Prosciutto-topped grilled flatbread pizza ($9) was garlicky and fresh, with the emphasis on the prosciutto, mozzarella and thin slices of tomatoes. Smoky from the grill, the crust had great flavor, but it didn't stand up to the toppings. This was definitely fork-eating pizza.
Fitting for a wine pub, the menu suggests wine pairings for each dish, sticking to varietals instead of specific wines. We opted for the recommended house wines and were pleased with each, from the medium-bodied Mellini chianti ($8) with the pizza, to the mellow and fruity Tortoise pinot noir ($8) with the scallops.
Though service started off slow, it picked up over the course of the evening. Our waitress was friendly and well-versed in the menu, though she wasn't as familiar with the wine list. But when we asked questions she couldn't answer, she tracked down the responses quickly.
For dessert, bread pudding ($7) was accessorized with granola, raisins, dried cranberries and dark chocolate, creating a trail mix-comfort food mash-up. The pudding tasted good, but like the entrees, it might have been better with fewer ingredients.
From creative drinks to tasty (though sometimes complicated) entrees, McManus and Stecher have created something special at County Cork Wine Pub. Judging by the crowds, which were still going strong as we walked out the door, their neighbors agree.
Take a look inside
View more photos of the restaurant at baltimoresun.com/dining.
County Cork Wine Pub
Back story: Opened in December 2010 by Eldersburg residents Arlene Stecher and Chris McManus, County Cork Wine Pub is a fun spot for local people to gather for good drinks and creative food.
Parking: Lot in front
Signature dish: Experiment with the Butcher Board, a mix-and-match board of cheeses and meats served with crostini, olives, and garnishes like mustard, apples and guava paste. The options are varied and appealing — from thick slices of house-made duck ham to creamy Monocacy Ash cheese from Cherry Glen Farm in Boyds.
Where: 1716 Liberty Road, Eldersburg
Contact: 410-970-8110; http://www.thecorkpub.com
Open: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m Tuesday to Saturday; 10 a.m. through dinner (closing varies) Sunday
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard
[Key: Superlative: *****; Excellent: ****; Very good: ***; Good: **; Promising: *]