by Ian Froeb
The Gut Check One Hundred is our accounting of the 100 dishes in St. Louis that you must eat right now. These are the best dishes at the newest restaurants and the newest dishes at the best restaurants. These are the 100 dishes that define St. Louis dining in 2013. Our list culminates this fall when the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis 2013 names the "Best Dish" of the year.
Sugarfire Smoke House (9200 Olive Boulevard, Suite 114, Olivette; 314-997-2301) can convert even the most hardened brisket skeptic into a believer. Those already wavering in their opposition to a meat so often improperly cooked might give in as soon as they watch a Sugarfire employee slap down an entire brisket, fragrant with woodsmoke, on the cutting board at the head of the ordering line.
Almost as a dare to those who insist that brisket must be sliced thin, the employee then cuts your order to pieces that, while not slabs of meat, are certainly no gossamer wisps of beef. Each piece has weight, yet you can still cut it with the edge of your fork. The cap of fat at the top of each piece elevates its tenderness to the point of lusciousness.
The flavor is beef and smoke, of course, with a definite edge of black peppercorns from the dry rub. If you want to add sauce, Sugarfire offers numerous choices -- too many to sample on a single visit, really. In my experience, the "Texas Hot" (not overly spicy) and the "Coffee BBQ" sauces pair best with the brisket.
Is there a dish that you think belongs among the Gut Check One Hundred 2013? Let us know!
The Gut Check One Hundred 2013 (So Far)
- Mad Tomato's Cavatelli with Spring Lamb Ragù - A Good Man Is Hard to Find's "Pork-n-Beans" - The Kitchen Sink's Corn Fritters - Chop Shop's "El Camino" Roll - Quincy Street Bistro's BLT - Home Wine Kitchen's Fried Chicken - Riverbend Restaurant & Bar's Red Beans and Rice - Fork & Stix's Sai Oua with Naam Prik Nuum
- Gobble Stop Smokehouse's Turkey Tips - Seoul Taco's Burrito - Five Star Burger's Green Chile Cheeseburger - Olio's Octopus Salad - Dressel's Porchetta "Louie" - Cleveland- Heath's Seared Beef Tongue - Cleveland-Heath's Cauliflower Soup - Pastaria's Italian Ramen
- Pi Pizzeria's "Grove" Pizza - Famous Szechuan Pavilion's Spicy Wonton Soup (Novice) or Yu Shan Pork (Advanced) - La Tejana Taqueria's Goat Soup - Hendricks BBQ's Ribs - Sauce on the Side's "Costanza" Calzone - Siete Luminarias' Guanajuato-Style Carnitas - Fork & Stix's Khao Soi