As fans of bourbon and barbecue, we like the premise of Barrel & Bones, the new smokehouse and cocktail spot in The Colony. We first spied the restaurant last year when we were checking out The Shacks at Austin Ranch across the street. The food and drink photography on B&B's Facebook page had our mouths watering, and we anxiously waited for news of the grand opening.
That opening came in early November, but our initial visit during the soft-opening phase left us a little underwhelmed. The full menu wasn't yet available, service was a bit spotty and the food we tried didn't impress. After a few months of operation under the restaurant's belt, we headed back to see how things are going.
"hoity-toity places up around The Star."
Perhaps we are hoity-toity and never knew it, but there are still kinks to be worked out when it comes to service. The staff were generally friendly enough, but on our recent visit during a slow weekend lunch hour, we didn't get napkins and silverware until halfway through our meal, and only after flagging down a waitress to ask for them. And our empty trays of food sat in front of us for three visits from our waitress after we had asked for the check.
Patrons in search of barbecue can get Barrel & Bones' smoked meats a la carte by the half-pound, in a plate that includes a side or on a variety of sandwiches that come with fries. (A side can be added for $3.) We opted for a turkey melt ($10), described on the menu as smoked turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, roasted jalapeño mayo and avocado on a toasted challah bread. Instead of challah, our sandwich was served on two thick slices of Texas toast, and we couldn't detect much heat from the jalapeño mayo, but the smokiness of the turkey shone through. Homemade pickles and pickled onions on each tray were a nice smokehouse touch.
Service quibbling aside, there's plenty to like about Barrel & Bones. The expansive bar and selection of whisky-based libations is definitely a bonus for the area. While the barbecue may not make the Texas Monthly Top 50, it's definitely a step above most chain offerings, especially on Monday evenings when the menu goes half-price. Deals like that are something even the hoity-toity crowd can appreciate.
Barrel & Bones Craft Bar and Smokehouse, 2801 Plano Parkway, The Colony