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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dating in 2014: Small Batch

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Although I'm a bit tardy in posting May's Dating in 2014 challenge, we did make it out on a date last month...I just didn't get around to posting about it right away. I'll be honest, our participation in the challenge this year has been a little bit lackluster. We started off on a high note in January, February we luckily snuck one in the night before Brecken was born, we headed out in March...but with friends, and April was a total copout because the month got away from us! It was time to redeem ourselves this month, although I'll be honest...I was a little bit hesitant to head out on the town for an evening. I know, I know, parents are supposed to be jumping for joy at the thought of a night free of kid duties, but now that I'm back at work full time, I want to be with Brecken whenever I'm not at work! However, I realize how important it is to spend quality one on one time with each other (and our commute to and from work every day doesn't count!), so my friend Sarah graciously came to watch Brecken, and off we went!
Small Batch St. Louis
Our restaurant of choice this month was Small Batch, the newest creation of St. Louis restauranteer David Bailey (owner of a few of our other favorites, including Rooster!). Located in Midtown St. Louis, we immediately fell in love with the decor and ambiance, which manages to feel both airy and industrial. The premise of the place centers around vegetarian cuisine, featuring homemade pasta, and whiskey....lots and lots of whiskey. An interesting pairing, perhaps, but one that completely won us over!
Small Batch St. Louis (View from the 2nd Floor)
After a good fifteen minutes of poring over page after page of whiskey selections, Ryan finally settled on one of the whiskey flights and I went with the server's recommendation and got the Roasty (bourbon, cointreau, benedictine, cold brew coffee, bitters). All of the whiskeys on the menu have a description and we were impressed by how spot on they were. Similarly, our server described my drink as a combo of one of those chocolate oranges and spiked coffee, which might sound odd but totally hit the spot! I've already requested that Ryan attempt this at home!
The Roasty Cocktail
While we decided on food, we were brought an amuse bouche of rolled zucchini with a spicy black bean filling, which ended up being one of my favorite bites of the evening. I think they need to find a way to work this into the regular menu! Having read up on Yelp reviews before our visit, we couldn't resist the plate of Pickles and Ferments to start. Personally I preferred the pickled vegetables (okra, red peppers, and green beans) over the fermented ones (sprouts and cauliflower).
Pickles and Ferments
We decided to split two entrees and though the decision was tough, ended up with the carbonara (a popular choice, according to our server) and the fricasse, a vegetable dish featuring leeks, carrots, turnip, shallot, asparagus, and bell peppers. Though we mentioned we were sharing, we didn't expect them to evenly divide each entree for us, a nice touch! The carbonara, a traditionally rich dish, lived up to its name but without the bacon that's usually present. There was no mistaking that the pasta was freshly made and I would've been happy with a giant bowl of the smoked mushrooms that were included. The fricasse was much lighter, lots of veggies tossed with lemon, and a welcomed contrast to our pasta.
Entrees were fairly large and I never would've been able to finish an entire pasta on my own. Luckily by splitting I saved room for dessert...and though I don't doubt Small Batch's dessert selections are fantastic (Bailey does own the Chocolate Bar, after all!), we couldn't resist running down the street to The Fountain on Locust for Part II of our date. Ice cream cones for us and a brownie sundae to take home to Sarah made for the perfect end to our evening!
Cones at Fountain on Locust
Next time friends are looking for a restaurant recommendation, I'm definitely sending them to Small Batch!
Small Batch on Urbanspoon