Shaved Duck – St. Louis, MO – If it Looks Like a Duck and Tastes Like a Duck…

One of the many things I love about St. Louis is how it’s made up of many neighborhoods with each having it’s own unique personality.  Typically each of those neighborhoods has a restaurant or bar that is deeply rooted into the fabric of that small community.  One such restaurant in Tower Grove is the Shaved Duck.

I originally found the Shaved Duck while searching for a restaurant in St. Louis that had duck fat fries.  Unfortunately duck fat fries are no longer on the menu but there is plenty of unique items to choose from.  During my most recent visit I tasted the Big Jimmy Sampler and the smoked duck entrée.

big jimmy

The Big Jimmy Sampler is St. Louis style spare ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, and pulled chicken.  Unlike a lot of BBQ places where you smell the smoke when you walk in, at the Shaved Duck I only noticed it when the food landed at my table.  The ribs were good but not as tender as you might get at Pappy’s (they have a bit more chew to them).  The pulled pork, pulled chicken, and brisket were all on the dry side.  All of them have good flavor, but I typically prefer my BBQ to be more juicy.  The Habanero BBQ sauce though was killer. I would put it on everything.

The highlight of my most recent visit was the smoked duck breast.

smoked duck

It had a subtle smoke flavor.  The cherry juniper jam was the perfect way to top the duck.  It is an idea that I have stolen and made my own when preparing duck at home.  I will definitely order this dish again.  My only complaint was that it was gone so quickly!

The Shaved Duck is a neighborhood favorite in Tower Grove.  I am typically a fan of more tender and juicy BBQ but there is still plenty of food I enjoy at this restaurant.  Besides the smoked duck, I love the walnut and sugar encrusted bacon, the smoked chicken wings, and the confit pot pie.

Dive 2 Five Scale:  3.  I love the neighborhood feel of this place.  It’s a very small and intimate place.  If you are going on a weeknight, try to arrive before 7 so you can avoid waiting outside.  It has a great selection of beers featuring several local breweries.  There is live music on a regular basis, but it’s not so loud that you can’t enjoy a conversation at your table.

The Shaved Duck on Urbanspoon

Mission Taco Joint, St. Louis, MO – Late Night Dining in the Loop

Adam and Jason Tilford opened their new restaurant, Mission Taco Joint, on Thursday.  It’s located in the Delmar Loop and serves burritos, tacos, and tortas.  Being a fan of Milagro, I made a point of stopping in for the opening.

A lot of people think it is uncool to review a restaurant on opening night.  I tend to agree, but I also know a lack of available information on new places can deter people from taking a chance.  So hopefully this post will help give a little information on a new place from some already successful restaurateurs.

I started with the wild mushroom huarache.  This was a crisped corn masa boat topped with refried black beans, mushrooms, huitlacoche, goat cheese, arugula, and Mexican crema. If you love mushrooms like I do, you need to try this dish.

DSC00469 For my main course, I ordered three different tacos and a side of street corn.  A breakdown of the tacos: tacos

  • Roasted duck (left) – shredded chile roasted duck, crispy pork belly, avocado serrano sauce.
  • Yucatan chicken (middle) – achiote marinate chicken, pickled onion, fiery arbol salsa, and queso fresco.
  • Cochinita pibil (right) – achiote marinated pork shoulder that was slow roasted in a banana leaf with pickled onion and ancho BBQ sauce

My favorite was the duck but closely followed by the pork shoulder.  If smokey flavors are your thing, then go for the chicken.

Last but not least… the street corn.  When I go to Milagro, I always order this side.  I can never bring myself to order anything else.  Street corn is a drug and I’m addicted to it. street corn Mission Taco Joint offers some well thought out versions of typically simple Mexican food items.  It reminds me of the great tacos I used to enjoy when I lived in the Southwest.  Only thing missing for me would be cow’s tongue as a meat option for one of the tacos.

Dive 2 Five Scale – 3.  They have a huge bar area with a nice selection of cocktails and craft beers.  Mission Taco Joint can satisfy that late night craving when in the loop.  For an opening night, they had the place over staffed to make sure things went smoothly.  Riverfront Times has some scans of the menu as part of their article.

Mission Taco Joint on Urbanspoon