Corktown’s Cork and Gabel Fuses Italian, German, and Irish Cuisine

Chef Matt McGrail opens the restaurant and beer hall this week, to much anticipation


Interiors of Cork & Gabel


Yesterday, Dec. 19, Corktown welcomed its newest eatery, Cork and Gabel, adding a unique to the growing metro Detroit food scene. Owner and chef Matt McGrail began renovating the beer hall and restaurant last fall with business partner and building owner Joe Mifsud, turning the vacant space into an industrial 4,450-square-foot joint that seats 112 patrons, and boasts high ceilings, an open kitchen, and an inventive menu.

McGrail’s menu starts off with a selection of appetizers, aptly named Light Weights, consisting of cheese, chicken, potatoes, pie and pretzels — all European staples. His crispy braised chicken wings are slow cooked in house spices and served with bleu cheese, while the Poig an Aoire is a Shepherd’s Pie with a rich veal demi glaze. Also under Light Weights is the waygu carpaccio, which is topped with pickled sweet Vidalia onions, capers, and finished with a light red wine vinaigrette. McGrail also incorporates farm-to-table plates like a caprese, an Italian tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad topped with Camembert dressing. For the Banger and Brats portion of the menu, there is options like the 16th Street Banger, a sausage marinated in Irish stout sprinkled with pickled cabbage, and the garlic juniper brat, a smoked bratwurst that comes with a side of roasted sauerkraut. The Michigan cherry and maple chicken sausage, is placed on a pretzel hoagie and paired with a side of fries.

The entrees and desserts, placed under the Heavy Weights and I Suggest You Leave Room… part of the menu,are as mouth-watering as they come. Rich plates like lamb bolognese with house-made rye pasta, slow-roasted crispy pork belly, drizzled with parmesan polenta and cabbage slaw, and wild mushroom risotto cakes with ratatouille will certainly leave you satisfied. A take on the staple sandwich, McGrail’s Schnitzel BLT packs crispy breaded pork loin, and thickly cut smoked bacon with Boursin cheese, between slices of rye bread. Top off a filling dinner with the Clock Tower, a no-bake layered cheesecake with pistachio ice cream and chocolate garnish. The Irish Waffle Bomb is another worthy selection, which features a Guinness-infused chocolate waffle topped with a scoop of Baileys Irish Cream chocolate-covered pretzel ice cream and topped with a tart Jameson caramel sauce. Still stuffed from the apps and entrees? Dessert is best served in a to-go box, anyway.

Have you visited any new restaurants in metro Detroit lately? Let us know in the comments below!

Related: Ferndale’s Antihero Serves Japanese Plates You’ve Been Craving

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