Restaurant of the Week - Crooked Oak Tavern, Conway
Since Mrs. Secondandgoal and I are now here full time, and love dining out, I figured I may as well start sharing some of those experiences with the group here. We are moderately serious foodies, and tend to stay away from the places heavily frequented by the tourists (places like the Marshwalk, Barefoot Landing, Broadway, etc. are great for drinking and ambiance, but let's be honest, you don't go there to get a great meal), so hopefully I can give the good folks on this forum some ideas for different places to try out.
Last night's restaurant choice was the Crooked Oak Tavern in Conway, a place we've been to once before. We're currently in Arrowhead waiting for our house to be built, so it was only about a 20 minute drive to get there. I know a lot of folks on this forum stay in the Legends area, it's only about 10 minutes from there. It's not cheap, but not wildly expensive, either. A typical entree will run $20-$30, up to the $40-ish area for some of the steaks.
Their concept is "upscale farm to table". The decor is kind of an odd mix of farmhouse and industrial, but they definitely pull it off. Fairly loud in the dining room, and they have a really cool outdoor-ish area in the space between the restaurant and the building next door (it's fully covered, you can't see the street from it, just a couple brick walls, you have to walk down that alley to get to the restrooms). The bar area is smallish, maybe 8 seats at the bar itself, and another 6-8 against the wall in that area. You've got a great view of the kitchen from the bar (being a pretty serious home chef myself, I always enjoy watching the operation of a well-run commercial kitchen). The bar has a decent selection of scotch, but an absolutely spectacular selection of bourbons. Their bourbon selection is always rotating, and they've always got something new you've never heard of as well as the classics and the high end stuff (they've always got a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15 year waiting for you).
We had some wings to start, and they were great. Cooked nice and crispy, and a variety of sauces to choose from. We went with honey pepper, which I think was as simple as honey with cayenne pepper mixed in, and it was delicious. A great blend of sweet and heat.
Good selection of beer and wine, as well as some interesting signature cocktails. I went with a River Rat Brewing (Columbia, SC) Hazelnut Brown Ale, and it was great. The Mrs. had a couple glasses of Italian red blend, which she loves. My Mom was with us as well, she went with a Pain Killer (they offer 4 levels of "pain relief", Mom went with a 2, and you could tell she was tasting the booze).
They try to use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, and all their steaks actually tell you which local farm they came from. And let me tell you, their steaks are spectacular. The Mrs. and I split a 38 ounce Tomahawk Ribeye for two, and it was incredible. This thing looked like the brontosaurus ribs hitting Fred Flintstone's car tray when it came to the table. Perfectly cooked. My only complaint is that maybe a little too much of that 38 ounces was bone, but the steak was delicious. Mom had the standard boneless ribeye, and hers was also perfectly cooked and delicious.
Dessert was creme brulee, another favorite of the Mrs., and it was perfectly done. Also dessert was a glass of Macallan 18 year scotch on the rocks (they give you the option of ice on the side with distilled water, ice in the glass, or a big block ice cube, I went with the big block).
Service was on point all night, even though our server had only been there for two weeks and was still learning his way around the handheld ordering devices they use. The manager (owner?) stops by every table to check in and make sure everything is to your satisfaction, which I always appreciate. All in all, a great dining experience, and we'll definitely be back.
I am really looking forward to your food reports. When I am in MB I always look for local restaurants to frequent. Thanks for taking the time.
Looking forward to your reviews S & G.
"King Of The Mid-tiers"
This is great information ! I look forward to more. Thanks
Thanks for your reports