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.
Maybe you could engineer a sandwich more capable of quelling a hangover than the Shack-Which at the Shack Pubgrub (3818 Laclede Avenue; 314-533-7000), but why bother, when the Shack-Which already exists? The sheer size of the thing is overwhelming: two slices of lightly toasted rustic French bread, each by itself the size of a dinner plate (OK, a smallish dinner plate, but still), bracketing a meat of your choice -- and your options are numerous: steak, chicken (grilled, blackened or fried), turkey, pastrami, pulled pork, pork belly, ham, or bacon and egg -- oozing with melted provolone and topped with piquant coleslaw, tomato slices and a heap of crisp, thick-cut french fries.
Yes, you read that right: The fries are part of the sandwich.
But wait. There's more.
You can, if you like, add to your Shack-Which a fried egg, bacon, or double the portion of meat -- or any combination thereof. You can also try "Evan Benn's Death Row Challenge," named after the Miami-bound Post-Dispatch restaurant critic; this Shack-Which contains double the meat and double the toppings (fries included), two eggs and six pieces of bacon on three slices of bread.
I went with the more modest ("modest") pulled-pork Shack-Which. The pork was tender and packed sufficient flavor -- not the smokiness you usually associate with pulled pork, but a succulent and lightly sweet porkitude more akin to carnitas -- to stand out among everything piled atop it.
I wasn't hungover when I visited the Shack-Which, so I was unable to polish off so much sandwich, but I damn sure ate all the pork.
-- Adapted from Ian Froeb's review of the Shack Pubgrub
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)
- Sameem Afghan Restaurant's Muntoo - Local Harvest Cafe & Catering's "Organic Banh Mi" - Sugarfire Smoke House's Beef Brisket - 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