Wednesday, May 16, 2012

home wine kitchen - maplewood, mo
7322 manchester road
maplewood, mo 63143

opened in the summer of 2011 by husband and wife team cassy vires and josh renbarger, home wine kitchen is the newest st. louis restaurant in the seasonal, local, farm-to-table movement. while the belaboring of these buzzwords has grown a little tiresome, i certainly cannot argue with the philosophies behind them, and meals i have had at similar themed restaurants have been mostly successful. 
following a quick and painless car service appointment in creve couer, carrie and i arrived at the maplewood located restaurant around 11:30am on a wednesday to find the restaurant approximately one third full. with instructions to seat ourselves wherever we felt most comfortable. we chose a high top table up front in the window. the small space (50 seats?) has a decidedly rustic feel to it with wood everywhere and the seemingly requisite butcher paper on the tables. with menus and water delivered promptly, our server went over the details of the menu with us, noting that they were currently out of one of the five starters, two of the five entrees, and two of the three desserts. while this didn't leave the best first impression, we took things in stride and placed our order within minutes.
for drinks, home has a nice wine program with all offerings (save for a separate reserve list) being $8 by the glass or $30 for a bottle. with north of thirty choices available in either format, the list is quite interesting, boasting several wines from france and italy. while carrie opted to go the wine route, ordering a glass of riesling, i chose one of the eleven available bottled craft beers. pictured above is the delirium tremens, a strong belgian golden ale from the huyghe brewery. named the best beer in the world at the 2008 world beer championships in chicago, this foamy brew is surprisingly drinkable considering its 8.5% alcohol content, and is great on the palate with notes of fruit and spice.
after reviewing the menu online prior to our arrival, i had planned on starting my meal with the panisse frites, hoping they would conjure up good memories of the chick pea canape i had at eleven madison park in january. but alas, the restaurant had run out, and as such a deviation from my original plan was made. pictured above is the warm vegetable salad, made with arugula, zucchini, red onion, and tossed with browned butter. although i am still interested in trying the frites, this salad was certainly a formidable starter that i enjoyed quite a bit.
carrie's meal began with the daily soup offering, which was sweet onion. introduced to us by our server as nothing like a french onion soup, the onion soup was topped with a parmesan crostini and was particularly creamy.
for my main plate, it had to be the burger. after seeing a photo in one of the local st. louis food publications (sauce? feast?) a few months back, the burger at home wine was instantly added to my 'must try' list. made from missouri grass fed beef, the burger comes topped with bacon, white cheddar, garlic aioli, and a fried egg. cooked to a perfect medium rare and served with a side of awesome house made potato chips, this was the best burger i have ever had in st. louis. a relative bargain at $14, the only criticism i can offer up is that a sturdier bun might have served the burger better, as the light and fluffy one it comes on fell apart a bit too easily.
opting for an entree instead of a sandwich, carrie had the rainbow trout with arugula, browned butter, pecans, and sage for her lunch. although plated with more greens and pecans than probably necessary, the fish was well cooked with crisp skin and a nice flaky interior.
with just one selection currently available for dessert, carrie and i briefly discussed sharing a single order of the shortbread biscuits with jam and goat cheese, but ultimately placed an order for one plate each. topped with a bit of sea salt, the biscuits were served piping hot, and were terrific with the tart goat cheese and sweet fruit jam. in the end, we were glad we each opted for our own order. although i am sure the other two currently unavailable dessert options would have also been good, i have a suspicion that they might not have been as good as the biscuits, possibly rendering the dessert situation a blessing in disguise.

taking everything into consideration, i would rate our lunch at home wine kitchen very highly amongst others we have had in st. louis, with only prime 1000 (where a $25 foie gras appetizer was ordered) sticking out as being better. aside from the stock outs, everything went very well, as the space was attractive, the service was both friendly and prompt, and all of the food was excellent. with that being said, the lunch scene in st. louis isn't exactly booming with amazing choices, and the real test for home wine kitchen for me will be to return for a dinner service to see how it stacks up to some of the cities top tables. regardless of how that turns out, i will certainly be back to home for lunch again specifically to eat that awesome burger.
Home Wine Kitchen on Urbanspoon


  1. I saw your post on St. Louis Food Blogs. You should try Home on a Monday night. Their no menu Monday is an incredible experience. Brunch on the weekends is pretty darn good too! Cheers

  2. hmmm st. louis food blogs? didn't know there was such a thing and certainly had no idea my site was linked from it...interesting. i have heard mixed reviews regarding the no menu monday, but definitely plan to try home for dinner in some capacity.