by Robin Utz
When the Block restaurant, butcher and bar (146 West Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-918-7900) opened in Webster Groves about two weeks ago, Gut Check was pretty excited. It's not too often that a new restaurant opens in Webster Groves, especially one that's also a butcher. We gave it a try last weekend to check out the restaurant and learn the scoop from one of the owners, Lea Doherty.
The Block is the latest restaurant from the del Pietro family; Doherty and her husband own it with her brother Marc del Pietro and his wife, Amy. The four also own Luciano's Trattoria (172 Carondelet Plaza, Clayton; 314-863-9969 or www.lucianostrattoria.com) and Lea says that with the Block, their approach is to "try to do as much local food as possible."
The menu is fairly creative, and our waiter was eager to explain all of the items to us. We decided to try the spinach salad, loaded with strawberries, red grapes, red onion, candied pecans and vinaigrette, and the crispy shrimp off of the appetizer menu, served on cheese grits and topped with a tangy honey-barbecue sauce.
The Block is snuggled in Old Webster and offers patio dining along the street. The interior is dark and sleek, and there's a full view of the kitchen through the bar, which has one large yet unobtrusive television. The restaurant was nearly full with both younger families and older couples enjoying meals together. A butcher case by the front door showcases the current offerings, which will increase in the coming weeks.
The Block is still refining its hours, but currently opens at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closes at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It hopes to introduce lunch hours in the next three to four weeks as well.