It can be difficult to look beyond all the hype surrounding Mike Mills and his chain of 17th Street Bar & Grill restaurants -- Mills' multiple victories at the Memphis in May "Super Bowl of Swine" barbecue championship, Bon Appétit magazine declaring 17th Street's ribs the country's best -- and see the food on the plate. Are these the best ribs in America? Are they even the best ribs in the St. Louis metro area? I'll leave that argument to others.
Suffice to say, I like them very much: The smoke-infused meat has precisely the right give from the bone and is drizzled, not drowned, with the house's tangy barbecue sauce. Let's just say that they are good enough to bring me 30 minutes out of my way on the spur of moment, which for me, at least, is high praise indeed.
17th Street Bar & Grill
Multiple locations, including
1711 West Highway 50, O'Fallon, Illinois
$15.99/$20.99 (half/full rack, includes two sides)
I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious. Please do not hesitate to share your own favorites via the comments thread.
#96: Kingshighway burger at the Royale
#97: Gyro sandwich at South Grand Gyro Express
#98: Carne asada tacos at El Paisano (Watson Road)
#99: Pretzel bites at Joey B's on the Hill
#100: Hot and sour soup at Shu Feng Restaurant