by Mabel Suen
The phrase "Pig Candy" shows up a few times on the menu at WildSmoke (12315 Olive Boulevard, Creve Coeur; 314-548-2222), a new restaurant that opened on January 28 and comes from the team behind EdgeWild (550 Chesterfield Center, Chesterfield; 636-532-0550). Diners can order it from the "Starters" section of the menu, where it's described as "pork belly and brown sugar"; alternatively, it comes as a topping on a couple of WildSmoke's "Backyard Favorites."
The "BBQ Sundae" ($8) for instance, features layers of pulled pork, root beer baked beans, "jacked up" mac'n'cheese and slaw finished with barbecue sauce and pig candy. The "Hot'Lanta Chicken & Waffles" ($9) takes the same candied bacon and applies it to crispy waffles and coffee-chili dusted pulled chicken along with chipotle sauce, spicy maple syrup and a fried egg. Needless to say, WildSmoke piles on its offerings with little subtlety, featuring a stacked menu full of nine different smoked meats, corresponding sides and creatively plated combinations of all of the above.
Located in a former Culpepper's, the sheen and the kitsch of the dining room seem so immaculately planned that WildSmoke could easily be mistaken as an already-prolific chain. That's not to say that the space doesn't have a certain charm (cowboy chic?) about it, however. Exposed wood panels make up the interior, while big booths come upholstered with cow-print fabric.
A display case of more than 50 different brands of hot sauce greet patrons at the door, along with an elaborate menu that summons the meat sweats just from a quick glance over the options. First, guests order and pay at the counter. Then, items get delivered to a table of choice along with a fork and hefty steak knife rolled up in a straight-up kitchen towel in case things get a little messy (and they will).
This service style successfully cuts out the middleman, leaving staff attention focused primarily on the bustling, partially-exposed kitchen where employees can be seen grilling entire ears of corn and finishing up plates of hot food. On the other side of the dining room, a bar awaits with a selection of beers on tap and EdgeWild wine by the bottle or glass.
WildSmoke's current hours of operation are Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, check out the WildSmoke website or follow WildSmoke on Facebook.
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