Egg salad? That gloppy, sulfuric paste people make a few days after Easter in an effort to put the dyed eggs to use before they go off?
That's not how Township Grocer does egg salad. It's not a way to salvage leftovers; it's a reason to boil the eggs in the first place.
There are no bells and whistles. The eggs aren't deviled, truffled, curried, or tea-smoked. This is classic egg salad that lets high-quality ingredients shine. It's served on straightforward sourdough bread with a strong crust, pocked texture, and a mild tang to compliment the delicate flavor of the salad.
Eggs are the star, as they should be. They're fresh and perfectly cooked, with sunny yellow yolks and whites so tender they barely yield to the tooth. Chef Amy Zupanci doesn't pulverize the eggs. Their chunkiness allows for the velvet texture of the yolks to contrast with the smoothness of the whites
The salad's lightly bound. Any dressing blends seamlessly into the eggs, save for a hint of warmth from coarse mustard. Don't expect any egg-saturated bits of celery or pickles to provide crunch. That comes from the layer of sweet baby spinach and pleasantly bitter baby red leaf lettuce layered between the salad and the bread. Like everything else, the greens are at the pinnacle of their freshness, giving the sandwich a solid texture.
Short of having such a sandwich in your grandmother's kitchen, Township Grocer offers the perfect atmosphere for such an American classic, done classically well. Order it at the deli counter at the back of the shop. That is, if it happens to be on the menu that day. Sometimes it's not. Have whatever homemade brew they're serving from the pitcher. Today it was orange pekoe iced tea with peppermint and chamomile. Sitting at a table topped with a mid-century tablecloth in the middle of the shop, egg salad sandwich in hand, feels like having lunch in a beloved memory.
Of course, egg salad's picnic food. Get it to go, drive to Joe Glik Park, and eat it on a bench by the pond while the Canada geese squawk. Give them a look that tells them that, if their eggs tasted so good, you'd eat them, too.
Beginning last year, RFT restaurant critic Ian Froeb counted down -- in no particular order -- 100 of his favorite dishes in St. Louis. Now Gut Check has taken up where he left off. Check back frequently as we detail our 100 favorites, and don't hesitate to send us yours, too, either via the comments thread or at firstname.lastname@example.org.