The Oak Barrel
 Cleveland, Ohio        Date of Visit  07/24/16  

Hangry after some interior decorating, we looked for another place in the Brecksville area and found The Oak Barrel Brasserie & Taphouse. It turned out to be a clear improvement over the mixed lunch at Creekside. Big place. Nice, homey, modern distillery showroom feel. Our server was fun and friendly, they share food running, which means everything comes out fresh and hot, and they have a wide array of options. We ordered much less than we wanted to try and more than we ought have.  



Good, Better Do Exist

Their Barrel Aged Old Fashioned was built on Buffalo Trace with whiskey barrel aged bitters, amarena cherries and masserated fruit. It was good hint of sweet from the fruit, nice caramely smoke from the bourbon, but overall a little muddy compared to my super favorite at Hodge’s in Cleveland. 

We started with a pizza and some popcorn. The popcorn was a small (I wonder what the large looks like) and is tossed in duck fat, touched with a bit of truffle oil and dusted with a chile lime salt. I thought I would despise the truffle oil but it was well restrained. The chili lime salt added a tangy punch against the richness of earthy fats. The pizza was a flattened Croque Monsieur. Thin crispy crust was spread with classic béchamel sauce and layered with salty gruyere cheese. Thick lardons of house smoked pork belly (bacon) were peppered throughout beneath the cheese and it was all topped with two eggs and a sprinkle of peppery arugula. A flat crispy version of a classic sandwich with all the elements in place, so far, everything has been better than expected.

Yup, Duck Fat, Truffle Oil & Chile Lime Salt

...And Plenty Of It


Or Classic French Sammitch? Both

Steph ordered the Ahi tacos which I will say were terrifically flavorful. So much flavor in fact, I probably wouldn’t waste the Ahi, it could be any protein and the rest of the ingredients would carry the dish and you wouldn’t know it wasn’t the tuna. Past the corn chips and pico on the side, the flour shells were loaded with guacamole and a house slaw, which carries some bite, likely aided by the soy chile glaze. Every bite sort of jumps on the palate, forward, aggressive, and pleasurable.


Ahi Tacos

So Flavorful You Could Hold The Tuna



We were recommended the Dr. Pepper braised pork shank served with roasted garlic whipped potatoes, another pile of slaw and more of the soy chile combo, but in a jam this time. Slaw still has a bit of kick, mash is rich, hefty, and well seasoned. The shank is ridiculous. Bones slide out without resistance, a glance with the back of a fork and the meat surrenders into luscious pieces. Then there is the flavor. Fatty, flavorful meat. It’s the kind of dish that would make a vegetarian cheat or despise you for ordering it. There are worse things for which to be despised. I don’t know what else happens in the preparation beside Dr. Pepper in the braising liquid, but Bravo, it is excellent. Four take home boxes and puppies at the limit of their not having been outside forbade dessert but that may be corrected in the future. An impressive outing.

Nice Plate

Time & Care Lead To Tenderness & Taste



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  B+ B B A N/A B+  
  Limited Menu     Pork      
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