LYNNWOOD — Few things in life make you more peckish than an unexpected “closed” sign at the restaurant you’d been looking forward to checking out. Then again, the hand-scrawled notice haphazardly taped to the door seemed to say, “We just discovered a colony of rats living in our pantry,” or “the entire staff is stricken with dysentery.” So perhaps we dodged a bullet.
But we were still hungry.
That’s when Cask & Trotter, a chill barbecue restaurant on the Highway 99 strip here, came to the rescue.
Cask & Trotter, which has a Seattle location in the insanely busy South Lake Union area, opened the Lynnwood outpost in 2016. It’s a relaxing, attractively decorated place that, once you’re inside, immediately makes you forget that you just spent a decent-sized chunk of your day driving on Highway 99. The decor suggests barnyard chic, with tables made of salvaged wood from bowling alley lanes. Rustic chandeliers that made me think of the Cartwright ranch house on “Bonanza” hung overhead. The aroma of house-smoked meats is an added bonus.
As the name implies, this is a place where you eat pork and sip potent potables. For $25, you can order a half-rack of dry-rubbed baby back ribs, or a BBQ plate with your choice of proteins (pulled pork, hotlink, pastrami, portobello, beef brisket, pulled chicken or chicken thighs). Both come with your choice of two sides — baked beans, succotash, creamy or tangy coleslaw, potato salad, corn bread, mac and cheese or garlic mashed potatoes. You also can opt for fries or a side salad.
All the house-smoked meats can be ordered in a sandwich form, including the pulled pork sandwich I chose. Like all the sandwiches, it cost $16 and came with my choice of two sides or the fries/side salad option. This being a barbecue place, I chose two of the traditional sides — succotash and creamy coleslaw.
Cask & Trotter calls their succotash Seattle succotash, probably due to the presence of edamame, which I presume is largely unknown to Midwest eaters. It was a welcome addition to this tangy corn salad, one of my favorites. The creamy coleslaw was suitably creamy.
As for the sandwich, the pulled pork was delicious, if just a tiny bit dry. A dollop of one of Cash & Trotter’s BBQ sauces took care of that issue. The meal proved more than I could finish, and I seldom leave tasty food on my plate. So, at 16 bucks, you’re getting your money’s worth if not leaving hungry is your aim.
I washed it all down with a pint of Cask & Trotter Lager brewed by Farmstrong in Mount Vernon. The detailed beer list described it as “insanely sessionable,” which is beer-geek-speak for “you can safely drink more than one.” At 3.7% alcohol by volume, it’s even lighter than Coors Light but a lot more satisfying to drink, most likely because it isn’t brewed by the tank car load.
Like a moth to flame, my colleague Sara Bruestle was inexorably drawn to the most unusual offering on Cask & Trotter’s menu: the BBQ Sundae ($16). And what is a BBQ Sundae, you ask? Turns out, it’s pretty much what it sounds like: Your choice of protein layered with your choice of two of the aforementioned sides in a large Sundae dish. Sara chose beef brisket for the protein, and baked beans and Seattle succotash for the sides. Other protein choices include pulled pork, pastrami, portobello and chicken.
The Sundae drew admiring looks and comments from the women at the table next to us. One of them even snapped a photo of it before Sara had a chance to have a bite. “Nice presentation,” the picture-taker said.
Once she did dig in, Sara pronounced the flavor excellent but the dish a bit too cool, likely due to the cold succotash topping. She did eat every bit of it — and unlike me, she usually does leave food on the table.
Sara compared the cornbread muffin with the breading on a corn dog — that’s a compliment, she said. “It’s not Jiffy,” she said, quickly adding that also was a compliment. The muffin came with honey, which you pour from the sort of dispenser usually used for pancake syrup.
When I return, I’ll bring a bigger appetite and try one of the appetizers, which include brisket poutine ($10) and smoked chicken wings ($8 for six, $15 for a dozen).
And, if the steady stream of customers during our visit is any indication, there will be no disappointing “closed” sign taped to the door.
If you go
Cask & Trotter, 18411 Highway 99, Lynnwood, is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 425-967-5245 or go to www.caskandtrotter.com for more information.