This week, I visit Hendrick's BBQ (1200 South Main Street, St. Charles; 636-724-8600), the new barbecue restaurant from Gurpreet Padda and Ami Grimes, the team behind Cafe Ventana, Sanctuaria and Diablitos Cantina.
Look: I can tell you that Hendricks BBQ sprawls across 17,000 square feet on two floors. I can tell you that this restaurant along St. Charles' historic Main Street is also slated to be a live-music venue and a moonshine distillery (neither is operational yet), that it seats some 600, that the upper deck of its patio affords a view of the Katy Trail and the parking lots alongside it so sweeping that even the parking lots look majestic. I can tell you all this and more besides, but nothing conveys the sheer size of the place better than the moment when a server sets a slab of baby-back ribs thicker than your own forearm in front of you, and before your perspective can unskew itself, you think, "Is that all?"
It feels odd to call a cuisine as essentially American as barbecue not merely trendy, but glowing-with-radioactivity hot. Yet if you have any doubts, Hendricks BBQ provides the proof as well as the exclamation point. This is no barbecue joint or shack or roadside stand; it's the sort of showy production that in another decade would have been a corporate-clubby steak house or sleek pan-Asian sushi bar.
Visit Gut Check tomorrow to read my review and see Jennifer Silverberg's slideshow of the restaurant.