Barrel 21 Distillery & Dining is part distillery and tasting room, part event space and part restaurant. And all good.
Barrel 21 is the sister restaurant to Otto’s pub which is located next door on North Atherton. We were pleasantly surprised and happy to see a place that featured local fresh ingredients, distill their own spirits, all in an environment that is modern, fresh and clearly someone thought about it. There are a lot of places in town where the design and atmosphere are clearly not valued or thought about, and they should be. As an Architect, I can tell you that it matters and translates into more customers and better experiences.
So its a Distillery, did I mention that? Naturally they have a great bar menu; we managed to catch the late summer drink cocktail menu. I ordered mine because it had horseradish in it which intrigued me. Really the horsey sauce wasn’t too noticeable or overpowering. Just gave it a little extra kick. My husbands Blueberry Mule was equally as good. I’m really interested in returning and hopefully visiting the Distillery tasting room to try out the rest of their spirits.
Our food was good, we ordered Spicy Korean Meatballs to start which I would absolutely order again. Our dinner entrees were the Street Tacos, my husband ordered them with swordfish. I ordered the Chimichurri Bavette Steak (because well, I’m a sucker for Chimichurri sauce!) Both of our meals were good, my steak was cooked to my liking and the sauce was great. They had a few other items that looked good to us, and since they like to feature seasonal items, the menu changes throughout the year.
The only downside, was our service. It started out well, our server was friendly, answered our questions and had a great personality but, increasingly checked on us less, filled our water less and disappeared near the end. Watching how they operate – my biggest complaint is that there is a designated person who runs food out. That is their soul job – to take food from kitchen to table and nothing else. fine. What is troublesome is that for us, and for the group next to us, the ‘runner’ ran their dessert out, but failed to remove the empty dinner plates in front of them. This forced them to awkwardly eat their dessert over a half eaten plate of food, which is just not fun or appetizing. The wait staff needs to work on clearing plates, or at least empower the ‘runner’ to look around and remove plates once they have delivered the next course. Just my two cents.
That’s it though, very few complaints. Food was good, Drinks even better. We are excited to try items from the fall and winter menus.