Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Taytro’s Bar and Bistro II

343 North Creek Drive

Festus MO.
Taytro's on Facebook

I’d taken it easy all day trying to rest this persistent disease away. Angel, once again, was running around doing dog things since early morning. She conducted a class in the morning and after that loaded up Jade, a beautiful and lively American bulldog to the PetSmart in Manchester for their weekly adoption event. Jade’s a great dog, which we are fostering for C.A.R.E. She’s been learning some basic manners while at the house. She’s very good at ‘HOWDY!!’ meaning she really, really loves new people. Angel’s working on making her enthusiastic initial greetings a little more lady-like.
I got up from my medicinal nap just after Angel and Jade got back. No luck finding a home this day, but there was a family that seemed interested, they’ll call. (Sometimes they actually do)
Adam announced that his choice for the meal was Taytro’s, a new place that we lunched at a while back and was on our list for an evening meal.
The Place:
On top of a hill above the intersection of highway A and 61/67. It shares a small strip mall with the ATT store, and a couple of other things, maybe a tanning salon. The lot was crowded for the few businesses that were open. We stepped in and found the people. There were only a couple of tables still empty. It’s not a large place to begin with, it was formerly a small pizza parlor.
The large bar had seats available and the tabled patrons were mostly having Po’ Boys and beer. We’d had their sandwiches last time and were looking forward to something a little more dinner-like. A few extra decorations had been added perhaps in anticipation of the coming Mardis Gras celebration they were advertising.*
If you recall, Taytro’s is New Orleans-themed, the food is of that style, gumbo, jambalaya, etc. The décor is also of that style, save the few paintings on display and for sale. They were of colorful animated individual fish from the movie ‘Finding Nemo’ A pretty good job if I may say so.
We were handed our menus by our perky and pretty waitress. The menus were laminated single sheets. No frills, just a list of offerings.
We were soon served our drinks, tea, tea and Coke.
The Food:
My food decision was based simply on a dish that did not list okra as an ingredient. Then the decision came down to shrimp vs. crawfish as the featured meat. Angel announced she was getting the Crawfish Etoufee, I then opted for the shrimp version of the same. ‘Gator’ was also available, maybe next time. (I’ve heard alligator tastes a lot like crocodile.) Adam asked for the pulled pork sandwich with house-made chips. The etoufee came with bread and a house salad featuring their own famous (should be) sweet poppy seed dressing.
Etoufee (pronounced EH-too-FAY) is similar to, though thicker than gumbo. It is usually a browned roux including celery, onions and peppers, (the holy trinity) spiced with cayenne pepper, white pepper and garlic. It is most commonly served with white rice.
The salads were very good, simple, three forms of leafy greens, a tomato chunk, and some shredded white cheese along with some crispy and fresh croutons. The tea was very good. I suppose they got the hint after my last review. It was clear, almost sparkly, dark and had actual flavor. Fresh-brewed.
For an appetizer we ordered the fried ravioli. This is not a New Orleans thing, it’s a St. Louis creation. If you’re going to open a restaurant in the area this appetizer is simply a requirement. It is ravioli, breaded, deep fried and served with a marinara dipping sauce.
The place was filling up and starting to overflow, the wait between courses increased. Not too bad, but there was time to sit with nothing to eat. By the time our dinners arrived our drinks had been refilled twice.
While waiting, a small group came in and waited at the bar, two ladies, two small boys. The apparent mother of the boys was rail thin, very tall, well groomed, scarf, ironed jeans, fashionable shoes. Her hair was long and deliberately styled to not look styled at all, country club chic. Her small boys ran amok while she looked around in every direction but theirs. I formed a personal opinion about her that was not entirely favorable. Angel had glanced at her as well. “The word ‘princess’ pops to mind.” I said. Angel looked back at her and shrugged her shoulders. “That reminds me” she said “your daughter called.” I didn’t get the connection. This lady was arrogant, narcissistic and obviously spoiled. My daughter is beautiful, sweet and deserving of all the good things life can offer her. No comparison.
The main courses finally arrived, not too intimidating. A shallow bowl/plate filled with a thick brown creamy base with small chunks and whole blackened shrimps. Rising out of the stew in tall, white, rounded mounds was the rice. Sprinkled over the entire plate was finely chopped parsley, little dark spots of the herb had landed at the tip of my two rice piles which gave the mounds a distinct resemblance to a fine, pale, small but perky set of breasts rising out of the bowl. I showed it to Adam, he snickered. I showed it to Angel, she didn’t. I said “Boobies” and she rolled her eyes, which is what she does when I say something incredibly funny.
Angel’s plate included two small, whole crawdads** on one edge. Each plate came with grilled bread which Angel said tasted like the steak that had used the same grill, a very nice touch. There was plenty of shrimp/crawfish, enough to last the entire meal. The roux was a little spicy, just enough to make my nose start running, not enough to blow me out of my chair. The overall taste was excellent, thick, rich and savory. The rice was a little too sticky for my liking, but once broken apart and integrated with the stew it was just fine. There was just enough food that I couldn’t quite finish. Adam made short time of his sandwich; he even shared his home chips (actually we stole some from his plate), they were as good as any potato chip I’ve ever had.
Summary:
This is a great place. The food is delightful, the staff was attentive, though busy. The dedicated bartender who looked just like Blaine (Kurt’s current love interest and leader of ‘The Warblers’) on the TV Show ‘GLEE’ stayed busy and friendly but remained confident. Taytro’s owner strolled through and chatted with some of those waiting to be seated. He seemed content, as well he should, this new place is very, very good. The overall atmosphere was pleasant, nothing too loud or too bright. It is popular though and can crowd up pretty quickly. The bill was reasonable, coming in at forty eight dollars and change, around what we’ve paid at other bar/grills recently, less than similar fare at a chain restaurant. The overall selection is rather small, which is as much a plus as a minus, it’s a very manageable menu.
We highly recommend this place, we will frequent it.

*Taytro’s Mardis Gras celebration! Saturday March 5th starting at 2 P.M. Live music, face painting and ‘games’. PLUS more hurricanes (see previous review) than should be legal.

**Crawdad and crawfish are used interchangeably herein. If you haven’t tried them, you are really missing out. Though related to lobsters the tail meat actually tastes more like crab. It’s a lot of work making a meal out of them with only about a tablespoon of meat per medium sized critter. Louisiana was, as of a few years ago, responsible for 90% of the world’s supply of harvested crawdads, and Louisianans eat about 70% of those themselves. They know a thing or two.

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