Do you ever get that desire to just close your eyes and wake up feeling like you are somewhere else, just for a little change of pace? This is just the feeling I got when I walked into Urban Chestnut Brewing Company’s newest location in The Grove. The space is reminiscent of craft breweries in Portland and Denver with its laid back atmosphere, large open floor plan, and seating that encourages you to make new friends. Brewing tanks line the back wall of the space and signs mark a path for self-guided tours if you so wish. Don’t show up expecting to catch a game though. In order to encourage conversation, there are no TVs in the entire bierhall. On the Wednesday night that I stopped by, there were people enjoying a drink after work, study groups working on projects, and people playing board games. Whatever your mood or bar scene is, you should feel comfortable coming here to enjoy a beer.
Enough about beer though, we are here to talk food. Two large chalkboard menus line the walls around the kitchen for you to make your selections from. After going up to the counter and placing your order, you are given a pager to let you know when your food is ready. We picked up our tray of food and started with the deviled eggs. I loved the look of serving the three half eggs on a wooden board. These eggs differentiated themselves in that they were made with horseradish and although there weren’t many of them, they were one of my favorite parts of the meal. Next up were the salt cod beignets served with tartar sauce. I was expecting something donut-like but this was more of a fritter in that it was rolled into a ball and fried. They were served in a brown paper bag which ended up very greasy but the outside of the beignets were perfectly crispy and the insides were warm and soft. They were fairly large and filling and although we were served three, I was only able to finish one. Last but not least were the dumplings with Spätzle wild mushrooms, brown butter, herbs, peas, and onions. The dumplings were delicious but I can’t say that the peas added anything but a splash of color to a very brown dish. We definitely needed to cut the dumplings and a plate would have been more efficient than the metal bowl in which they were served. We finished our food but felt like something was still missing so dessert was the obvious solution. I chose the Liege waffles served with a chocolate spread and this was definitely the highlight of our meal. Liege waffles are made with a special yeast dough and sugar which caramelizes making them sweet with a light center and a crisp exterior. It is just too bad that I couldn’t bottle the smell of this yummy dessert.
While the food was decent, the waffles stole the show and I would have left the meal slightly disappointed without them. The beer was great and I am so excited about Urban Chestnut’s new space. It is a great thing for St. Louis’s craft beer scene and I will definitely be back soon.