With temperatures cresting 90 degrees, comfort food isn't exactly what Gut Check wants for dinner; but in the spirit of St. Pat's Day, it's what we're having. The hearty, stick-to-you-ribs shepherd's pie at Highlander Pub & Grill (5656 Oakland Avenue; 314-644-4646) is a monster plate of ground lamb, carrots, peas, onion and spices marinated in red-wine gravy and served under a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese. It's fine; we weren't ready for shorts season anyway.
The shepherd's pie at the Highlander is one of four "Celtic Specialties" served at the pub along with bangers and mash, steak and Guinness pie, and fish and chips. The rest of the restaurant's menu features typical bar-and-grill fare: deep-fried fascinations, sandwiches and burgers, and a surprisingly lengthy list of pastas and Italian-inspired items. Where the Highlander comes up short in its Irish-inspired eats it more than makes up for it in its beer, whiskey and drink selection, and its large bar and dining area, which combine to create a great location for "celebrating" St. Patrick's Day properly.