Cork and Barrel has serious attitude toward food and wine
Leslye Gilchrist, Special to The Times 12:17 p.m. CDT September 9, 2015
On the recommendation of a friend, my family and I drove to north Bossier to try Cork and Barrel Pub and Grill.
The atmosphere is an eclectic blend of elements: a suit of armor greets diners as they walk in the door, chandeliers are made with old wine bottles, cypress tabletops sit on barrels and bunches of red and green grapes with fairy lights festoon the walls. The main space is dominated by the bar, with 30 beers and two wines on tap.
As we perused the drinks menu, I was happy to see numerous Louisiana beers on offer, including local Great Raft brews and my favorite Abita Wrought Iron IPA. For appetizers, we tried the blackened gator bites with remoulade and the marinated crab claws.
Both were a big hit with the whole family. The crab appetizer had almost 20 claws, making it great for sharing and it was served with bread to eat the olive salad marinade.
My husband opted for the boiled shrimp with a side of steamed vegetables. The shrimp were large and firm, and the seasoning did not overpower the delicate flavor of the shrimp. My eldest son’s blackened catfish with fries and slaw was a hit as well.
For those wanting a more casual meal, Cork and Barrel offers many burger and po-boy options. My youngest recommends the burger and fries. On the lighter side, salads are available as well as a grilled chicken platter.
Entrees include numerous seafood options, but Cork and Barrel has recently added two steak dishes to the menu: an 8 oz. filet and a 12 oz. ribeye, each served with a choice of two sides. The beef here is from Hereford cattle, known for its very flavorful meat, and diners may choose to have their steaks cooked in a variety of ways (including blackened) and served with toppings such as sautéed crab, crawfish or mushrooms.
My filet, cooked a perfect rare, lived up to the reputation of the Hereford beef. I had mine flame grilled and topped with lump crabmeat sautéed in butter.
The whole dish was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The side salad was a cut above as well, consisting of a blend of lettuces, Campari tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onion and cucumber. At around $28 for the steak, crab, and sides, this meal was extremely good bang for the buck.
Our waitress Jen also was wonderful — enthusiastic and well informed about the food and dedicated to making sure everything was just as we wanted it. When I wanted to order a glass of red to accompany my steak, she gladly brought me a taste of the Ca’Momi Red Blend, one of two wines on tap served at Cork and Barrel.
The product of a fine Napa Valley vineyard, this blend of Cabernet, Zinfandel, Merlot and Syrah had a very good flavor, but I wanted something with a little more body. The Hahn Cabernet, one of numerous wines by the glass offered for just $7, was just the ticket. Wines to suit any budget are also offered by the glass or bottle.
Throughout our visit, classic rock played on the stereo at a level that allowed for conversation, and from 7-10 p.m., there was live music on the patio. The atmosphere at Cork and Barrel is casual and family friendly. But based on our experience, the attitude toward food and wine is serious.
If you are looking for a fun place to enjoy fine — or casual — food with friends or family, give Cork and Barrel a try.
Leslye Jackson Gilchrist teaches writing, enjoys singing and performing with various community groups and has a long-term love affair with good food and drink.