As I mentioned a while back, Cask & Larder, the “Southern public house” owned by James and Julie Petrakis of the Ravenous Pig, had a reboot of sorts recently. One of the major changes was the addition of lunch service. The restaurant had previously been open only for dinner. Rhys Gawlak, who previously worked at Ravenous Pig, is the chef in charge of the lunch menu. I had a chance along with other members of the media to preview some of the items from the new menu.
There are a number of small plates, listed as “snacks” on the menu that might be considered appetizers. You could also just order those as a main plate and be quite satisfied. Most of the mains, under the simple heading “lunch,” are sandwiches, though there are a couple of things that are served not sitting between a couple of slices of bread. And just about everything I tasted was delicious. Some of it impressively so.
I loved the lamb ribs, which were listed under the snack category but were big enough to be a filling main dish. They were served with burnt coriander honey and a cool green tomato yogurt.
Chicken wings (mainly drummies) had a tangy Carolina barbecue sauce and were served sitting on a piece of Texas toast, which soaked up a lot of the yummy juices.
The pimento cheese fries was the only item I didn’t really care for. With all the melted cheese on the hand-cut fries, plus the pickled peppers, it was just too much of a gloppy mess.
The po’boy sandwich was a hit at my table. It featured crisp fried oysters and chunks of pork belly in a celery seed bun dotted with bits of salt. It was actually easier to eat, and no less enjoyable, with a knife and fork.
The muffaletta had so many layers of mortadella, sopressata and salumi that it looked a bit like a meat mille feuille. It also had the requisite provolone and giradinera (though black olives instead of the New Orleans tradition of green) and was served on sesame seed dotted bread, but it somehow seemed a little too fancy to be a muffaletta.
The trout entree looked out of place next to all the sandwiches, but it was a superb dish. The fillets were beautifully presented on a bed of farro succotash with smoked tomatoes and a frisee topping. The sweet flesh of the fish, the skin nicely crisped, was heavenly.
Nashville hot chicken sandwich had babecued chicken with a bit of a spicy note served on toasted sea salt challah with sweet bread and butter pickles
I also have to mention the corn on the cob simply because it may be the first corn on the cob I’ve had in a restaurant that wasn’t all overcooked and mushy. C&L’s roasted kernels popped in the mouth and the flavor was enhanced with tangy lime butter and a sprinkling of sea salt.
Another change I noted wasn’t on the menu but rather on the floor. The wood laminate flooring in the main dining room has been replaced with a sea foam green sculptured carpet that helps to soften the sound in the room, which I’ve always found otherwise quite attractive and welcoming.
Cask & Larder is at 565 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park. The lunch menu is available Wednesday through Saturday (brunch is served on Sunday). Here is a link to the Cask and Larder website. The phone number is 321-280-4200.