Relax on the Water With a Beer – The Barge Bar and Grill

Susan says…

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. 

view from the Barge deck

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?”

A: “No.”

Q: “Do you have homemade rings?”

A: “No.”

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.

crab cake sandwich & rings $8.25

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. 

 I am sure the dining experience in the restaurant on the second level would be completely different and I am looking forward to trying it out.  If I can talk Ron into dressing up past flip flops and a WVU t-shirt, that is.

THREE FORKS for the Barge Bar & Grill. 

Ron says…

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
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9 responses to “Relax on the Water With a Beer – The Barge Bar and Grill

  1. I’m surprised about the fries–they were tasty for pre-made…

    but the chips are homemade! (which I think I remember was a regret of yours at another restaurant). they’re pretty tasty…

    and I don’t know if they still have it, but there was also a crab cakes appetizer which is two crab cakes, no bun (but also no side item and I’m not sure if it costs more or less).

    And definitely not diet-y, but the “cherros”–warm cinnamon sticks and ice cream desert they have is pretty nice there=)

    The food’s decent, but I mostly like going to the Barge to sit outside and pretend I’m on vacation;)

    Thank you for the informative review! (I’m mostly too shy to ask questions at restaurants)

  2. oh, and randy says DO NOT get the mozzarella sticks there. such a disappointment at so many restaurants (including Fazios).

    at Whitewater Grille the fried Buffalo Mozzarella is awesome=)

  3. The churros are excellent, and good to share. I also LOVE the Barge’s cheeseburgers. They’ll cook it any way you want, which is great for those of us who don’t like well done burgers.

  4. The burgers are excellent but the grilled shrimp appetizer is REALLY good….

  5. demosthenes.or.locke

    Ron is keeping his brewtastic journalistic credibility real by drinking nothing but beer for dinner, and not eating the random frozen food. I give him………

    Five empty plastic beer cups up!

    The food upstairs in the barge tastes better than what they serve outside.

  6. I’ve really wanted to try this place. But for me it’s more about the setting and less about the food, so I’ll make sure when I go I have my foody standards set to medium….Thanks for the review!!

  7. The Barge is horribly over priced and the food is OK. Not a good combo.
    We went there one night with another couple and decided to really try their menu. When you charge big city gourmet prices, you should at least have waitresses who know their menu and knows how to wait a table, not some “hi honney how ya doin” skanky looking weird hillbilly chick. Just because it’s an appetizer doesn’t mean you can serve .001oz of product and charge $13 for it. Gourmet food means well cooked, not over done or undercooked. You wrap a turd in a ribbon and sprinkle it with gold leaf and it’s still a turd.

  8. Pingback: The Dinner That Almost Sunk Our New Year’s Eve - The Barge « Fork You…

  9. Went to The Barge this past Saturday for lunch. It was such a beautiful day to have lunch outside and watch the river and the boats. I was a little disappointed in the food, though. I was wanting a big a$$ salad, but they’ve apparently taken the chef salad off of the menu and the only other options were a ceasar salad and a garden salad. In fact, there were several items on the menu marked off with a black marker. I got the grilled mahi mahi sandwich (best item on the menu according to our server) and a side salad for $8.95. The sandwich was pretty good, but a little on the small side. It came with lettuce, pico de gallo and remoulade, and not enough if it for me. The salad was surprisingly large and actually came with 1/2 of a hard boiled egg.

    My niece ordered the pizza bread from the kids’ menu. She asked the waiter if she could get it with pepperoni, sausage and bacon. He said he’d check with the kitchen. It turned out that all they could do was pepperoni and we later found out why. It was a frozen pizza bread. And hers was borderline burnt. She peeled the cheese off because it tasted “icky” and crunched her way through about half of the bread. She loved the fries.

    Mom got the nacho platter with chili from the appetizer menu. I thought they were ok, even though the chili tasted like it was from a can. I’m not sure if chili is even on the menu, but I doubt it since this chili didn’t taste homemade.

    Our total bill was $30+ for one appetizer, a sandwich and salad, a kid’s meal and three drinks. Seems a little steep.

    The sitting-outside-on-a-beautiful-day reason will be the only reason I go back.

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