by Mabel Suen
Unlike Adam Frager and TJ Vytlacil's critically-acclaimed Blood & Sand (1500 St. Charles Street; 314-241-7263), Death in the Afternoon (808 Chestnut Street; 314-621-3236) -- the latest venture from the duo -- does not require a membership. Luckily for the rest of us, it doesn't even require a reservation.
The lunch-only restaurant, named after a classic cocktail invented by Ernest Hemingway, opened on June 9 in the downtown Citygarden, serving a full menu of snacks, soups, sandwiches, salads and more. The new concept fills the glass-box building formerly occupied by Joe's Chili Bowl and strives to offer a menu befitting of the stellar scenery.
Set in front of a cityscape backdrop, the space is located a stone's throw away from the sculpture park where children splash around happily in fountains. The sounds of summertime get muted, however, by an oasis of guardian statues in the shapes of abstract creatures and a veil of lush greenery.
Inside, the vibe is clean and contemporary -- not too high brow for a casual lunch. Accents for the room include a brightly colored cactus on each table and royal-blue dinner napkins with matching logoed tumblers.
The menu, headed up by Blood & Sand executive chef Nick Martinkovic, takes a decidedly heavy-handed Asian influence with options including Japanese steamed buns, ramen, and Vietnamese grilled beef salad at the forefront of their respective categories.
That said, the varied options certainly dabble in all kinds of cuisines -- everything from falafel and Italian sandwiches to cheeseburgers and smashed, fried fingerling potatoes (note: these guys are pretty good with spuds). And the price point? Items start at $5, up to $21.
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