The Anvil, Ste. Genevieve, MO – Best Onion Rings Ever?

On average I trek down I-55 / Highway 67 to visit family in Farmington twice a month.  On those trips I’m not above eating fast food, but prefer supporting family establishments whenever possible.  Every once in a while, I get this craving that only The Anvil Saloon & Restaurant can satisfy.   It stretches out the trip slightly, but it provides me some quality onion rings.

The Anvil Saloon & Restaurant has a cool history.  The building was built in 1850 and started as a hardware store. In 1855 it was purchased by a family that turned it into a saloon.  The bar was actually removed from a steamboat to lighten it’s load when it became stuck on a sandbar. It was transported by oxcart; I bet that drew a crowd as well as some thirsty individuals.  When I go, I always prefer sitting downstairs and looking at the old pictures and enjoying all the exposed brick.  However, if you are afraid of clowns, you may be creeped out.  There are tons of clown pictures and art adorning the walls.

Why go out of my way to stop at the Anvil?  The onion rings of course!  The have light breading and are just fantastic.  Beware, the small order is enough to fill up several bellies.  I don’t even attempt to order a large unless my party size is 6 or more.  I have found they are also a great snack to enjoy at the bar while enjoying some unpretentious cold beer.

onion rings

On more recent visits, I have found that I keep ordering the French onion soup.  I didn’t even realize it until I was reviewing pictures for this post.  It has sneaked up on me that I really enjoy the dish.  It’s rich and very flavorful.  Notice that layer of cheese!

French Onion SoupFor my entrée, I almost always order some version of their fried chicken.  The half allows you to sample both light and dark meat.  It is also easily split if you didn’t take my advice and ordered too many onion rings.  It’s moist and the skin is very crispy.  It’s not over thought at all; just a solid rendition of a family favorite.  Be warned, it’s served piping hot.

Half fried chicken

Last but not least, let me share with you one of their more “unique” side dishes:  liver dumplins.  Huh?  liver dumplins, why would anyone do that?  This was a dish that my dad always liked and came from the German influence on the town.  To be honest, if you are a liver lover you will likely be disappointed by this dish.  The dumplins have very little flavor so you mainly taste the brown gravy.  I called them just dumplins and even my four-year old tried them.  Is it bad to lie to kids to get them to try new things? 🙂

Liver Dumplins

The Anvil Saloon & Restaurant is Ste. Genevieve to me and is one of my family favorites.  I can still picture my dad saying he wasn’t hungry and munching on onion rings non-stop while enjoying cheap beer.  It has a special place in my heart and I hope to be enjoying it for years to come.  You can’t go wrong with the onion rings and fried chicken.  I wish just once, I would be hungry enough to try their homemade pies.  The onion rings wipe me out every time.

Dive 2 Five Scale: 3.  It’s an old building and that really adds to the charm.  I love to notice the small details that show it’s age and think about all the history. There is still a spittoon by the front door and you can see how the front step has worn from traffic over the years.   It’s very family friendly and a fun experience.

 

 

Público – University City, MO – Tacos, Arepas, and Oysters = Happy Tummy

Mike Randolph is at it again with a new concept in University City called  Público.  It has been getting rave reviews, so I had to see what all the fuss was about.  After a quick glance at the menu, thoughts of the long gone MEDIAnoche came to mind.  MEDIAnoche was the night-time version Mike’s other restaurant:  Half and Half.  Although there were similarities, the new concept featuring an oak-burning hearth in the kitchen, definitely caught my attention.

This visit was a “go big or go home” type of night.  Most of the items are smaller and meant for sharing, so I would suggest ordering around three to five items for a couple.  Once you order, items will come out as they are available.  If you prefer, there are also entrée portioned items available as well.

First up: a cocktail to help shake off the week, and this one was a stunner.

drink

It was called the “Have you seen my guava?” and it was light, well-balanced, and definitely effective.

Once the food started to arrive, it came out fast and furious.  First, the raw oysters.  On this particular night they were featuring Cranberry Creek Oysters from Washington State.  They were medium on the brine and had a slight cucumber flavor on the finish.  I had never eaten oysters with lime juice, but it was a nice touch.  The flavors paired extremely well with the house red hot sauce.

Another guilty pleasure of mine is sweetbreads.

sweetbreads

This was the first dish that caught my eye from their menu.  It happens to be the most unique take on them that I have had and is probably my new all-time favorite.  They were served with a pineapple and habanero sauce, which came with just enough of a kick on the back end so you know it’s there.

Guess what?  There was a liver dish and I ordered it. I know, right?

arepa 2

I had their arepa with lamb liver butter, fried sage, and maple syrup.  The lamb liver butter was light compared to most liver dishes.  The sweetness from syrup should make it more palatable, even if you aren’t a liver lover like me.

Yes, I also love tacos.  I LOVE TACOS.  Público‘s tacos come as a pair which makes them great for sharing if you can resist keeping them all for yourself.  Out of all the great options, I settled on the pork belly.

pork belly tacos

The first round of tacos was delicious: moist and packed with flavor. They were so good, in fact, I opted for a second round. Unfortunately, the difference in texture made this round a bit more dry. Either way, I would still recommend them.

Público is the latest restaurant adding more taco options to University City.  In fact, it is safe to say that U City has the upscale and diverse taco market cornered in St. Louis.  They have a menu with plenty of options in a fun setting with an upbeat vibe.  I predict a long life for this restaurant and can’t wait to try some of the entrées.

Dive 2 Five Star Scale:  3.  As I have already said, it has a very upbeat vibe.  It is also in one of the great areas to walk around in St. Louis: the Loop. I love the open concept with the large “U” shaped bar.  It was a great way to get in without a reservation before they became more busy.  The decor is fun as well.  I am a tree art fanatic so I loved the large trees on the wall.