Posts tagged ‘Westport’
Until last month I had never been to Pot Pie for dinner. I’m not sure what took me so long, but I’m very glad I finally made it. With its brick walls, subtle lighting and lively buzz, it’s very cozy, and an ideal winter locale. (My apologies for the poor quality of the photos, it was too dark to take decent pictures but at least they give some context to my comments.)
The nightly menu is displayed on a green board in the back of the restaurant. Unfortunately, we were seated right under it, making it a bit difficult to read, but not impossible. There were three or four salad offerings, a few appetizers, two soups and a handful of entrees, including meatloaf, scallops, grilled fish and chicken and, of course, the obligatory pot pies in meat and vegetarian versions.
This is not trendy or cutting edge cuisine, but it is very comforting and enjoyable.
Because the scallops, grilled fish and roast chicken are most often mentioned as the restaurant’s “go-to” dishes, we tried each. The scallops were tender and sweet, and the roast chicken was moist and flavorful. I wasn’t as enthralled with the mashed potatoes and gravy that accompanied it however, because surprisingly they didn’t have enough salt. How often is that the complaint? Usually, I’m turned off by oversalted foods because I rarely salt anything. But potatoes need a shake of salt to “pop” and bring out the flavor, and that mistake made this dish less than exceptional.
The fish on this night, was barramundi, better known as Australian sea bass. It was grilled perfectly, and served with a light gnocchi that was dressed with blue cheese, walnuts and spinach. An unusual combination to be sure, but it worked (though not if you’re trying to avoid a cream sauce).
The wine list is compact, but well-rounded. The best part is that they don’t go wild with the markups. Each bottle was marked up much less than most restaurants seem to do. Certainly less than the almost-standard 50%. We enjoyed one of Missouri’s finest, an Inland Sea Cabernet Franc (recently renamed Amigoni Vineyards, after its founder).
Word has it that the restaurant does an amazing chocolate chip bread pudding, so don’t miss it if you are a fan of that type of dessert. I’m not usually, but based on its reputation, this one may make me a believer.
Westport Cafe and Bar is a new player on the Westport scene, but unlike most of its neighbors on the block, its emphasis is as much on the food as the drink. Blanc Burger’s orange and white motif is out– the space now has a distinct French cafe flair, with white subway tiles on the walls, Parisian fixtures and classic black and white floor tiles. Dark wood and mirrors complete the look.
The menu has been planned to complement the decor. Casual fare, something for everyone at any time of day. The choices are the same at lunch or dinner and range from salads and sandwiches to heartier bistro fare. The seared tuna nicoise was light and cooked to a satisfying medium rare. The roasted beet, goat cheese and arugula salad was resplendent with fresh and incredibly sweet beets. Hamburgers, steak sandwiches, green pea ravioli and even grilled octopus are other light options.
Steak frite, roast chicken, pasta champignons, slow cooked pork shoulder and roasted char round out the choices. The French fries don’t live up to their heritage (too bad Blanc Burger didn’t leave its recipe behind) but the steak was cooked exactly as ordered. The chicken was moist and flavorful and I liked having arugula salad on the plate to eat with it, in addition to some rather rich potatoes.
Don’t miss the profiteroles, whether or not you think you have room for dessert. The pastry is light, ice cream rather than custard fills the middle, and the drizzled dark chocolate sauce is spoon-licking good.
When winter arrives, the owner explained to our table that he expects to expand the menu. Beef bourguignon, coq au vin and other traditional dishes are natural additions at that time of year.
Though there’s an emphasis on the food side of the equation, the owners haven’t ignored the drink side. They brought in Ryan Maybee, bartender extraordinaire, to devise the cocktail list and, while he works on a new home for his shuttered Manifesto bar, he can often be found mixing drinks here.
Westport Cafe and Bar is unlike most restaurants in Westport. It’s upscale, food-focused and though it can be loud when the restaurant is full, it is not trying to be party central.Though twenty-somethings may occupy the bar stools, the over-thirty crowd will certainly be drawn to the attractive, friendly ambiance and pleasant cuisine.