Appetizers are beer-friendly. Oven-roasted dates wrapped in bacon are as compulsively snackable as potato chips. A dip of artichoke hearts and roasted fava beans blended with goat, cream and mozzarella cheeses, the surface given a light brown broiling, is rich and tangy. One salad is available, served family-style: mixed greens (though mostly of a pale variety when I had it) with red onion, red pepper, artichoke hearts, olive, white beans and salami in a lemon vinaigrette.

Service is hit-or-miss. I found my servers to be friendly and, crucially, well studied in the beer list. But long waits between my servers' visits, especially when waiting for drinks, were routine, despite the fact that the restaurant wasn't busy during any of the meals I ate there.

Most telling, I believe, is that my favorite visit to the Stable came when I went only to sit at the bar and try a couple of beers. I happened to be sitting next to two out-of-towners who make it a point to sample other cities' beer selections when traveling on business, and we fell into an easy, casual conversation about beer — both those we were trying that evening and in general.

The Stable corrals ales from all over the world into one of the city's best beer lists.
Jennifer Silverberg
The Stable corrals ales from all over the world into one of the city's best beer lists.

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The Stable
Bacon-wrapped dates...$5.25
Basic bleu grinder...$7.25
Cajun grinder...$8.95
Jerk chicken pizza (16-inch)...$16.95
1821 Cherokee Street; 314-771-8500.
Hours: Lunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sun. Dinner 4-10 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 4-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat. (Closed Mon.)

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I have no doubt the Stable will prosper as a bar. And as a restaurant, it provides exactly the sort of food that we ordinarily associate with beer: pizza, burgers, shared appetizers. But the Stable's beer selection isn't ordinary — hence the connoisseurs' excitement — and I can't help but think that the restaurant has an opportunity to double down on its unique qualities by featuring more interesting cuisine to complement the more interesting brews.

That would be something gourmands and hopheads alike could raise a glass to.

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