J. Gilbert's Wood-Fired Steaks & Seafood, a very small, national chain from the same folks who brought you Houlihan's and Bristol Seafood Grill, doesn't dry-age its USDA Prime steaks, which is pretty much our only quibble about the place. It wet-ages them for at least three weeks, depending on the cut. And then it grills those steaks over mesquite wood, imbuing the already richly flavored meat with a heady smoke flavor. The standout cuts are the Kansas City strip and the cowboy rib eye, though you're good to go whatever your preference. Sides feature little touches that elevate them above the usual steak-house suspects: a hint of poblano peppers in the au gratin potatoes; green beans tossed with pecans; slivers of fried garlic atop broccolini. The restaurant gives off a vibe that combines the level of service and attention to detail you expect from a steak house where entrées can approach $50 with the hipper and more casual feel of a contemporary restaurant. J. Gilbert's is worth a trip to West County Center for every carnivore — even the most mall-phobic.
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