On The Menu: Give me liberty or give me lunch at colonial Green Dragon Tavern in Carlsbad

Cedar Plank Roasted Skuna Bay Salmon is accompanied by horseradish bearnaise, leeks, charred asparagus spears and a side of clam-and-corn stuffing. (Photos by Kelley Carlson)

By Kelley Carlson

A restaurant with a rather revolutionary concept recently opened in Carlsbad. The Green Dragon Tavern & Museum pays homage to the nation’s colonial days, from the architecture and décor (which includes historical documents on display) to the East Coast-inspired cuisine.

Green Dragon Tavern’s dining room has a colonial-inspired design.

“The original Green Dragon Tavern in Boston was a gathering space for historical figures, including John Hancock and Sam Adams, to begin laying the foundation of democracy for our country,” said John Lek, senior vice president and general manager, in a statement. “We wanted to bring this important facet of American history and influence that is so rooted in the northeastern part of the United States and share it with the West Coast.”

The Green Dragon also serves as a gathering space with many people choosing to relax in the casual two-story tavern.

During happy hour, patrons receive 25 percent off on starters that include the New England Clam Chowder — full of clams, carrots, celery, onions, fried fingerling potatoes, thyme and rosemary; along with Flash-Fried Calamari; Sweet Potato Waffle Fries; and Warm Pretzel Bites. There’s also $1 off on beers and wines by the glass.

Twenty brews are on tap (predominantly craft-style) from breweries such as Stone, Saint Archer, Ballast Point, Green Flash and AleSmith, along with Sons of Liberty and Samuel Adams (naturally). Most of the wines are from California with a few from exotic locations such as Argentina and Australia.

Seared Super Lump Crab Cakes are served with roasted corn, pepper succotash, romanesco cauliflower and chive oil.

Whether guests are in the tavern or the elegant dining room, they can peruse a menu created by Chef de Cuisine Craig Hastings, who blends Old World techniques (open-flame cooking, braising, griddling) with a modern approach. He uses local, sustainable ingredients in his dishes and prefers to make items from scratch, including the sauces, condiments, burger buns and flatbreads.

For lighter fare, Hastings presents a half-dozen salads and soups, and “Heroes” of the Revolution sandwiches. One popular is “The Patriot” — a brioche bun stuffed with chunks of Maine lobster lightly covered in tarragon aioli, topped with beer-batter crunchies and served with a side of greens.

The entrees encompass everything from steaks and Crispy-Skinned Jidori Chicken to Tavern-Made Vegetarian Pasta. A favorite is the Cedar Plank Roasted Skuna Bay Salmon dressed in horseradish bearnaise and leeks, which rests on a bed of charred asparagus spears. It’s accompanied by a side of clam-and-corn stuffing.

Another choice dish is the Seared Super Lump Crab Cakes, composed of 80 percent crabmeat that is pan-seared and covered in panko bread crumbs. The cakes are enveloped by roasted corn and pepper succotash, romanesco cauliflower and chive oil.

To wrap up the meal, there are desserts such as the Apple Handpie, a personal-sized, deep-dish pastry with a crust that’s brushed with a sugary glaze and filled with fruit. It’s enhanced by a scoop of caramel gelato and a drizzle of lavender honey.

In addition, there’s the Chef’s Cast Iron S’more, a concoction of brown butter graham cracker crumble, chocolate ganache and honey marshmallow.

“We want people to come in, enjoy good food, celebrate early American history and have a good time,” Lek said.

Green Dragon Tavern & Museum
• 6115 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad
• (760) 918-2421
• The Vibe: Casual, elegant
• Signature Dishes: ‘The Patriot’ Lobster Roll, New England Clam Chowder
• Open Since: 2014
• Take Out: Yes
• Reservations: Yes
• Patio Seating: No
• Happy Hour: 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday
• Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Recipe: Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured “On The Menu” restaurant at www.bit.ly/menurecipes or click on the “Get The Recipe” image below. This week’s recipe: Green Dragon Tavern’s Maine Lobster Roll

‘The Patriot’ consists of a brioche bun stuffed with chunks of Maine lobster, tarragon aioli, beer-batter crunchies and a side of petit greens.

Patrons can relax in the tavern to socialize and enjoy happy hour.

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Posted by Staff on Apr 15, 2014. Filed under Food, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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