The Tavern – Ding Ding Ding, We Have a Winner
For a recent celebratory dinner, I was in a rut as to where to go. Any of my favorites (Brasserie, Sidney Street, I Fratellini) would have been a fabulous treat, but I was on the hunt for something new. I had heard wonderful things about The Tavern Kitchen and Bar, and yet, I was dubious because of its south-west, Ballwin-ish, strip mall location. Yes, as someone with an east-ward center of gravity, I admit I was being a snob. I stand before you though humble and repentant. The Tavern is a new favorite.
The atmosphere is very fun and can be – if you’re not in one of the six person tables in back that can be curtained off – just a touch loud. Loud? Jovial? Depends on the person. Our waiter, Wade, could not have been better (really, it’s rare to have such an awesome waiter). Turns out we haven’t been the only ones to recognize this personable, primo member of the Tavern wait staff, and I’m sure the rest of the crew is similarly stellar.
And the food. Oh, the food. The Tavern has one of those wonderful, yet simultaneously painful menus where everything looks enticing. They have your back though and offer a sampler of sorts for both their fish dishes and other assorted proteins. Our table ordered one of each and they did indeed satisfy the indecisive diner. The fish is incredibly fresh (variety of inventive preparations), and the beef is amazing. If you have a ribeye craving, the Tavern’s is one of the best I’ve ever had. There are also pasta dishes, but I regret to say that even though they seemed delightful, I was distracted by the rest of the fare. Additionally (yes more), there are a bevy of sides that demand attention — we opted for the tater tot casserole. Really best to never find out what is in it. No good would come of it.
But I’ve skipped over another high-note, the salads! A salad is a salad you say? Perhaps. I am telling you though that they were crisp and fresh and worthy of note – perfect before the onslaught of decadent entrees (I had the caesar romaine). Be warned the portions, as with everything here, are generous, so if you opt for a salad and an entrée, you’ll be tempting your pants to burst if you indulge in any of the appetizers. This is the counsel I had received in advance and I am very glad I stuck to it – even though there were some pretty tempting starter options. Gumbo, grits with a chorizo/chicken topping, baby back ribs with an apricot hoisin glaze, and on and on. I’ll be back for ya when I’m not intent on an entrée.
Desserts. These things are crafted to make you slobber. We selected cinnamon sugar donut holes – hot from the fryer – which were accompanied with a maple cream dipping sauce, as well as a blackberry topped financier that came with cinnamon ice cream. There was a gooey chocolate chip cookie, sundae monstrosity, but it was too much to contemplate after the feasting we’d been doing. Be still my heart…like literally.