St. Louis is known for gooey butter cake, toasted ravioli, and… pork steak – a dish I’d never heard of until moving to St. Louis. I would have thought that pork and steak come from two different animals, right? How can they be one and the same? Also known as pork blade steak, it is cut from the shoulder of the pig and is a staple in the St. Louis barbecue scene. It’s a must-eat dish at Schlafly’s Bottleworks.
Schlafly’s Bottleworks is an upscale restaurant brewery with traditional American cuisine. With three distinct dining areas, there’s a place for everyone. The sports bar area, dimly lit patio, and traditional inside dining area all offer different experiences. We chose to take advantage of the warm St. Louis weather, so the patio it was. Drinks were first, and as I am not yet 21, I chose to go with St. Louis’ famous Fitz’s rootbeer. The adults that accompanied me ordered the seasonal pumpkin ale and the dry cider. There were positive reviews all around, including compliments on the bitterness levels and overall flavorful and seasonal tasting options.
We began with baked goat cheese and marinara dip. Taking a bite of the creamy goodness that is toasted bread drowned in velvety goat cheese was a moment that I was sad to leave behind once the dip was all gone. Now, on to the entrees. Anytime mac and cheese is offered on a menu I know that if I don’t order it I will be disappointed with myself. When the mac and cheese in question includes truffle oil and a topping of breadcrumbs, it’s a done deal. My companions go for the cranberry chutney turkey burger and the traditional pork steak.
My face reflects a look of delight and hunger when I catch sight of my perfectly cheesy mac. The breadcrumbs are flawlessly browned and I can’t wait to dig in. I close my eyes as I take my bite, savoring the milky, al dente pasta. I have very high expectations of mac and cheese, and am often disappointed in the dish, but Schlafly’s mac exceeds my standards. If you are looking for comfort food to get you through a rough day or a reward for a job well done, order the mac and cheese and savor its deliciousness.
Interested and a bit wary, I take a taste of the pork steak. Tender, tangy, and fatty are the first words that come to mind as I sample my first piece. Meat fattiness ratio is really a personal opinion; some people hate the fat and cut it off all of their meat and others can’t have steak or pork without it. Pork steak is a bit of an acquired taste, but I definitely went back for seconds and enjoyed it more with every bite. The combination of the pork steak with the potato salad and baked beans made me understand why St. Louis is known for its barbecue, and made me want to continue on my adventure of getting to know pork steak and the rest of the St. Louis food scene.
I am always up for a turkey burger, which serves as a lighter, less meaty stand-in for the traditional hamburger. Melted brie, rich aioli, and sour cranberry chutney give the meal more pizzazz and turn a simple burger into a fancy supper. For a side dish you can choose from such options as fries, sweet potato fries, and soup of the day, but we went with fresh applesauce. Despite its slightly unappetizing green color, the applesauce was thick and satisfyingly homemade. It was heavy in flavor, not too sweet, and made for a nice palate refresher with the turkey burger.
Schlafly’s Bottleworks is a unique St. Louis experience. The brewery stands just off Route 66 and makes for a meal full of comfort and brews. The pork steak is a must try, and if you want to make a day of it, the brewery offers free tours every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There is also plenty of merchandise for sale including t-shirts, growlers and, of course, beer.