Guerrilla Street Food

IMG_1268Last year, Guerrilla Street Food, arguably the city’s most famous food truck, opened a brick-and-mortar location on South Grand, where the Filipino-fusion food is just as fast, tasty, and filling, without customers having to stand out in the elements; under normal circumstances, Bill and Rachael like to try something new each time they visit a restaurant, but at Guerrilla, the couple can’t help themselves—the Flying Pig is so good, they both order it always.

They Split: Fried Lumpia

A little greasy, these humongous spring rolls are stuffed with veggies and accompanied by two dipping sauces (between which we preferred the sweet chili).

Price: $2 apiece

Grade: B

Rachael Ate: Flying Pig

It’s a perfect dish: rice, slow-roasted pork, fried garlic, and a runny one-hour sous vide egg are adorned with three sauces—hoisin, sriracha, and calamansi (Guerrilla’s secret weapon)—then garnished with scallions and sesame seeds.

Price: $8

Grade: A+

Bill Ate: Bigger Flying Pig

All the same great flavors; an even fuller belly.

Price: $10

Grade: A+

3559 Arsenal Street, St. Louis |


Named the best St. Louis restaurant with an attached rock gym, this Lafayette Park spot stepped up its game last year by hiring former Olio & Elaia chef Josh Charles; watching him run the show in the open kitchen offers plenty of entertainment, but the menu—fine dining meets comfort food meets small plates—brought both hits and misses, with mismatched flavors and uneven execution undercutting the obvious potential.

IMG_1253They Split: Arancini Amuse Bouche

The inside of this creamy ball of fried goodness was nice and creamy, atop a cool cilantro cream.

Price: Compliments of the chef

Grade: A-

IMG_1254They Split: Steamed Buns

Pulled pork that tasted like it had been cooked in a Crockpot was stuffed inside thick, spongy dough; no amount of barbecue sauce (supposedly a sambal) was enough to save it, but the accompanying pickles were exceptional.

Price: $6

Grade: B-

IMG_1255They Split: Bay Scallop Crudo

This dish was as delicious as it was simple: Thin slices of apple and scallop were seasoned with ginger and sesame.

Price: $10

Grade: A

IMG_1256Rachael Ate: Pork Chop

The humongous chop was a bit overcooked, but otherwise this was a solid entree, paired with Brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce, which added a bright pop of flavor (dairy-free Rachael subbed in potatoes for the polenta).

Price: $23

Grade: B

IMG_1257Bill Ate: Broccoli

The hunks of pork belly in this side were Bill’s best bite of the night and the radish added color and flavor, but the coldness of the raw broccoli was an odd pairing for the hot meat.

Price: $9

Grade: B

Bill Ate: Fried Chicken

Individually, the components of this dish pleased: A perfect pancake, just like my mom makes, added sweetness; the chicken was juicy, though the breading fell off too easily; and the slaw was sharp and crisp—but because it was all crammed into a bowl, the slaw and pancake mixed to form something that was borderline inedible.

Price: $12

Grade: B

1419 Carroll Street, St. Louis |

Sauce on the Side

Some restaurants, the classic American diner as one example, put every which type of dish on their menus, hoping to appeal to as many tastes as possible, while other eateries, like Sauce on the Side, focus on a single dish, and do it so well you can’t help but like it; Bill fell in love with this place’s oversized (and cleverly named) calzones shortly after it opened, devouring a Which Came First before countless Cardinals games; the restaurant’s winning filling combinations, excellent sauce pairings, and pillowy, buttery dough have won it many more devotees and enabled expansion to Clayton and a larger downtown space, with complete world domination well within reach.

IMG_1205Bill Ate: Which Came First…?

This calzone is filled with pulled chicken, bits of Applewood-smoked bacon, slices of fresh (and spicy) jalapeno, a runny egg, onion, gobs of mozzarella, and smoked chili oil, with a fresh (and spicy [but also kinda cool]) salsa verde on the side.

Price: $10

Grade: A

IMG_1204Rachael Ate: Figgy Piggy

This sweet-and-savory calzone is filled with Applewood-smoked bacon, life-alteringly delicious figs, balsamic onions, and garlic honey oil (dairy-free Rachael passed on all three cheeses), with red sauce on the side.

Price: $10

Grade: A

411 N. Eighth Street, St. Louis, and 7810 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton |

Square One Brewery and Distillery

Among the Powells’ favorite restaurants of all-time is a brewpub in Columbia called Flat Branch, where they had their first date; Square One is the closest approximation that we’ve found in St. Louis, with similarly delicious beer in a variety of enticing styles, similarly elevated-yet-approachable grub, a similarly comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, and best of all, a similarly beautiful patio—there’s no better place to drain a draft as a sunny afternoon turns into a starry night and the troubles of your day melt away.


Bill Drank: Single Malt Scotch Ale

This rich copper-colored beer has the distinctive woody, peaty flavor of scotch, though it’s caramel flavor could be a bit too sweet for some.

Price: $5

Grade: A-


They Split: Beer Pretzels

We like our food served hot, but these things were blistering, still burning our fingers a minutes after arriving at our table; once they cooled down, though, these were perfect, buttery and salty (both side sauces, a grainy mustard and a jalapeno cheese, were worthy companions).

Price: $5

Grade: B+


Bill Ate: Pork Special

A thick, juicy chop was served with grilled bok choy and topped with cranberries and bacon—simple flavors, intelligently combined.

Price: $17

Grade: A


Rachael Ate: Cuban Pulled Pork

Huge hunks of smoked hog, with a sneaky-spicy rub and a “citrus mojo,” are served atop of rice and beans.

Price: $13, plus $1.50 for tortillas

Grade: B

1727 Park Avenue, St. Louis |

Three Flags Tavern

The three flags referenced in the name of this ambitious South City eatery—those of France, Spain, and the United States—all once flew over our fair city on the same day in 1804, which is a neat bit of trivia that in the wrong hands could make for a pretty bizarre restaurant concept (image a hot dog–and–gazpacho crepe), but here, the cuisines in question serve as loose inspiration for a diverse menu that offers, in more ways than one, the best of both (or all three) worlds: The food is fancy, even gourmet, but the atmosphere is casual, approachable; one can spend a lot (see Bill below) or a little (see Rachael below); and with steak and tacos, burgers and oysters, lobster and lamb all on the same menu, if you don’t find something to fit your taste, you’re clearly just too damn picky.


They Split: Rabbit Sausage With Black Bread and Grain Mustard

The sausage and mustard were tasty if a bit bland, and the bread was thick and buttery, but the real star of this plate was the garnish of superb pickled onions and cauliflower.

Price: $13.50

Grade: B


Bill Ate: Ribeye Special

A thick 14-ounce steak, marbled with hunks of rich fat, was impossibly juicy in a red-wine sauce, cooked to a perfect medium rare; the wilted kale on top added a nice bitter earthiness, but the raw tomato slice was a total miss.

Price: $32

Grade: B+


Bill Drank: Hemingway

This fresh, citrusy cocktail combined Plantation rum, grapefruit juice, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, and lime juice.

Price: $10

Grade: A-


Rachael Ate: Mussels

Steamed shells cooked with guanciale (think bacon) and sherry are topped off with shoestring potatoes; it’s delicious but heavier than you might expect, listed with the appetizers but more of an entree.

Price: $12.50

Grade: A


They Split: Fries

Perhaps we weren’t thinking clearly when we ordered this, since Bill’s steak came with its own side of fries and Rachael’s mussels had potatoes, too, but we gladly scarfed down what have to be among the best papas fritas in town, with a house-made ketchup that’s more like salsa.

Price: $3.75

Grade: A

4940 Southwest Avenue, St. Louis |