I have been waiting for the smoking ban to take effect to make my maiden voyage on the anchored sailing vessel that is The Barge. Of course I planned to sit outside, but in the case no tables were available al fresco…I didn’t want a side of smoke with my sandwich.
In case you haven’t been to The Barge, it is off Route 60, between Oakwood Road and Sport Mart. There are signs to help you find the parking lot. It is a short walk down either an incline or stairs – or you can take a golf cart-ish shuttle down to the restaurant. There are two distinct options: the Barge Bar with indoor and outdoor seating open for lunch and dinner, or the fine dining restaurant on the upper level of the boat open for dinner only Wednesday through Sunday.
We arrived around 4:30 and were in luck – there were just a couple of tables empty and waiting for patrons on the outdoor deck. The deck is right on the water and there was already a boat docked alongside. There was a great view of the train trestle and Kanawha Boulevard. A nice breeze and the gentle feel of motion was relaxing. After ony a few minutes to settle into our chairs at the large table with umbrella, our server took our drink orders and handed us the menus.
I was interested in the fish sandwich, the crab cake and the onion rings. When our server returned with my Michelob Ultra bottle, priced at $2.75, and Ron’s plastic cup o’ Bud Light for $2.00, I asked about the food:
Q: “Are the fish fillets breaded here or do you get them already breaded from the supplier?”
A: “They come that way.”
Q: “Do you have homemade fries?”
Q: “Do you have homemade rings?”
Q: “Do you make the crab cakes here?”
A: “No, we get them frozen.”
Well. I thought for sure the crabcake would be made on-site after all the positive comments I had heard about the fine dining restaurant at the Barge. I was not going to eat another frozen fish sandwich…had too many of those recently. I ordered the crabcake sandwich with rings. And another Ultra.
The atmosphere was very pleasant. The weather was just right: sunny with a breeze and low humidity. Note to women patrons: If you go right after work, you might want to bring an extra pair of shoes…a pair without stilletto heels. I had to walk on my tiptoes to keep from getting stuck in the cracks between the deck boards. I am sure I looked comical trying to make my way to the ladies’ room.
The onion rings looked and smelled delicious, even if they were frozen. In fact, they were very similar in taste and texture to the yummy beer-battered rings we buy at Sam’s for tailgating purposes. They sprinkled a little coarse salt over the top of them which really added to the taste. I should start doing that myself. I got a nice-sized portion of rings, too. Most other places are very skimpy with the number of rings you receive.
Before I tell you how the crab cake tasted, I have to tell you how funny it looked when I first laid eyes on it. The bun on which it was placed was a large sesame seed bun. The crabcake had an almost too golden brown color on the outside. The funny part was how much larger the bun was than the crabcake. You could take bites all around the circumference of the bun and never get any crabcake until you went in toward the center one more round. I wasn’t planning to eat the bun anyway, so I dug into the crispy cake with my fork. It had a great crabby flavor, very little filler, slightly tangy, yummy. The crab cake sandwich with fries or rings will set you back $8.25 and is served with lettuce, tomato, and remoulade sauce.
I would definitely like to come back to the Barge to hang out on the deck and have drinks. I wasn’t impressed by many of the menu items and there really weren’t any health-conscious options. What I got tasted good for pre-made, deep-fried bar food. Service was actually pretty good even though they were really busy and kept getting busier the longer we loitered. Two more boats docked while we were eating, too.
THREE FORKS for the Barge Bar & Grill.
Stopping here was really just a side venture and wasn’t really meant to be a full blown drawn out review for this esteemed website. So I wasn’t treating it as such.
If I had known I was going to have to put my journalistic cuisine credibility on the line, I may have been more adventurous with my chosen meal. However I did not and stayed with a liquid diet.
I really don’t have much to say, I’m not even going to fork it and am thus basically saying “Fork It” to this review. My beer was $2 but served in a plastic cup. If it wasn’t for that little nuance, this would have been great.
It’s nice sitting out on the deck right next to the water, rocking in the wake of passing boats. It’s nice, check it out.
The Barge Bar & Grill 1414 MacCorkle Ave SW Charleston, WV 25303 304-744-2628