Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fast, Casual: The Red Lion

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 12:00 PM

I visit more restaurants than I have space in the RFT to review. Fast, Casual offers brief takes on these dining experiences.

click to enlarge redlion0119.JPG
The Red Lion (7336 Manchester Road; website) calls itself an "American Gastropub." Fear not, pretentious police: Even if we food types could agree on what makes a gastropub -- American or otherwise -- a gastropub, the Red Lion wouldn't fit the bill. Really, if you want to give the Red Lion a fair shake, ignore the term gastropub entirely. It's a straight-up bar and grill -- and should be judged as such.

The Red Lion opened in July of last year in the Maplewood space formerly occupied by Mike Johnson's short-lived pan-Asian restaurant, Fu Manchu. Though Fu Manchu's kitschy Asian-themed décor is gone, the overall look of the restaurant is much the same, including the odd, giant ceiling fan near the bar.

The menu is straightforward. Appetizers include T-ravs, onion rings and wings. I tried the hot wings, which were terrifyingly plump -- are those drumettes or actual drumsticks? -- but not very spicy. The sauce's vinegar tang was muted, though it did have a mild mustard-like note.

The main selections are burgers, sandwiches and flatbread pizzas. The burgers are overstuffed. Witness the "Cajun Burger," topped with fried onions, ranch dressing, pepperjack cheese and jalapeños. It's tasty -- though not as tasty as it could be if the kitchen would cook it properly. My first attempt at ordering this medium resulted in a burger that was raw in the middle. My second attempt (weeks later) was overcooked.

The "Spicy Sausage Flatbread" is topped with mozzarella and Provel, though, frankly, the Provel's, um, distinct texture swamped any suggestion of mozzarella. The sausage wasn't spicy, and it had the appearance (not to mention the taste and texture) of something like kielbasa, not the Italian sausage you might expect. I did like that the bottom of the very thin crust had been grilled, giving it extra texture and flavor. At any rate, the presence of Provel should end any real debate: The Red Lion is an agreeable neighborhood joint, but it ain't a gastropub.

Tags: ,

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 14, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation