#13: The Root Beer-Braised Beef Short Rib at Monarch

The root beer-braised beef short rib at Monarch - Ian Froeb
Ian Froeb
The root beer-braised beef short rib at Monarch
I've lauded the cooking of Monarch executive chef Josh Galliano so often in my reviews and on Gut Check that choosing a favorite dish from his arsenal should be easy. Except that, like any good chef, Galliano is restless and daring, and you don't follow his work so much as try to keep up.

So let's just say that the beef short rib braised in root beer, a relatively new addition to Monarch's menu, is my favorite dish of his right now, subject to change by the time I finish writing this post.

The short rib dish strikes a balance between the refined, modern technique that has won Galliano acclaim at both An American Place and Monarch and the more casual, Southern-influenced direction that Monarch has taken over the past year.

Arranged from left to right across the plate is wilted cabbage, a red-onion marmalade, a piece of spoonbread, the short rib and a roasted onion.You can admire how, despite being "wilted," the cabbage's texture is delicate, almost velvety. Or you can simply enjoy the spoonbread's simple, comforting goodness.

The short rib is the focal point, of course, a thick, flavorful hunk of meat. The root beer flavor is there, but subtle, its sweetness softening rather than swamping the beef. That root beer is Galliano's own recipe, by the way -- it's even available on draft -- a sure as sign as any that, even when it comes to soda pop, one of our very best chefs leaves nothing to chance.

7401 Manchester Road, Maplewood

I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious. Please do not hesitate to share your own favorites via the comments thread.


#14: The Egg Raviolo at Acero
#15: Pappardelle at the Tavern Kitchen + Bar
#16: Carnitas at La Tejana Taqueria
#17: Benne's Farm half chicken at Five Bistro
#18: Dátiles rellenos at Modesto
#19: Hot-and-sour noodles at Joy Luck Buffet
#20: Lamb vindaloo at India Palace

#21: Channa masala at Raj's Rasoi
#22: The blueberry scone at La Dolce Via
#23: Gang kua ped yang at Addie's Thai House
#24: Bánh xèo at Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet
#25: Mojarra dorada at Garduño's Mexican Food
#26: "It" at Mammer Jammer
#27: Two eggs over-easy, bacon and hash browns at the Courtesy Diner
#28: Seafood at Farmhaus
#29: The "Edgar Allan Poe" at Dewey's Pizza
#30: The "Heart Stopping BLT" and a chocolate malt at Crown Candy Kitchen