Hot Spot: Water Street
Fresh American fare fused with organic cocktails is the recipe for a new Maplewood hotspot.
The brother-sister duo at Maplewood’s new Water Street has created a destination for both foodies and the cocktail-centric. With the amiable Gabe Kveton behind the bar concocting organic, ingredient-driven cocktails and his food-focused sister Maria helming the open kitchen, Water Street is effortlessly chic and cool—a fitting new addition to the neighborhood’s restaurant scene.
The space is undeniably modern, but flirts with a vintage feel à la retro décor pieces. Floor-to-ceiling mirrors give the small dining room and bar a spacious feel, even though the area itself is fairly intimate. On a busy Friday evening, the low hum of a full house and the soft lighting create a warm and glowing experience. A cozy and delightful little lounge sits at a corner window for waiting diners.
It’s clear that Water Street is a cocktail bar with well-chosen spirits, beer and wine dominating the menu. Kveton’s cocktail menu is simple, starting with the ingredients. He uses fresh organic citrus in all options, including a refreshingly light and sweet Honey Bee, made with rum and Missouri honey with a touch of lemon. My friend’s Pomegranate was a nice contrast, thanks to its blend of vodka, cointreau and POM juice. And the Hemingway daiquiri is not literal interpretation, but a more tart and juicy take that calls for rum, Maraschino liqueur and a blend of lime and grapefruit juices. Beers feature a well-rounded selection, including an Urban Chestnut Winged Nut ale, Schlafly Hefeweizen and Samuel Smith organic ale; wine is available by the glass, as well as by both half and full bottles.
While spirits take the cake at Water Street, appropriate attention should paid to the cuisine. The menu is comprised of carefully chosen small plates and entrées—all options equal parts inspired, complex in flavor and seasonally selected. Three deviled eggs topped with sweet pickles and paprika start off the small plates menu, but the bruschetta plate was my favorite during an evening out with friends. The plate is served with three medium-sized, perfectly toasted slices of bread, each with a different topping: creamy artichoke and prosciutto, almond-basil pesto and a tasty gorgonzola topped with honey. The tangy-sweet combination of the latter was my top choice of the three though my dining companions preferred the basil pesto. The spring mix salad was garden-fresh with ample slices of orange, radish, thinly shaved parmesan and a splash of citrus vinaigrette.
The daily flatbread option one evening presented a hearty blend of local sausage, zucchini and parmesan and was enough to share. The polenta is a bowl of bite-size polenta squares, topped with a generous amount of spinach, sauteed mushrooms and shaved parmesan. I would have preferred a higher polenta to vegetables ratio, but its firmer texture was an interesting and enjoyable deviate from the creamier norm. The hearty chicken pot pie I had on my first visit was replaced on the menu with a chicken tortilla salad, served with black beans, feta and spinach and a sweet nectarine and pomegranate salsa. Whether you come for the cocktails, the food or both, one thing’s for sure—you’re in good hands at Water Street.
7268 Manchester Rd.
Small Plates: $4-$9
Hours: Tues.-Thurs., 5pm-9:30pm;
Inside Dish: Editor’s Picks
Tips for a top-notch experience at Water Street.
Polenta with mushrooms and spinach
Brownie butter dessert with berries and house whipped cream
Honey Bee: rum, Missouri honey and lemon
Best Place to Perch:
One of the seats overlooking the open kitchen
Brownie butter dessert with berries and house whipped cream.
Photo credit: Photos by Jennifer Silverberg