Cleveland-Heath's Seared Beef Tongue: One of 100 St. Louis Dishes You Must Eat Right Now

The Gut Check One Hundred is our accounting of the 100 dishes in St. Louis that you must eat right now. These are the best dishes at the newest restaurants and the newest dishes at the best restaurants. These are the 100 dishes that define St. Louis dining in 2013. Our list culminates this fall when the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis 2013 names the "Best Dish" of the year.

The seared beef tongue at Cleveland-Heath | Ian Froeb
The seared beef tongue at Cleveland-Heath | Ian Froeb

As promised yesterday, Cleveland-Heath (106 North Main Street, Edwardsville, Illinois; 636-307-4830) becomes the first spot -- though not the last -- to score a second dish on the Gut Check One Hundred 2013.

Unlike Cleveland-Heath's cauliflower soup, which was a daily special, today's selection is part of the restaurant's current menu. And while I can't promise it will be available forever, when I ate lunch at Riverfront Times' reigning "Best New Restaurant" yesterday, I learned that chef Eric Heath had just debuted his latest menu, so the seared beef tongue should be around for a bit longer.

See Also: - Best New Restaurant 2012: Cleveland-Heath - Ian Froeb's RFT Review of Cleveland-Heath - Jennifer Silverberg's RFT Slideshow of Cleveland-Heath

Though Heath lists the dish on the menu as "Seared Beef Tongue" ($13), he actually braises the unlovely, but delicious cut for seven hours, then sears to order. The result is fork-tender meat with a beautifully browned exterior.

(If you've never eaten beef tongue, don't be afraid. The flavor isn't very different from that of roast beef, and as Heath prepares and plates the meat, you could easily mistake the cut for short ribs.)

The tongue rests on a bed of housemade spaetzle laced with crisp little bits of kale. A mild horseradish crème fraîche and a garnish of sliced scallions tops the meat. The dish stands for the very best of Cleveland-Heath: humble, yet elegant; gorgeously rustic.

Shorter review: If you haven't already, St. Louis, get your butts in your cars and make the pilgrimage to Edwardsville.

Is there a dish that you think belongs among the Gut Check One Hundred 2013? Let us know!

See Also: The Gut Check One Hundred 2013 (So Far) - Cleveland-Heath's Cauliflower Soup - Pastaria's Italian Ramen - Pi Pizzeria's "Grove" Pizza - Famous Szechuan Pavilion's Spicy Wonton Soup (Novice) or Yu Shan Pork (Advanced) - La Tejana Taqueria's Goat Soup - Hendricks BBQ's Ribs - Sauce on the Side's "Costanza" Calzone - Siete Luminarias' Guanajuato-Style Carnitas - Fork & Stix's Khao Soi

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