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Thursday, May 2, 2013

First Look: Central Table Food Hall Offers Artisan Eats in the Central West End [Photos]

Posted By on Thu, May 2, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Spicy diavolo pizza with heritage Berkshire sausage, spicy marinated tomatoes, housemade mozzarella, chile oil and fresh Parmesan. - MABEL SUEN
  • Mabel Suen
  • Spicy diavolo pizza with heritage Berkshire sausage, spicy marinated tomatoes, housemade mozzarella, chile oil and fresh Parmesan.

The highly anticipated Central Table Food Hall (23 South Euclid Avenue; 314-932-5595) takes up an entire city block. So you can imagine how silly we felt when we unknowingly drove past the 10,000-square-foot space during our first visit before doors opened on May 1. To the unassuming eye, nothing more than a couple of discreet high-flying signs flank either side of the building. Before pulling back the handle of those big glass doors, we suggest you take a few deep breaths and prepare for a bit of sensory overload.

See also: - Q&A With Central Table Food Hall Developer Walter McClure - First Look: Prasino Brings "Eco-Chic" American Cuisine to St. Charles

St. Louis' first food hall features a market, coffee shop, wine bar, deli, sushi bar, raw bar, hearth and grill. At any given time, a staff of about 15 chefs (out of a back-of-the house staff of about 37 currently) preps meals for all areas. See this Q&A with developer Walter McClure we did back in January for more details on how the concept came together.

The menu puts a strong emphasis on artisan-quality goods locally sourced whenever possible, so look forward to seeing products from Marcoot Jersey Creamery, Salume Beddu, Claverach Farms and Companion Bread, to name a few.

With such an elaborate haul of of food, how's a hypnotized food-hall visitor supposed to choose? Well, the selection varies depending on what time it is, but this in no way suggests that that the spread is limited. Past that, do as Gut Check does -- in gut we trust!

General manager Matt McGuire and executive chef Nick Martinkovic (formerly of Roberta's in Brooklyn, New York). - MABEL SUEN
  • Mabel Suen
  • General manager Matt McGuire and executive chef Nick Martinkovic (formerly of Roberta's in Brooklyn, New York).

"Central Table is a dining experience that evolves throughout the day. The cafe is open in the morning with coffee and pastries, and there's a market that's open throughout the day with lunch items to go, beer, wine and a number dry goods," says Rex Oberle, the account executive for Central Table Food Hall via Twist.

"Lunch is set up at the stations," he says. "You can go order and gather with friends and colleagues at your table of choice. At six o'clock, the space is turned into a seated dinner. The menu is made up of items from those different stations."

When asked what inspired the selections for his menus, executive chef Nick Martinkovic says it's a compilation of different things he's done in the past. Some dishes he recommends are steaks including imperial wagyu from Kansas and a braised and a seared octopus dish with caramelized fennel, aerated fennel and tomato water gelee.

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