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You can call J & A's Bar & Grill a dive. (It's smoky, low-key and highly affordable.) You can call it a sports bar. (The TVs are always tuned into the game, and if a St. Louis team is playing, pitchers are just $5.) Just don't call it your typical Central West End nightspot, because J & A's Bar & Grill is most certainly not that. This is a place for drinkers who like to drink and sports fans who like to watch the Cards. And there's nothing wrong with that. While there's a full menu, it's more a convenience than the reason why people come here.
In an era of gastropubs and mixologists, J. Greene’s Pub sets itself apart from the pack by being a decidedly untrendy, honest-to-goodness neighborhood bar and grill. Husband and wife owners Jason and Juliet Greene bring their combined total of 22 years experience from McGurk’s, a St. Louis pub institution, to Warson Woods and turn the corner of a nondescript strip mall into a worthy eatery. Just because J. Greene’s isn’t complicated does not mean it is lacking in quality, well-executed food. The menu features from-scratch comfort classics, house-cured and smoked meats, and old family recipes. Especially noteworthy is the housemade toasted ravioli, elevated by the extra love that comes from fresh pasta dough, a blend of seasoned beef and sausage, and real marinara sauce. The biggest menu surprise comes in the form of pork osso bucco, a staple of northern Italian fine-dining restaurants that intriguingly shows up on J. Greene’s American-style menu. The slow-braised meat falls off the bone into a lovely pool of tomato infused cooking liquid, forming a rich gravy for the rustic mashed potatoes. It’s difficult to leave room for dessert after stuffing oneself with tater tots and jalapeño poppers (they’re homemade too), but diners must leave room for the warm and sticky bread pudding, a decadent cinnamon and caramel pillow snowcapped with vanilla bean ice cream. This is comfort food at its best.
This original location of J. Buck's has been serving up upscale bar food since 1999. The restaurant offers lunch specials, which makes it a popular spot for Clayton professionals. The menu features wings, flat-bread pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and steaks. Appetizers include the traditional American faves, including spinach-artichoke dip, soft pretzels and toasted ravioli. Bigger bites include a roasted portabella sandwich, Cajun grilled mahi mahi and, for dinner, baby-back ribs, steak or chicken carbonara and Parmesan-and-herb-crusted tilapia. Diners can sit inside or, on nice days, enjoy J. Buck's patio.
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