Personally, I have a soft spot for restaurants owned by chefs. Having the courage and conviction to open your personal eatery to showcase their passion for food deserves much credit. And The Ravenous Pig is a fine example of a successful endeavor for the Petrakis Family. To add to their repertoire, chef/owners James & Julie Petrakis (James Beard Award nominees) opened Cask & Larder fall of 2012, serving seasonal southern cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients and house brewed craft beers.
Since it’s opening I have visited the Cask & Larder for their fabulous Sunday brunch and dinner offerings. But today I am here to speak about their Lunch. I had the pleasure of attending their exclusive media preview for lunch where Chef Rhys Gawlak, renowned for his artisanal butchery and charcuterie, oversees Cask & Larder’s lunch and brunch services offering a vibrant daytime experience with fresh, homemade dishes. Lunch service will be open to the public on Thursday, July 11 and continue Wednesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
It was only noon, but you didn’t have to twist my arm to order their hand crafted cocktails (yes, cocktails are taken seriously here too). We started our lunch with Back to Mezcali & Corpse Revivor, both of them were smooth, brimming with freshness.
The Basket caught our attention to nibble on something while enjoying our refreshing cocktails. Hush puppies, fried garlic-dill pickles, okra, savory cheese scone, hot sauce aioli, what’s there not to love? Light & fluffy hush puppies, I could easily devour quite a few of these fried bites of corny heaven. Minimally dressed yet crunchy pickles made this ‘basket’ ideal for munching.
At a media event one is bound to run into few fellow foodies, so it would be fair to say ‘more the merrier’ and in this case we got to share few extra bites than we intended to, while chit-chatting over our common love of food (wink, wink). Great to catch up with Jeff Houck, Scott Richardson, Tastychomps , and Rona Gindin. Thanks to Tastychomps we tasted Lamb Ribs, fork tender meat, the green tomato yogurt complimented the burnt coriander honey brilliantly. Jeff ordered the Pimento Cheese Fries & Rabbit Meatloaf, hearty yet delicately flavored dishes.
Where was I? Ah, the dishes we ordered….Nashville Hot Chicken, Brisket Melt, and Public House Bloody Mary. The Hot Chicken sandwich – finger licking and crunchy encased in a sea salt challah. Hmm, could I have another please? The Brisket Melt – bbq gastrique, pimento cheese, caramelized onions, and fried green tomatoes. Are you drooling yet? The Bloody Mary had the characteristics of a ‘true’ Mary and then some more. Spiked with fresh horse radish and pepper-infused deep eddy vodka,it screamed ‘fresh’ and flavorful. Perhaps my search for the perfect one has been accomplished!!
Bottom Line: Fresh, honest food, thoughtful touches – chef/owner Petrakises make a convincing argument that country cooking – be it fried chicken, meatloaf, or collard greens, is worthy of the respect typically accorded to haute cuisine. And as important food is, the act of gathering friends and family around a well-worn table is welcomed if not encouraged wholeheartedly.
It’s a restaurant with a point of view (and a great bar) in a sophisticated restaurant I can’t wait to return to.