The SKAL Restaurant Group recently opened a second Cask Republic restaurant and communal tavern. This one is located at 191 Summer Street in Stamford, Connecticut. Like Cask Republic in New Haven, “the concept is simple; exceptional food globally inspired, a world class beer program, extensive spirits and wines, all housed in an atmosphere befitting that of a sophisticated urban respite.” Cask Republic is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.
This Cask Republic location blends the relaxed atmosphere of an American-style tavern with the originality and coziness of European taverns of years past. The never-ending glass doors offer an exceptional view of the active Summer Street culinary establishments, whereas the 53 plus draught beer taps visible behind the copper back bar draws your eye to it. Meet up with friends to enjoy an after-work drink while kicked back on one of the ottomans, sofas, or chairs that line the lounge area. Or stop in for a delicious lunch or dinner while sitting at either the communal high-top tables or traditional tables in front of the fireplace. For large gatherings, Cask Republic has a private dining room that will seat up to 55 guests.
A wide collection of artwork adorns the walls and tells the story of brewing and distilling traditions from around the world. Mixed in with the artwork are items from several brew houses, cider mills, hop farms, master distillers, and some of the industry’s vintage promotional campaign posters.
Executive Chef Carrion menu raises the global tavern classics to the next level using top notch ingredients, with a seasonal focus. Visit Cask Republic and treat yourself to a “Shared Plate” of house smoked short rib meatballs with IPA BBQ sauce and crumbles of Maytag bleu cheese or slow roasted pork with crispy skin, black bean broth and green onion marmalade. For an entree, try wood roasted organic free range chicken with pancetta, sunchokes, pimentón and charred onions or a honey-mustard glazed hangar steak with sweet potato risotto, creamed mustard greens and crispy parsnips. Better yet, try some of the fabulous plates we sampled on our visit.
Not only does Cask Republic offer an impressive line of beers (over 120 different beers listed on the menu), equally impressive are their offerings of over 65 different blended scotches, single malts, craft bourbons, and American whiskies. In addition, the wine list presents a range of both popular and lesser known vintages.
As our group relaxed, chatted, and caught up, we sampled cocktails from Cask’s specialty cocktail list. We enjoyed the well prepared and balanced:
L-Dubz the Hurricane: Malibu rum, Captain Morgan rum, Bacardi rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, and house made grenadine.
This one is so good you might need to have two!
White Cosmopolitan: Tito’s Vodka infused with lime, pear, and white grapes, shaken with white cranberry juice, and garnished with dried cranberries.
Mint Julep: slow and low Rock and Rye whiskey, lemons, fresh mint, and topped with ginger ale.
Chef Carrion began the evening’s fest with Spiced Butternut Squash soup with maple glazed pepitas. A flavorful soup that exhibited sweet, savory, and slightly hot flavors through an array of spices.
Then we sampled Short Rib meatballs, which were perfectly cooked and juicy. These meatballs were presented with a housemade IPA BBQ sauce and crumbles of Maytag bleu cheese.
Soy Glazed Chicken Wings with jalapeno ginger-lime sauce were up next. These tender wings had a slight hint of warmth from the peppers and citrus from the limes.
During this portion of the samplings, a couple of us decided it was time to treat ourselves to a sample one of the many whiskey offerings. We told the Beverage Manager to surprise us, so he delivered a tasting of Defiant, an American single malt whiskey aged in American white oak barrels from North Carolina. This smooth whiskey presented hints of vanilla and caramel honey.
A big hit was served next: Bacon popcorn. Anything with bacon has to be good and it definitely was. The popcorn was popped in bacon fat, then served with bits of bacon and sprinkled with bacon powder. This is definitely something we are going to reproduce at home.
Before moving into the main courses, we were served a kale salad as a type of palate cleanser. The mound of fresh kale with radicchio, lentils, cranberries and walnuts were dressed with a mild and creamy ginger vinaigrette.
The fine people as Cask decided that they would pair each of our next courses with a beer and dessert with a Kentucky bourbon.
Tuna Tartare with sesame, soy, oranges, and a layer of Nori fries. The tuna was the main character with the light and refreshing hints of citrus and sesame – soy supporting the dish. The Nori fries added a nice crunch, while taking me back to my childhood days of eating bags of shoestring potato chips. The tuna tartare was paired with a Clementine Belgian Witbier from Clown Shoes in Massachusetts. The notes of coriander, citrus, and wheat of this beer paired well with the mildness of the tuna.
Slow Roasted Wild Canadian Salmon and a bed of butter beans, tomato, little onions, and sherry was up next. The salmon was beautifully cook and was coated with a “green crust,” a mixture of fine bread crumbs and green herbs. The salmon was cooked superbly, with crispy skin and a buttery taste. The butter beans were rich and creamy having a balance of flavors from the tomatoes, onions, and sherry. The salmon was paired with a White, Belgian Style IPA from Blue Point Brewing Company out of New York. The IPA was mildly hopped IPA with slight citrus notes accenting the salmon and beans nicely.
And last, but not least, Dry-Aged New York Strip Streak accompanied by braised kale, ham and cheese croquettes, served with a tomato jam. This delightful steak was cooked to the point between rare and medium rare while being tender and juicy. The ham and cheese croquettes were nicely accented by the tomato jam. The steak was perfectly paired with a Russian Imperial stout from Founders Brewing Company of Michigan. The chocolate, espresso, and malt tones of the stout cut through the richness of the steak yielding a pleasant balance of flavors.
For dessert we were treated to Chocolate Espresso Creme Brulee with peanut butter cream. The bitterness of the espresso balanced out the sweetness of the chocolate nicely. Cask decided to pair the dessert with Rowan’s Creek Bourbon from Willet Distillery out of Kentucky. The classic caramel and vanilla notes along with pear, lemon, and honey tones of the bourbon married well with the chocolate and espresso of the brulee.
Several of us closed out an evening of exceptional drink, fine food, and lively conversation with a delightful Espresso. Cask Republic offers a warm and inviting place to relax and unwind with a group of friends as was apparent by how busy it was on a Tuesday night. We were quite impressed with our first visit at Cask in Stamford.