Of course, I’ll fit in SOME beer and cocktail chat. #GottaDoIt
When The Ginger Man SoNo and its 52 taps closed for renovations right before the Summer of 2015, I was soulless. No, really, it was like that. G-Man was my spot, and I used to go regularly and pretty much every time they poured a special brew. I was lost and barely even went to SoNo all summer just to “chill.” MY beer bar was no more 😦
Fast forward a bit, Fall of 2015 to be exact, and alas! G-Man was still gone, but have no fear, Cask Republic is HERE! If you didn’t know before, Ginger and Cask are owned under the same umbrella restaurant group, Skal, so there wasn’t a drop off whatsoever, in fact, Ging- I mean, Cask Republic is back and better than ever!
The renovated digs have a more open area feel. They knocked down the walls, put in a community table, there’s still that lounge area off to the left when you first enter, and it’s just swankier while still holding true to a relaxed beer bar atmosphere.
|Toasting to the new spot with some Oskar Blues Death by Coconut.|
Aside from the great selection of craft beer (which I’ll get to soon), the menu is revamped, more upscale thanks to Culinary Director, Chef Carl Carrion, whose food I’ve had the pleasure of eating many times over at Cask Republic Stamford. I’m guilty of constantly bringing up Cask and G-Man before that when talking about beer or mentioning that I had a beer there, but what about the food? The elevated pub grub at Cask can sometimes be overlooked by some but it shouldn’t be. There’s a lot of awesome to be had. With your beer, of course.
When Cask reached out to me to stop by and try a bunch of Fall Menu items, I was all over it. It is, after all, the place I frequent most often to satisfy my beer nerdism, and it’s a five minute drive (if that) away.
Here’s what’s up at Cask Republic SoNo!
Three words: Braised Short Ribs. This was easily the best small plate/app I’ve had in recent memory. I’d say the meat is fall-apart-tender but it comes already apart and it sits in a savory braising liquid. It gets even better and richer when you mix the lone egg yolk that sits atop the beef. The grilled, crusty bread by Wave Hill Bakery is perfect for stacking spoonfuls of short ribs all over it, and it’s great for wiping the bowl clean. Give me this and a stout on a cold night, leave me alone, I’d be happy.
|They have salads too. Pictured is the Fall Chopped Salad w/ green leaf lettuce, butternut squash, apples, golden beets, cranberries, blue cheese and sherry vinaigrette.|
Shrimp & Grits seem to appear on every menu these days but Cask’s version is worth it. The prawns were perfectly cooked and normally I’m not big on grits but the Cotija cheese added some creaminess and there was andouille sausage chunks mixed in too. Pork rules.
|Pork Belly Mac & Cheese made with cave aged Amish cheddar and house cured pork belly.|
Others small to dig into are the salty bacon popcorn (perfect with a light beer, and you can REALLY taste the bacon) and the House Cured Lamb Empanadas w/ added heat from the smoked paprika aioli. This is a nice change up from typical beef, but they weren’t too gamey. Don’t be scurrrrred!
|Bacon goes with everything, even popcorn.|
|Lamb Empanadas lookin all good!|
FYI: We didn’t sample them on this particular night but if you have room in your belly, get the Smoked Short Rib Meatballs. Thank me later.
Let’s start with the chicken. Chicken? Chicken?! Yeah, chicken. Not something I normally ordered unless it’s fried, Cask’s IPA Citrus Marinated Chicken (jalapeno grits, wild mushroom & roasted Brussels, IPA glaze) opened me up to considering more chicken dishes. Each is made to order and you get the breast and a pounded-out thigh. The thigh was juicy and so was the breast, the skin was crispy and you can actually taste a hint of the hoppiness from the IPA! Good job.
|Words I may have never said before…”Get the chicken.”|
|Mustard Crusted Canadian Salmon. Super fresh, loved the crunchy panko coating. It flaked apart nicely.|
|I like ’em thicky thick 😉|
The Maple Brined Double Porkchop (homemade kraut, German potato salad, honey apples, dark ale gastrique) was a thick monstrosity suitable for even the biggest of appetites. It was salty, sweet, and cooked to a perfect medium. Presentation points for the cutting board display and for a damn fine potato salad. Pick that sucka up by the bone and go beastmode!
|Pumpkin Cheesecake. Yeah, they do desserts.|
|Pear & Apple Crumble, vanilla gelato, house caramel sauce.|
Yeah, the beer list here still kicks major ass. The taps have gone down from 52 to 35 but Cask promises to get the rarer and the more sought after brews, for you, the beer geek. They still have plenty of bottles too.
|Had to go local for this one. Geyser Gose by Two Roads and Evil Twin.|
So what else is new?
- 10 Wines on tap!
- A plentiful spirits selection, including a bunch of bourbons and whiskeys.
- A cocktail program! In addition to hand crafted cocktails, Cask now has four cocktails on tap that will change from time to time. If you didn’t know, cocktails on tap means every single one will be identical in taste. This is a good thing. Shout-out to Lyles Williams and his hard work on the cocktail program.
- There’s one tap dedicated to cold brewed coffee. Imagine the possibilities… Or, you know, you could just have it as is.
|“Yes, I would like to try some of each cocktail on tap.”|
|Proof. Coffee. On tap.|
Bonus! The patio will be open come springtime! That’s the promise, anyhow. Think along the lines of it being very lounge-ish and way, way bigger.
I have nothing else to say except… My god, I’m happy this place is back. #MissedYouTho
Cask Republic SoNo
99 Washington Street
South Norwalk, CT 06854