BAROAK Cookhouse & Taproom is a Belgian inspired restaurant with an American twist located inside the Loews Annapolis Hotel. Executive Chef Teddy Folkman puts an emphasis on mussels, mayo-based sauces and, of course, frites to bring the taste of Belgium to downtown Annapolis. According to the BAROAK website, “Teddy Folkman has spent the past decade pursuing his passion for the culinary arts, working in some of the DC area’s most exciting establishments. BAROAK is his first in Annapolis.”
The same care that has been put into the food menu has also been placed into their beer and cocktail menu. Usually I do a little research on the cocktail menu before going in, but this time I decided to go in blind, wanting to be fully led by the staff. We were greeted by an extremely friendly staff – everyone was welcoming and made us feel right at home. Sitting at the bar, I couldn’t help but think how nice the atmosphere was. The roughness of the brick wall paired well with the smooth finishes on the bar and tables. After snapping a few photos, I was greeted by Amanda. Originally from southern New Jersey, Amanda has been in Annapolis for two and a half years; one and a half of those years with BAROAK. She admits to me that she prefers white wine over beer or cocktails, but still has a great palate for their menu and great advice on what to drink.
Annapolis Strawberry Sail Martini
Amanda handed me a menu and suggested the Annapolis Strawberry Sail Martini – A BAROAK favorite and a perfect cocktail for Valentine’s Day next month. As she creates this cocktail, I get more and more excited. Vodka, strawberry-basil simple syrup, diced strawberries, and basil threads looks like a dream! I receive my martini glass, go in for a sip, and immediately I’m met with the fresh aroma of basil. This cocktail has the strength of a classic martini with the freshness of basil and strawberry. It’s not too sweet with well-balanced flavors, and beautiful color and smell. This cocktail is sure to engage all of your foodie senses!
Beer and Frites and Flatbread, Oh My!
While sipping the martini, Amanda and I chat about the extensive list of beers offered at BAROAK. Amanda perks up and asks, “Do you like White Russians?” I reply with an immediate, “Yes!” She grabs a tulip glass and fills in with Jailbreak White Russian Beer: Coffee Cream Ale, 5.5% ABV. Wow! This cream ale is a perfect mix of vanilla and roasted coffee. It’s light and easy to drink and smells AMAZING! The description on the Jailbreak website says “light in color yet full in flavor” and that’s exactly what it is. I’m both excited about finding a new amazing beer and upset that I hadn’t found it earlier. Either way, it’s a winner and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the occasional White Russian or cream ale brew.
As we chat about how the beers are selected for BAROAK, we are greeted with food – BAROAK Margherita flatbread and Frites with three dipping sauces: chipotle, garlic, and truffle mayo. The crispy garlic chips on the flatbread created a great texture and the frites are always a delight! As a beer drinker, this pairing is perfect, and the dipping sauces elevate this eating experience as each one is balanced and perfectly complements the frites. Amanda and I continue chatting about beers and the inspiration behind the BAROAK menu. She tells me that I can’t leave without trying one more beer; Ertvelde Wit – Brouwerij Van Steenberge (5.0%). She says that it’s a great representation of BAROAK and it’s flavors. Right again! Described as Witbier with light coriander and orange peel tinges, this beer is extremely smooth and pairs well with so many items on their food menu.
If you are looking for a great place to go out to dinner or just grab a couple drinks with friends, I highly recommend BAROAK. My experience was very enjoyable! I learned a lot and left with an added curiosity for Belgium cuisine and drinks. Thank you for such a great time!
Most Populars and Favs
Most Popular Cocktail: Cherry Bourbon Sour & Annapolis Strawberry Sail
Most Popular Beer: Bavik Pilsner
Amanda’s favorite thing about Annapolis: “Being near the water and the number of different places to try different cuisine.”
Amanda’s favorite thing about BAROAK: “The people I work with.”
Photos courtesy of Darin Gilliam