What to Eat This Weekend and Where to Eat It: The Tavern Kitchen & Bar



Gut Check tells you what's new and tasty at our favorite restaurants.

Justin Haifley, executive chef of the Tavern Kitchen & Bar in Valley Park - JENNIFER SILVERBERG
  • Jennifer Silverberg
  • Justin Haifley, executive chef of the Tavern Kitchen & Bar in Valley Park

When the Tavern Kitchen & Bar (2961 Dougherty Ferry Road, Valley Park; 636-825-0600) opened in the fall of 2010, more than a few of us dining-scene-observer types were skeptical. A place serving those dishes, charging those prices, in...a strip mall?...in Valley Park?

Once we lowered our eyebrows and turned our noses down and actually tasted the food, however, we stopped doubting. The Tavern has been a welcome addition to the St. Louis restaurant community. This afternoon, we caught up with executive chef Justin Haifley and asked what we should try at the Tavern this weekend.

See Also: - RFT review of the Tavern Kitchen & Bar

"We've been running a special," Haifley tells us. "Crab-encrusted grouper with a lobster nage."

The fish is seared in a pan and then baked in the oven; it's served with butter-braised potatoes. The dish ain't cheap at $42, but sometimes you have to splurge.

When asked what he finds appealing about the dish, Haifley cites the "natural flavors": "You taste the lobster essence, the crab, the way we season them with lemon and herbs."

If you're not able to make it out to the Tavern soon, you might not be out of luck. Haifley says he is considering adding the grouper dish to the regular menu soon.

St. Louis restaurants: Do you have a new dish to share with Gut Check readers? Drop us a line.