Monday, October 31, 2011

First Taste - Corner Stable in Columbia

The P90s went to Corner Stable on Friday night. We got there early (5:40) and the place was packed. We had six adults and three kids – we could be seated immediately or after 8:45. Did I mention that the place was packed? We were at the Village Center primarily for the clown show and trick or treating, but we decided that eating was our priority.

The hostess station seemed a little disorganized and was having a hard time keeping track of which party was which. I’m cutting them some slack because they are newly opened, but I find it helps to write down names and the number of people in a party… Also, the manager/owner seemed a little frazzled. Maybe they weren’t aware of how big of a draw the trick or treating is? Either way, after about 10-15 minutes of them trying to figure out which party we were and whether or not they could actually seat us – we were seated.

Once seated, things improved quickly. Our server was friendly and efficient and she quickly brought drinks for the adults and crayons for the kids. And she brought water for everyone – I always appreciate receiving a water in addition to my wine or beer.

Seeing as Corner Stable prides themselves on the ribs and the crab cakes, each couple split the “Showstopper” – a platter that combines the crab cake with either a whole or half slab of ribs and two sides. For us, it was more than enough food for two. The crab cake is delicious. It’s a mix of lump and backfin with good seasoning and just the right amount of filler to hold it together. It’s not quite as good as a G&M crabcake, but it’s very good. I would happily order it again.

Everyone in my party (aside from me) loved the ribs. I’m partial to smoked ribs and these ribs have never seen smoke. They are cooked to the point where the meat falls off the bone and are wonderfully tender. If that’s your thing, you will love these ribs. The sauce is delicious. It’s a sweet sauce with hints of cinnamon and it really suits these ribs well without overpowering.

My complaints with Corner Stable arose from the sides and the lack of prices on the drink menu. The list of beers on tap is pretty good – Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, Fat Tire, DFH 90-Minute, etc. They also had your mainstream Yuengling, Bud Light, Blue Moon stuff as well. But in this day when it’s not uncommon to see a $10-12 pint of beer, I’d prefer to see the price in print and not have to ask the server. It's an easy fix and something they should work on ASAP. I’m sorry to say I didn’t check out the wine list, but I’m not seeing Corner Stable as a place where I will order wine.

So, about those sides. The mac and cheese was bland and squishy and tasted a lot like the frozen Staufers kind of had the unfortunate experience of trying before. The fries were kind of soggy. The green beans were ok. They were obviously fresh (rather than canned or frozen) but they lacked in the flavor and seasoning department.

I hope this review doesn’t come off as negative. All in all, we had a very good experience at Corner Stable and they are head and shoulders above Michael’s (the former restaurant in this location) in terms of service, food, and ambiance. But they are going to need to improve their sides and get organized quickly. HoCo has plenty of great restaurants these days. It’s going to take more than ribs and a good crab cake to stand out in this crowd and bring in more than just us neighborhood folks. I wish them luck. And I’m more than happy to share recipes for a better mac & cheese. hocofood@@@


  1. I suspect your soggy fries were caused by either inexperience in the kitchen or the fact that so many people were ordering them, they couldn't keep the oil up to the right temperature. I eat at the Timonium Corner Stable all the time and the fries are always perfect there.

  2. Glad to hear that the fries at Corner Stable are not usually soggy.

  3. I'm looking forward to visiting the Columbia location and am so glad there is an alternative to Bare Bones in Howard County now.

  4. I second your comment about no prices on the drink menu. And when I asked the price of wine by the glass, our server didn't know and said he'd have to ask the bartender. He came back once and told us the bartender was too busy to answer, then finally got a price about 5 minutes later. I'll have to beg to differ about the ambiance being better than Michael's. I HATE that there are TVs on every wall throughout the dining area. I would like to enjoy my dinner without having that type of noise and distraction. It's fine in the bar, but I don't like to see it everywhere else.

  5. Good call on the TVs. I think that's just the nature of a "sports bar" kind of place. I agree they could be in the bar area only.

  6. Michael's was awful so it's nice to see a legit restaurant in that space. Will have to check it out soon. I'm as big a sports fan as the next guy but I agree TV's can easily be confined to the bar area. Looking forward to my first visit. Any word on when Nari Sushi is opening?

  7. Nari sushi is open. They did a great job with it on the insides.

    I have not had a full meal there, but I got a spicy tuna roll to-go. It was delicious (fresh, spicy, just the right amount of crunch).

    They have some great sounding fancy rolls and a really good sounding $10 lunch special.