Along 1-44 between St. Louis and Rolla, is the town of Cuba, MO. I pass through there a few times each month on my way to the family farm. I remember that in the 60’s there was a sign along the road that read: “Cuba—No Castro!” I suppose it was meant to differentiate the small Midwestern town from the Communist island. The sign came down years ago.
Sometimes our family stops for a bite, when we’re traveling over a mealtime. Most often we eat at Missouri Hick Barbecue, because that suits the taste of most in the car. Besides, their plates of ribs and pulled pork are ample and well-prepared, the service pleasant, the atmosphere rustic and the place clean as a pin.
But recently I read a feature in Feast magazine about The Fourway restaurant in Cuba and its Mediterranean-style menu.
My daughter, granddaughters and I stopped at the remodeled filing station, that was originally built on the corner of a four-way stop. To my surprise, the place was a-buzz with customers.
The Fourway menu was not as extensive as its St. Louis counterparts, but their seasonings were spot on. I ordered the charbroiled lamb burger with feta cheese, tzatzika sauce and fries. The lamb was as juicy and delicious as any I’ve had. The thick, crusty fries had the texture and flavor of those cooked in duck fat. I neglected to inquire if that was the case. With three youngsters in tow, I’m usually asking for extra napkins, or a replacement for dropped dinnerware, or more ketchup.
I had my heart set on the Stuffed Grape Leaves I had read about on line. But those had been dropped from the menu. What!! In the grape-growing region around St. James, you’d think such an item would have had broader appeal. Oh, well. The server, sensing my disappointment, noted that the Flash Fried Brussels Sprouts were a local favorite. One munchy, crunchy bite and I could see why.
Seldom seen on menus was a listing for Avgolemeno soup. This staple of Greek kitchens is made with chicken, rice, lemon, and eggs. Chicken kabobs with rice and pita gave yet another salute to the Mediterranean-style cuisine. For the sweet of tooth, there was an abbreviated dessert list, that included baklava and an ice cream sandwich.
After a year in business, apparently The Fourway has developed a menu with just enough exotic touches to suit their clientele: tzatzika sauce on burgers instead of ketchup; soup with an adventuresome name; and fries noteworthy for size and a crunchy exterior. Even so, I missed the grape leaves. I do hope they consider giving those another chance.
The Four Way, Cuba, MO: 102 W Washington Blvd., Highway I-44 Exit 208, Cuba MO. Open: Wed-Sun 11a-9p.