Why Snax Gastrobar Should Be on Your Culinary Agenda
You may already know sommelier Stanley Browne and his wife Arlene Browne as the couple who developed the elegant Robust Wine Bar, rooted in St. Louis’ historic Webster Groves neighborhood. They’ve since built out another venture, Snax Gastrobar, which has already become a South City staple in the short time since its inception. Offering a relaxed atmosphere, Snax is a welcome sanctuary for those on the hunt for a delicious, thoughtfully prepared meal with local ingredients—without that gnawing feeling of needing to don your Sunday best.
Nestled into the residential Lindenwood Park neighborhood, you can find couples, families, groups large and small and a general cross-section of humanity hailing from all different walks of life at Snax—which is a strong component of what its owners envisioned. Dishes range from $3 to $17, tops, and the menu leans toward approachable classics, made unique with the executive chef Derek Northway’s creative touches. The simple roasted-chicken entree, for example, is not just any roast chicken. This one is a cast-iron-seared chicken breast served over shiitake mushroom and leek-braised beans, with a lemon-garlic pan jus.
It’s the kind of dish with a simplicity that belies the multi-faceted approach to flavor pairings that went in to making it. The description of the shrimp-and-grits dish betrays a similar technique, grounded in marinated shrimp that’s then sautéed with tasso ham, garlic and leeks in a Creole broth over Parmesan grits. Menu favorites also include the garlic Parmesan French fries, tossed with garlic oil, shaved Parmesan and chives, and the reuben sandwich, made with house-cured and smoked pastrami on rye bread with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and “Snax Sauce.”
At this point, it’s also unlikely that the Browne’s would even be capable of opening a restaurant without an exemplary cocktail list, and Snax also delivers on this front. You’ll see classics and creative new combinations on the menu, like the pear margarita or the KC Royale Americano, crafted with J. Rieger & Co. Whiskey made in Kansas City, prosecco, sweet vermouth, bianco romatizzato and Luxardo Maraschino-infused cherry syrup.
Though perhaps the primary indicator of the way Snax has embedded itself into the community is its various offerings that tie in unique food and drink specials, like Sunday Brunch, Taco Tuesdays and Snaxurday Afternoon BBQs. These aren’t just isolated times to gather and enjoy a few tacos or a mimosa; at Snax, these gatherings are an event. They’re the perfect time to get to know the team behind your new favorite neighborhood restaurant, and each one brings out new opportunities for the chef to test out strands of creativity.
For example, a recent Taco Tuesday boasted three different types of tacos: the vegetarian—made with roasted green tomatoes, zucchini with red-cabbage slaw; a traditional roasted steak taco—with cilantro, onion, tomato and Chihuahua cheese; and a wild-card taco—made from jerk chicken with pineapple jam and topped with chives. Pair it with the $5-margarita special, and it’s not hard to see why St. Louis has embraced the Browne’s restaurants so fully.
This post has been brought to you in part by the mentioned organization. Thank you for supporting the companies that keep ALIVE growing. All images courtesy of Snax Gastrobar.