8135 maryland avenue
st. louis, mo 63105
half & half is a recently opened breakfast/lunch/brunch concept from mike randolph of the good pie. located on maryland avenue in clayton, half & half has been on my must try list since i read about it back in may.
after a bit of trouble locating the place (no sign on the actual building), carrie and i walked into half & half at about 10:30am. we were told there would be just a short five minute wait while some tables were being cleared, and handed a pair of menus to browse while we waited. we were promptly seated as promised at a small two top in the middle of the dining area. half & half is a nice clean space with a blue and white theme going on, but could use a bit of art on the wall or some sort of decoration to help liven the restaurant up a bit.
for beverages, carrie simply opted for a glass of orange juice while i went for one of their specially coffees roasted by kaldi's. named quatemala san pedro and noted to have a flavor profile of carmel, cocoa, and berries, this was an interesting brew for sure. i tasted a fair amount of acidity up front which mellowed to a bit of chocolate in the finish.
with several excellent sounding menu items, including pork belly, salmon hash, fried chicken livers, and even a caviar offering, carrie and i had a difficult time narrowing down our choices.
arriving quickly and piping hot, our first bites were an order of doughnuts. dusted generously with powdered sugar, the doughnuts crispy exterior gave way to a perfectly doughy lemon hinted interior. these were gone in mere moments.
being that we drove about forty minutes solely to eat at half & half, we decided to really make it worth our while and ordered three entrees. this became a slight problem due to the small table we were seated at, but with a bit of rearranging we made it work. pictured above is the crispy balsamic braised pork belly with two sunny side up eggs, potatoes, and a peach compote. everything on the plate was very good, with the pork belly cooked properly and characteristically rich and fatty.
as good as the pork belly plate was, the cornbread and chorizo stole the show. served with the same two eggs and potatoes, the spicy chorizo was accented with cilantro and red onion, and was absolutely delicious on its own or mixed with the other items and a dash of tabasco. the cornbread was good, but as a whole, cornbread rarely does much for me, and this was no exception.
last but not least was a huge portion of brioche french toast with blackberries and mascarpone. this was another huge success with the rich brioche toast and mascarpone cheese working wonderfully with the tart blackberries.
noting again that all the food was excellent, i will say that the service was lacking a bit. i had to ask for water after waiting about five minutes after our orders were placed, and when our server returned with it he merely set a glass bottle on our table and walked off. not a huge deal, but i felt as though he could have at least poured our first glasses for us. another minor miscue was our french toast was originally delivered as a standard order sans blackberries and mascarpone. this was quickly rectified and also wasn't a major issue, but still worth mentioning in conjunction with the other errors. finally, my biggest problem was a dirty plate was left to sit on our tiny table for at least five minutes with several servers including our own walking by several times. given that there was barely enough space for our three plates on the table, things would have been much more comfortable had the finished plate have been cleared timely by one of the many servers walking by. i will say that everyone was talked to at half & half was very friendly and pleasant, and there were absolutely no problems at all in that regard.
with the small problems documented, i am truly glad to have half & half in st. louis. with lunch and brunch menus also offered as well as plans for tasting menus at dinner time, i am sure carrie and i will be back to half & half many times in the future.