by Mabel Suen
Before a hot dish filled with fresh pasta hits the table, before a complimentary serving of colorful amuse-bouche and before even having a chance to peruse the menu, guests can feast their eyes on one special thing at Small Batch Whiskey & Fare (3001 Locust Street; 314-494-2174): the room. If there's one thing restaurateur Dave Bailey wows with the most when it comes to his businesses, it's his ability to transform spaces into unique identities for each of his concepts.
In the case of Small Batch, an all-vegetarian restaurant that opened on December 27 in Midtown, hanging globular lanterns and candles on each table warmly illuminate the rehabbed Ford Motor Building's simple but elegant black-and-white color scheme. The seating area -- complete with mezzanine -- and bar are accentuated by framed vintage photographs, white marble tables and Victorian-print walls.
Likely due in part to its winter opening, the restaurant currently only offers dinner service. Arrive at 5 p.m. to a bright space brimming with bright, natural light and watch it transform with the arrival of the moon into a romantic, low-key style room ideal for sipping cocktails and sharing dinner with a veggie-loving companion.
As reported by Gut Check last May, Bailey hopes to "make good food that makes it sort of irreleveant that meat's not at the center of the plate."
These intentions showcase themselves prevalently in Small Batch's menu, which consists of two sections: "small fare" and "fare." Start a meal with options including egg rolls filled with mushroom blend, blue cheese and red wine fig sauce ($7) and "Bread & Jam," ($10) a platter of seven different kinds of rich, flavorful spreads to go with bread.
Entrees include green curry with tofu ($11) and scallion crepes with seasonal vegetables ($11). Other options include several housemade pastas hearty enough to make even the most ravenous omnivore forget that they're missing out on meat: gnocchi ($14) with toasted pine nuts, roasted tomato, arugula and brown butter as well as pappardelle ($14) with mushroom bourguignon.
Small Batch's current hours are Monday through Thursday from 5 to 11 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 5 to 11 p.m. For more information on Small Batch and to see the whole menu, check out the Small Batch website or follow it on Facebook.
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