Urban Chic

Sqwires proves just how cosmopolitan St. Louis can be

A few dishes were dragged down in an undertow of blandness. Spinach soup with crab was like a wad of warm paper pulp. It's hard to believe that anyone in the kitchen actually tasted it. The only flavor in the bowl came from the spoonful of crabmeat. We couldn't even detect salt, and a garnish of tomato relish had apparently been forgotten. The Sqwires salad -- green beans, endive and other vegetables tossed in a vinaigrette -- was crunchy but had no more allure than plain iceberg lettuce.

Desserts were fickle, and no specials were offered, even though the restaurant employs a pastry chef. The pear tart had a dark, overbaked crust as dry as a mouthful of saltines. The tough pastry shell was a tip-off that the tart was probably several days old or perhaps had been frozen and thawed. The accompanying pear sorbet captured the very essence of ripe fruit, but the stinting portion was hardly enough to moisten the desiccated tart. The other ice creams and sorbets also seemed to have been doled out with a melon baller. Spice cake -- parched sheet cake punched into a deflated circle using a biscuit cutter -- was painted with a gummy quince compote that bore an unfortunate resemblance to golden fish roe. Chocolate blackout cake, a nauseating name worthy of a place on Shoney's menu, was indeed chocolatey but had little else to recommend it. Its accompaniment, raspberry ice cream, was unavailable. The cake was served instead with pear sorbet, a mismatched flavor partner. The most appealing dessert was tropical bread pudding, a puffy, chewy, eggy wedge garnished with a divot of coconut sorbet.

Sqwires: The simple, spirited food keeps pace with the restaurant's dynamic design.
Jennifer Silverberg
Sqwires: The simple, spirited food keeps pace with the restaurant's dynamic design.

Location Info

Map

SqWires

1415 S 18th St
St. Louis, MO 63104

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Lafayette Square

Details

Spinach soup $6.95
Potato pancake $7
Sea bass $21.95
Boneless short ribs $18.95
Oyster stew $16.95
Tropical bread pudding $5.50

314-865-3522. Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Wed.; 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Thu.-Sat; bar menu available 11 p.m.-midnight Thu.-Sat.; market open 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

1415 S. 18th St.

As we polished off the bread pudding, we surveyed the smartly dressed and coiffed customers, who looked no different from diners in SoHo and Wrigleyville and Pioneer Square. Then we spotted a young man in a snap-front shirt escorting a gal wearing an enormous pink hair scrunchie. Even with Sqwires in town, we haven't gotten too big for our britches just yet.

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