compliments to the fish.

The Fish Tacos ($11) are corn tortillas filled with shredded grilled grouper, cabbage, pico di gallo and an avocado-cilantro cream. Once again, the grouper worked well, and the grilled char on the fish gave it a meatier flavor. The pico salsa was freshly made and delicious, but the real star of the show came from the avocado sauce. This mayo-based cream struck the right balance between avocado and cilantro, not too different than the popular sauce found at El Arepazo. T. Murray’s puts out a very well balanced version of this dish.

Ribbon Chips (included as a side with sandwiches) are one of the specialties at T. Murrary’s and can be ordered as a side or as a bar snack. These fresh-cut potatoes are paper-thin slices similar to what you’d find deep fried at the fair. I found these ribbons to be surprisingly balanced their done-ness (at the fair you often get some burned and some still soft in the middle) and the condiments included help elevate them into something more interesting than chips. A roasted garlic aioli and sriracha ketchup are provided for dipping or pouring, adding both spicy heat and cool garlic to your ribbons. Definitely worth checking out.

T. Murray’s lunch menu isn’t reinventing the wheel. But their food is familiar and comforting and prepared to a degree higher than what you might expect for the low pricepoints. You’ll certainly come away from a lunch here fully satisfied for under $12.

T. Murray’s Bar and Kitchen is located at 560 South High Street.  More information can be found online at www.tmurrays.com.

Photos by Jennifer René of Jennifer René Photography.

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