Cask & Pig: A great atmosphere for an occasional treat

By Staff Writer Samantha Wahl,

If you’re going by the name, the Cask & Pig sounds like a simple, down-home place. Prepare for a bit of a surprise when you walk in. The dining room has a distinctly modern feel, with some country touches.

A sleek wooden bar, flat-screen TVs, and sports memorabilia on the walls makes for a cool combination of southern charm and downtown-sports bar feel. But I’m pretty sure you aren’t here for a review of the interior design. What about the food?

For your reading pleasure, my test subjects (read: friends) and I decided to try both appetizers and entrees. To start off the night, we ordered the Trash-Can Nachos, Pretzel Sticks, and the poutine. In addition, we received cornbread!

It comes out at the beginning of the meal, the way dinner rolls do at other restaurants. The highlight of the appetizer course was definitely the nachos; we were surprised to find that they actually do serve them inside of a metal cylinder. So, the “trashcan” part of the name is not a metaphor. The Pretzel Sticks were good, but came with a thin, bland cheese sauce that no one at the table ended up liking very much. However, the server ended up bringing us some of the cheese sauce they use on the nachos, and that was much better for dipping the pretzels in. There were no complaints about the poutine, but it didn’t get finished, either. Most of our attention was lavished on the glorious trash-can nachos.

For the main course, I tried the beef brisket. When I tasted it, the southern theme of the Cask & Pig made a lot of sense: it turns out that these people barbeque meat very well.

The brisket cut with a fork and was moist without being too saucy. Portions were generous; I ended up taking enough brisket home to have lunch covered for the next day. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I may have filled up a bit on garbage nachos.)

The sides that came with it- I had chosen macaroni and cheese as well as a sweet-potato mash- were creamy and appealing. I ended up taking those home, too. The whole meal was served on a rustic metal tray, which added to the casual, down-home ambience.

Fun fact: on a past visit, I had also tried the chicken and waffles. It’s a bit of an “out there” thing to order at a barbeque restaurant, but the Cask and Pig does it well. The amount of crunchiness in the chicken compared with the soft sweetness of the waffle was perfect. Fried chicken and good barbeque? The Cask and Pig definitely earns its country cred.

As far as price, the Cask and Pig fits into the “splurge” category for most college students; my brisket meal cost $15, and it would have been $22 had I ordered a full pound of meat.

It’s possible to go a little lower- a good old hamburger will set you back $12, and my beloved trash-can nachos cost $11. Still, I think of the Cask and Pig as more of an occasional treat.

It’s a good choice for a laid-back date night, or just for a particularly passionate baby-back rib craving.

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