The Shaved Duck is soon to be featured on Diners Drive Ins and Dives on the Food Network*. It is busy place now, but I anticipate it will be a destination restaurant once its episode airs sometime in the near future. So, my main piece of advice is to GO. NOW. (But be a bit selective)
*I think Guy Fieri is probably the luckiest man in entertainment. I have a feeling (and have seen things on the interwebs) that indicate that he may be unpleasant to be around. However, I am also very envious of his job. He gets to travel, eat awesome food, and not do much work himself. He’s not making the food! He observes the preparation (and does help a little, I’ll admit), samples, and then says, “That INSERT AWESOME LOCAL DELICACY HERE is MONEY!” Also, I wonder if he truly has eyes in the back of his head, as that seems to be the preferred location of his sunglasses.
Anyway, the whole family went there on Saturday night. The lovely wife and children had spent the day at the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden, while my father-in-law and I watched sports and shopped for RVs.
We met up at 5:30 at the restaurant, and we were told that we would be waiting for a while. This is a downside if you are visiting with children. There’s no real place for them to wait, and there were a couple of times when the lovely children were in the way of servers. However, they gave waters to the kids, and were VERY accommodating when Katie had low blood sugar while we were waiting. (Megan, a friend we met at the St. Louis Food Media Forum, gave her apple slices for free–SUPER COOL!)
Once we were seated, we ordered a couple of appetizers, the Smothered Fries and Walnut and Brown Sugar Bacon. Our server did a fantastic job throughout the evening, and did a masterful job in describing each appetizer. It was upon his detailed description of the bacon that we decided to order that particular appetizer.
BACON PERFECTED. That is the only way I can describe the Walnut and Brown Sugar Bacon. The bacon was cut in thick strips, with a glaze of brown sugar that still had its crunchy texture. We placed small pieces on thinly sliced pears and enjoyed the sweet-salty-sweet-crunchy combo. However, I liked the bacon best alone with a chunk of bleu cheese on top. We savored each bite of this marvelous appetizer. At this point, we all agreed it would be worth coming back for the bacon alone.
The smothered fries were fantastic as well. Real, house made fries, topped with a marvelous white cheese sauce and chunks of smoked pork. It was great, and the whole table had a few fries. I will say, I wish there was more pork on the fries, but the kids really loved this one.
One thing I really like is when a meal is timed well. Our appetizers were finished, and within a couple of minutes, our entrees arrived. I had the smoked meatloaf, which is served with a root-beer glaze. The meatloaf had a very firm consistency, with a nice blend of spices. I felt that it was a bit on the dry side, but the root beer glaze was a nice accompaniment, and really gave the meatloaf a home-cooked feel.
My father-in-law had a half rack of St. Louis ribs. They were perfect. Well smoked, well seasoned, and I enjoyed dipping them in the habenero barbecue sauce at the table. Sarah had a beef brisket and smoked mozzarella flatbread. It came on a board chopped into individual pieces. We both agreed that this was not the best dish. We found that it had very little flavor, and the flatbread was more like a cracker than a flatbread. My daughter Katie, being a fine midwestern girl, had a pulled pork sandwich and devoured it quickly. She really loved it.
The thing that struck all of us, however, were the sides. They were all AMAZING. I LOVED the mac and cheese that came with my meatloaf. It had the same cheese sauce as the fries, and was perfect. My sister-in-law had caramelized onion mashed potatoes, which were amazing. The biggest winner at the table, however, was the cornbread. It was served in a small iron skillet, and came with a side of honey butter. I think if I went back, I would just ask for bacon, cornbread and that honey butter. My arteries would be sad, but the rest of me would be oh so happy.
Overall, we left very satisfied customers. So, if you find yourself near south city in the near future, check out The Shaved Duck before the rest of America finds this hidden treasure.