A grilled pork loin came with a more assertive "Butcher's Wife" sauce of mustard and white wine with a piquant note of capers. The sauce helped mask the fact that the loin had been cooked somewhere between medium-well and well done. I'd feared as much when our server had failed to ask my temperature preference, still a common and lamentable practice in these parts. With a cut of pork of this quality, you should err on the side of medium.

Each entrée I tried came with a medley of vegetables and either roasted potatoes or a mash of beans; French fries accompanied the burger. Not one of these side dishes was remarkable, and their interchangeability suggested that the kitchen considered them an afterthought.

Along those same lines, the beer selection proved a disappointment. Though several pub standards are available on draft, including Guinness, Newcastle and Boddingtons, there was little I couldn't find in many other bars. This is especially striking, given the resurgence of interest in "real ale" in Great Britain, where the gastropub movement was born. On the other hand, there are more wines here than you might expect to find at a pub.

Putting the "pub" into "gastropub."
Jennifer Silverberg
Putting the "pub" into "gastropub."

Location Info

Map

Shakespeare's Pizza-Columbia(Downtown)

225 S. Ninth St.
Columbia, MO 65201

Category: Restaurant > Pizza

Region: Columbia

Details

Wm. Shakespeare's Gastropub
Charcuterie platter...$14
Pork loin...$16
Mixed grill of lamb...$18
Fried rabbit...$21
601 North Grand Boulevard; 314-601-3922. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon. (Lunch only), 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Tue.-Fri., 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Sat. (Sunday hours based on Grand Center events. Call for details.)

I happened to visit when most of Grand Center's venues were dark, which makes it difficult to judge the service. On both occasions, one of them a Saturday evening, I was one of few tables occupied. Which worried me: I hope Wm. Shakespeare's isn't pigeonholed as a pre-theater spot. There is much to appeal to a general audience here, but I can't help but wonder how long lamb tongue and rabbit will last on the menu if that's the only audience.

Yes, 2009 is the year of the ox. But that's no excuse for St. Louis diners to remain stubborn and dull.

Prove me wrong.

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