Exercise is good, but fine dining is better, especially when local restaurants pledge a percentage of their profits to support breast cancer research. Last year, we ventured down south to Iron Barley, and while that was excellent, we always like to branch out and try new things. Downtown’s Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar is the latest venture from David Bailey, proprietor of the excellent Rooster and the always enjoyable Bailey’s Chocolate Bar. With such pedigreed siblings, we had very high expectations and those expectations were met, for the most part.
For starters, we got the pretzel bites. They were warm and soft and the dipping sauces were fine, if a little bland, but probably not necessary.
The main courses were all really good. Jen had the Roasted Chicken and Crimini Mushroom Wild Rice while I had the Coffee-Braised Beef and Sweet Potato Orzo. These dishes are described on the menu as “pots,” and basically, they are one-dish meals. Simple food, but with complex flavors. Highly recommended. Kim had the
Cuba, Missouri Smoky Strip Club sandwich — a locally-raised twist on a classic, while Kate ordered the Smoked Duck sandwich. Both were delicious, and the bread used was memorable. Additionally, the sandwiches came with the locally-produced Billy Goat Chips. If you have never had these chips, shame on you because they are awesome.
We also ordered a couple sides to share: the Warm Salt & Vinegar Potato Salad was undercooked and bland. The only disappointment of the night, I wouldn’t recommend this unless you like your potatoes al dente. On the other hand, was the Gorgonzola and Bread Pudding.
Now, before you go rolling your eyes and wondering what else these frigging hipster chefs can cram bacon into, let me just take a moment of your time. Is this dish overly precious? Yes. Do I feel like a bit of a glutton consuming two of the great culinary guilty pleasures in one bite? Sure. Would I want to eat it every day? No. But this is a taste I haven’t had elsewhere in St. Louis, and any plate that affords the opportunity to write those words is a winner in my book. To describe the taste of Gorgonzola and Bacon Bread Pudding would be an insult to both the dish and to the reader. I’m sure you’ve had bacon before. You probably know that Gorgonzola is (generally) one of the stinkier cheeses. Use your imagination, or better yet, go to Bridge and try it yourself. It’s four bucks for four bites and unless it’s the straw that breaks the back of your chronic heart condition, you won’t regret it.
In addition, the beer and wine list is extensive. I tried a microbrew, Avery White Rascal, and it hit the spot: a great summer beer. To recap: a great cause + a great meal = a great evening. Maybe the only disappointment (besides those potatoes) was the fact that it was so dim in the dining area that none of my pictures turned out. No matter, food like this is much better experienced in person, with good friends.