Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dressels' pub

About a week ago, my wife and I went with another couple to Dressel's Public House.  The other husband we went with, has been there many, many times.  His main thought about the location, was that half of the items are good and the other half are bad.  I thought he was just being a pessimist but, his thoughts and ideas were correct as about half of the items we ordered were good and the other half could have been skipped.

We stood and waited for a table, after I had made contact with someone from the email on their website.  I sometimes call and sometimes use opentable to see how they respond to my reservation request.  This time, they did horrible with the email request.  I did get someone to respond and they confirmed the day and time and I thought I was ready, but then when we arrived, there was no reservation in my name at all and we had to wait 15 minutes for a table.  The inside was covered with signs and memorabilia about Scotland.  The pub was originally opened in 1980 and was opened to let people have a place to relax and feel comfortable in the art and literary area.  There are autographed magazines and playbills and all sorts of things from Jon Dressel, who is a respected poet dealing with subject matter from Wales, although he was born and raised here in St. Louis.  His son, Ben, runs the pub now and has moved it in the direction of the farm-to-table and seasonal food approach.  But, all of that doesn't mean anything if the food isn't that good.

We started off with some starters, so we could get a good feel of the food here.  We ordered the Homemade Potato Chips with the added Rarebit.  What we had received was burnt chips and a tiny portion of $2 cheese.  For $6 of chips that were supposed to be cooked to order, our luke warm burnt chips were not what we had expected.

Properly cooked chips are not supposed to be brown, but lightly browned.  I think of the chips they serve at John D. McGuirks or even the ones in this bag from Lays.  Chips are lightly colored as you only fry them long enough to cook them, not kill them.  You know, started off with burnt chips isn't a great way to impress me.  I give these a 2 out of 5.  I will not be ordering chips again from them.

We had also ordered the House Banger Plate, which in this case was a blue corn pancake with a breakfast pork sausage and fried egg.
It was good: the pork sausage was perfectly spiced and perfectly cooked.  The egg was right as well and that pancake was heavy and dense and very flavorful.  The whole thing was as much of a success as the first one was as much of a failure, which was a lot.  I would give this one alone a 4 out of 5.  In fact, if I came again, I'd order 3 of these just for myself.

Again, on this side of the spectrum, the two wives present, happily ate the Mussels.  They said that these mussels were perfectly cooked and perfectly flavored so that the broth was worth taking the time to soak up with the rock hard garlic bread.  Everyone loved them and a 4 out of 5 for mussels was given.

So then, it comes to my main plate and I get ballsy.  First of all, I'm not a cheese guy.  I don't sit around trying and tasting all sorts of cheeses.  I don't like the pungent scents and flavors that go with cheeses.  I ate some white and mild cheeses on pizza and will let go with some provel or mozarella but I will not eat cheeses on a sandwich or burger.  So, anyway, what made Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives so happy was the Porchetta "Louie".  So, this sandwich is supposed to some herb roasted pork, rapini and peppercini on it.  So, I start to eat and eat and it tastes good at first.  If I had only had two bites, like Andrew Zimmerman, and stopped there, this would have been a 4 out of 5 stars for me.  The problem, was that it was so heavily peppered, that by the 4th or 5th bite, I was sensing heat and by the 8th or 9th bite, I was using my Guinness to wash the sandwich taste down.  And it was salty, like salt-lick salty.  The sandwich was bad and it was getting worse with every bite.  I didn't even finish it and I was starving at this point.  I gave this sandwich a simple 2 out of 5 stars. 

So, then, I get a choice of a side and I am suggested that I take the baked beans and so I take them.  They arrive with my sandwich and I am happy.  The others at my table and I all take a fork-full of the beans and...we all had mixed reviews.  Half of us had beans which were over cooked, in that they were mushy.  The other half of us had undercooked beans which were almost crunchy.  There was no huge pieces of bacon fat or brown sugar syrup slathered in and instead was a simple tomato tasting sauce with undercooked and overcooked beans.  A 2 out of 5 for me.

Overall, there were some hits and some misses.  It seems that if this is a restaurant where great thing happen, the one who does them was off and his sub just didn't care.  The chips really started it all for me because I am one of those guys that if the chips are really really good, I'll find an excuse to come and sit, drink and eat chips.  But when you fail at making potato chips, I wonder how good you can do anything else.

Dressel's Public House on Urbanspoon

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