Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taytro’s Bar and Bistro

343 North Creek Dr.
Festus, Mo

Adam’s choice. Some suggestions you just don’t argue with. We’ve liked it every time we’ve been.
The Place:
Atop the hill near the intersection of Highways A and 61/67. In a shopping center next to a Verizon Wireless store. The place has only been open a year and still looked clean and crisp. It still had that new restaurant smell.
There were no other diners, it was early, the live music wasn’t going to start for three more hours. There were a few patrons at the bar. The hostess, the one that always reminds me of Kirstin Dunst, seated us in the very back, against the wall where the entertainment would be staged later. On the wall behind us were several guitars posing as art. Alongside them was a picture of a lobster, or a large shrimp, or maybe a crawdad, playing an upright bass. It was pretty dark in the back, there were decorative oil lamps on each table, though none of them were lit.
The menus were familiar and simple. I wanted a Po’ Boy, a sandwich, Angel was unsure. We ordered our drinks, tea, sweet tea and Coke. We discussed appetizers a bit. Angel wanted to try the Gator Bites, Adam refused to accept the notion that gator might actually be edible. The drinks were delivered quickly, we shooed away the waitress for a little more time. The tea was heavenly, perfect.
The Food:
Gator Bites
Angel finally decided and we ordered. For appetizers, the aforementioned gator bites, made from the tail meat from an alligator, breaded and fried in little strips. We also got the wings, which by default are fried, then glazed in a honey and butter sauce.  We considered getting an appetizer sampler that had both of these, but at $18 it cost more than two individual appetizers, at $8 and $7 each.
For entrees, I asked for a catfish po’ boy and fries, Angel returned to a favorite, crawfish etouffee, with a salad served with the house poppy seed dressing. Adam asked for more chicken, in po’ boy form, with fries.
As we waited I looked around and noticed the wall-mounted TV’s were showing college football, no one seemed to be paying the games much attention. The sound was muted. Delta blues played in the background, not too loudly though. We chatted about typical things, schedules, plans, each other’s deficiencies, and the latest funny thing we saw on Facebook.
The appetizers arrived, two shallow bowls holding the proteins and in the center, a ramekin of sauce. Ranch dressing for the wings, a remoulade* with the gator. The gator looked like breaded and fried clams, which made me reluctant. I let Angel try one, she nodded and didn’t drop dead or fall into a twitching seizure. I tried one, without the remoulade, to get the real deal. It was denser than chicken, and had a taste only a bit more earthy, maybe a slight seafood taste, but only very slight. If I had been told that this was indeed chicken, just prepared slightly differently, I would not have thought anything of it. The remoulade made it even better. A bit of heat, a bit sweet.
Catfish Po' Boy
Angel and Adam shared the wings, which were declared sweet and crunchy, not hot, though the glaze looked deceptively like other places’ hot wings. I tried a tiny portion and concurred that they were quite good. The gator bites disappeared, as did the grilled toast that accompanied them.
In short time the entrees arrived. The catfish filet on my po’ boy was enormous. I had assumed that they would make the sandwich from small strips, but no, they went for a big fat filet. Knowing I would likely not eat all of it, I cut it in half.
Adam had no such reservations, even though the large chicken filet, like my fish, exceeded the size of the hoagie on which it was served and was glazed the same as the wings.
Crawfish Etouffee
The fish was very moist and quite thick. The fries were lightly seasoned and crispy. Angel ‘yummed’ quite a bit as she dug around the rice and sauce to find every morsel of crawdad  and andouille sausage.
It was pretty quiet as we ate, too busy enjoying to say much. The citrus-chipotle mayo on the sandwiches was a delight. We did talk about a new TV show we had watched. “Boss” Starring Kelsey Grammer on STARZ. Kelsey’s had a bit of a struggle finding a new show since his ‘Cheers’ and ‘Fraisier’ days, but this vehicle, a drama, sets him as a ruthless, corrupt, and quite beloved and feared Chicago mayor. We hadn’t had much hope for it, since his last few sitcom efforts were awful, but the new show was edgy, rough, in-your-face, and his character, though typically intellectual was not at all worried about getting his hands dirty, really, really dirty.
Chicken Po' Boy
Sure enough I was full after finishing only half my sandwich and fries. Angel leaned back and moaned, Adam, though pretty much finished, said little.
I asked them for their opinions:
Angel: “Yummy!”
Adam: “My foot’s asleep.”  Then he added: “Don’t write that down, seriously, do not . . .  I can’t believe you wrote that down.”
“Anything to add to your assessment?” I asked.
“No complaints.”
“So even though your foot’s asleep you have no complaints?”
He glared at me.
“I just report the facts, you don’t want me to quote something silly, then simply don’t say anything silly.” I added.
Seriously though, the meal was great. The price was acceptable, but the appetizers were, in my mind, a bit steep. The total came in at $55 and change, around the same as a sports-bar chain, maybe a little less. The food is very good, it always is. The place is well staffed and friendly. I too have no real complaints. HIGHLY recommended.


*Remoulade: A mayonnaise-based sauce or spread, originally French, often similar to tartar sauce.  Styles vary, I asked and was told that Taytro’s was made with red onions, peppers and maybe a dash of horseradish.

Taytro's Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon

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