Tap Room Pizza Co is party central

(Photo by Brett Callwood)

There’s a clear and obvious vibe in play when entering the Tap Room Pizza Co., in the strip mall on Jefferson opposite Ralphs. Ice hockey is booming and beaming from the TVs, laughter is ringing out from the bar, and the walls are decorated with stickers, LP sleeves and skateboards.

That makes it a fun place to wander into on a whim, while actually on a shopping expedition or picking up sushi nearby for the family. The staff are immediately welcoming and, apparently, delighted to see you. The menu is quite large for this sort of sporty pizza and beer joint, and they’ll do all they can to accommodate you. 

All of the appetizers look superb – classic barroom treats that are comforting and delicious. Not healthy, sure. But for an occasional treat, who doesn’t like Mozzarella Sticks, Garlic Knots or Jalapeno Poppers? Here, the latter are crisp, hot and rich – crunchy and not dripping in grease. 

But the Meatball Sliders are next level. They’re clearly proud of their meatballs – you can buy a plate of them listed on the menu as “Grandma’s Meatballs.” Now, this writer’s grandma never made meatballs so it’s hard to make any sort of genuine and informed comparison. But they do taste really, very good.

The beef meatballs are tender and juicy, brimming with flavor. They’re seasoned to perfection, and each bite of the meatballs alone feels like a proper treat. It doesn’t end there though; there’s a melted chunk of mozzarella on top, which is rich and gooey, and enhances the flavor of the meat. 

Beef and cheese is a classic American combination and here, in this context, it works beautifully. The textures blend and, because neither is too chewy, they’re allowed to shine without overpowering each other. 

For such a small slider, there’s a lot going on. In addition to the meatball and cheese, there’s a marinara sauce inside the slider which is vibrant and fresh, and brings the entire slider to life. The tomato and herb sauce doesn’t taste like it came out of a can, and it sits exquisitely next to the meatball and cheese.

The small bun also tastes fresh, with the sort of bounce you need from a sandwich like this. Your teeth sink into the warm bread, before finding the fillings. Even better, the bun is pasted with parmesan cheese and garlic, which just finishes the whole thing off magically. The sliders are served with crinkle-cut fries, and they make this bar worth a visit.

The Tap Room Pizza Co. is located at 10712 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City 90230. Contact 424-603-4399 and visit places.singleplatform.com.