Monday, December 22, 2008

Best Grocery Store Dining - Straubs in West County

I work in a rather affluent part of St. Louis, so the grocery stores are a bit nicer than what you might get in another part of the city. Recently, a few new ones have opened and have reintroduced grocery store counter / cafe dining. And why not? They clearly have all ingredients to make food, why not make it and serve it there? Makes sense and makes work lunches quick and good. The Schnucks on Woods Mill & Clayton Rd makes an excellent steak quesadilla, but I will have to give the award for Best Grocery Store Dining to the new Straubs on Clayton Rd & Clarkson. Recently open, it’s a beautiful store. And the wine selection is just amazing for a grocery store, even better than a lot of wine stores, with wines from $8 to $1500 in the reserve section.

This past weekend, after doing a bit of (wine) shopping, I thought I’d stop in to Straubs and really check out their in-store dining options. I was pleased to find that they not only have beer on tap, but wine by the glass, and… can buy a bottle there, at grocery store prices, and drink it there, with no corkage fee. (but don’t forget to tip the bartender!) Glorious!

To top it off, they have Kobe burgers. Now, I’ve never had a Kobe burger, but the Lumiere place sells one for $50, so the $9 one at Straubs seemed like a steal. I ordered it medium rare, topped with smoked Gouda cheese, and went to pick out a wine. We chose the 2005 Jack London Cab, previously tasted at the vertical tasting, got a few more dishes from the food bar/buffet, such as pot roast tips and mashed potatoes (sold per pound) and bellied up to the bar for our gourmet grocery feast. Let me tell you-the burger, was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Best burger I’ve ever had in my life. Part of it was the beef, but just as important to me is the way it was cooked. Perfectly medium rare, which is hard to come by in a burger in the Midwest. Even burger specialty places can’t get it less than medium to medium well. But no, it was cooked perfectly, and just melted in my mouth. Tasted fantastic with the Jack London cab, as did the roast tips.

Just a fantastic trip, really. They have more options than the burger, too many to list, but really, check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

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