by Mabel Suen
The highly anticipated Central Table Food Hall (23 South Euclid Avenue; 314-932-5595) takes up an entire city block. So you can imagine how silly we felt when we unknowingly drove past the 10,000-square-foot space during our first visit before doors opened on May 1. To the unassuming eye, nothing more than a couple of discreet high-flying signs flank either side of the building. Before pulling back the handle of those big glass doors, we suggest you take a few deep breaths and prepare for a bit of sensory overload.
St. Louis' first food hall features a market, coffee shop, wine bar, deli, sushi bar, raw bar, hearth and grill. At any given time, a staff of about 15 chefs (out of a back-of-the house staff of about 37 currently) preps meals for all areas. See this Q&A with developer Walter McClure we did back in January for more details on how the concept came together.
The menu puts a strong emphasis on artisan-quality goods locally sourced whenever possible, so look forward to seeing products from Marcoot Jersey Creamery, Salume Beddu, Claverach Farms and Companion Bread, to name a few.
With such an elaborate haul of of food, how's a hypnotized food-hall visitor supposed to choose? Well, the selection varies depending on what time it is, but this in no way suggests that that the spread is limited. Past that, do as Gut Check does -- in gut we trust!
"Central Table is a dining experience that evolves throughout the day. The cafe is open in the morning with coffee and pastries, and there's a market that's open throughout the day with lunch items to go, beer, wine and a number dry goods," says Rex Oberle, the account executive for Central Table Food Hall via Twist.
"Lunch is set up at the stations," he says. "You can go order and gather with friends and colleagues at your table of choice. At six o'clock, the space is turned into a seated dinner. The menu is made up of items from those different stations."
When asked what inspired the selections for his menus, executive chef Nick Martinkovic says it's a compilation of different things he's done in the past. Some dishes he recommends are steaks including imperial wagyu from Kansas and a braised and a seared octopus dish with caramelized fennel, aerated fennel and tomato water gelee.
The deli includes selections such as a smoked Missouri trout salad ($10.50) with mascarpone, horseradish and potato; housemade tofu ($7) with English pea, almond milk and sesame; and a PB&J ($5) with housemade peanut butter and jam on sourdough.
Choose from a selection of seafood including oysters and littleneck clams from the raw bar, have some wood-fired pizzas ($9 to $11) or buffalo veal sweetbreads ($12) at the hearth, or go for a burger at the grill. Options include a Greek chicken burger ($9) with yogurt, tumeric, mint, cucumber and red onion on flatbread; a house veggie burger with ($7.50) made with black bean, chickpea and red onion compote; or a straight up "The Burger" ($10), also available in a small size for $7.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to work with a bunch of different kinds of food and foods and cuisines under one roof. That, to me, is the most exciting part," says general manager Matt McGuire, formerly of Brasserie. "You can get whatever you're in the mood for here."
Central Table Food Hall opened to the public on Wednesday, May 1, for dinner, cafe and grab-and-go market items. It will be fully operational, serving breakfast, lunch and more, on Monday, May 6. For a full list of offerings, visit the Central Table Food Hall website.
Click ahead for more photos.