Stop whatever you’re doing! Pick up your phone (or go to Resy.com) and make a reservation to dine at the newly-opened Wright’s Tavern. The “neighborhood steak house,” as owner Matt McGuire labels it. (Matt also owns Louie in DeMun.)
Wright’s Tavern is the fourth of the upscale restaurants at Wydown and S. Haney (Akar, Bistro La Floraison, and Bar Moro—reservations at Tock.com).
Put “Botera Plaza” on Your Map
You can recognize the Clayton intersection by the whimsical statue, the work of Colombian artist Fernando Botero, that accentuates the grassy median. I call the statue “Chubby Man on Chubby Horse Awaiting Traffic Light.”
Reservations Needed? Yes
We lucked out and got a table at Wright’s Tavern at 5:30 last Saturday. It was a little earlier than I preferred, but I felt fortunate to get in at the last minute.
The refurbished space seemed a bit larger than it did in its previous incarnation as I Fratellini. I suspect it’s the open kitchen, table arrangement, and lighting that made for a more spacious feel.
The new name, Wright’s Tavern, honors the architect Henry Wright, who designed some of the local neighborhoods as well as the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park.
The 36-seat restaurant and 4-seat bar might be called diminutive. But nowadays we refer to such space as cozy and sociable. And that it is.
In addition to a hearty welcome, the first thing you notice is the well-choreographed wait staff that moves smoothly about the tables delivering the culinary artistry of Chef Cary McDowell.
Hail Caesar! The Caesar Salad, That Is
A Handsome Plate of Halibut
The plates that passed our table were inspirational. I wanted to try them all. But I finally, settled on the crab cake.
Robin chose the sliced potato-encrusted halibut on a bed of perfectly cooked green beans. You can always count on JC to test the steak offering. In this instance, the sirloin.
The Crabbiest Crab Cakes Around
As to my Blue crab cake. It was well seasoned and, unlike many Midwestern crab cakes, it was heavy on lump crab rather than filler. I would have preferred the remoulade sauce puddled beneath it to have been served as a side to add as desired. I want my crab cake to be naked.
I learned this from the award-winning owner of Faidley’s crab cakes in Baltimore. He said, “Keep it simple when it comes to seasonings and sauces. Let the crab shine through.” Next time, I’ll ask for the sauce on the side.
East Coast Oysters
There are several potato side dishes on the menu: pomme frites, potatoes Dauphinoise, and potatoes puree. I could eat potatoes everyday, so I found this a welcome item. We shared the Dauphinoise version and it was excellent. I also nibbled a few of JC’s fries. Thumbs up!
Sweet on Sourdough Bread
I don’t often bother to mention the free bread offering at a restaurant. But the tavern serves some of the best sourdough bread I’ve ever had. It came with a small bowl of spreadable butter with a drizzle of oil in the middle. Perfect matching.
The “Wedding Cake”
I’d heard so many good things about the desserts, we had to give them a try—though the entrée portions were unusually ample.
I tasted JC’s selection, the so-called Wedding Cake. It looked like the classic dessert, but far out-shown anything I’ve ever had at a wedding reception.
A Childhood Treat Relived
Playing with Your Food
Robin and I were feeling a bit playful, so we shared the humongous Ice Cream Sundae surrounded with tiny condiments, that brought out your inner child. (I didn’t know that Reese’s chocolate/peanut butter cups and M&Ms came in such a petite size.)
We dressed the ice cream with a few of the many offerings—though there was some disagreement as to just which of the tiny condiments should be added—and how many.
Wright’s Tavern: 7624 Wydown Blvd. Open: Mon-Thu 5p-10p; Fri-Sat 5p-1a.