Last week, Matt + I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. It’s still so crazy to me to think that we’ve been married for 7 years! It has flown by, but I guess that’s what busy schedules and kiddos do to you.
Instead of getting each other gifts every year, we choose to celebrate with cards and a night out on the town. We usually try to go some place new to us (last year, we went to Milagro which was delicious), so both of us immediately knew that Small Batch was our date this year.
Small Batch opened up earlier this year by renowned St. Louis restaurateur Dave Bailey. Bailey’s restaurants always rank high on my list, although we very rarely get a chance to go to them since they are all located in downtown St. Louis (which is about 40 minutes from home). The premise of Small Batch is whiskey and pasta dishes. The twist is that the entire restaurant is vegetarian. A little whiskey for him, some vegetarian food for her = a very happy couple!
We had scoped out the menu ahead of time, so we already had an idea of what we were going to eat. Of course, the menu had changed slightly from what was online, but that didn’t effect us too much. Matt started off with a small pour of his favorite whiskey brand, Hudsons, while I ordered us some pickles + ferments. I had had the pickles + ferments at Bridge Tap House + Wine Bar back in March and fell in LOVE with them. Plus, this preggo mama wants her pickles, so it was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with the options. We were served green beans, okra, carrots, yellow beets, and pearl onions. I really enjoyed the green beans and okra, the carrots were just OK, and we hardly even touched the beets + onions. The beets tasted like dirt (literally) and the pearl onions tasted like sweat (literally). I felt bad for barely touching half the plate, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for.
Our waitress did come by during our appetizer and brought us the chef tasting of the day, which was a homemade chip with black bean dips and a chipotle sour cream. It. Was. Awesome! I was wishing that was our appetizer instead and that little tiny bite was just a tease…
For dinner, I ordered the gnocchi, which was served with roasted pine nuts, roasted tomato, arugula, and snow peas, and tossed in brown butter with fresh pecorino on top. I absolutely loved the starchiness of the gnocchi – such a good mix of potatoes and dough texture. The roasted tomatoes were also delicious, but I could have done without the arugula, but that is just a personal preference (I don’t like soggy lettuce). It had such a light, summery, lemony flavor – perfect for a hot July day (which it was last week, not so much this week). I ate every last bite.
However, Matt’s was the dish I was really craving. One bite and I was totally blown away and ready to trade him for the night. He ordered the carbonara, which was homemade linguini (love the doughiness of homemade pasta), smoked mushrooms, peas, caramelized onions, roasted cauliflower, and topped with freshly grated pecorino cheese. It was so incredibly rich but absolutely to die for. The mushrooms had such a great smoky flavor and added so much depth to the dish. He only ate half of his dinner (I helped by eating several bites) and I ate the rest for lunch the following day. I’m going back just to get that dish!
I don’t have much to say about the whiskey since I didn’t do any drinking, but Matt was pretty impressed. The whiskey menu is 11 pages long (including wine and beer) and has everything from whiskey cocktails to just plain old whiskey by the glass. Matt’s 3 small pours came with a little bowl of ice as well as some warm water, which he tells me helps bring out the flavor and take away some of the bite of the whiskey. (He’s obviously the whiskey connoisseur, I’ll stick to beer.)
Because Matt had 3 whiskeys, he promised me ice cream for dessert. The desserts on the menu just weren’t speaking to me, so we headed a little farther down the road to another Bailey restaurant, Bailey’s Range. We’ve eaten at Bailey’s Range once and I’ve been dying to go again. Mostly because of the ice cream, but I will say that I had a pretty darn good veggie burger and some delicious fries. But, oh, the ice cream…
This was a small shake, which was much smaller than I was anticipating, but perfect for how full I was from dinner. I got a coconut crunch shake – the same as what I got last time – and it was still absolutely incredible. You really just can’t beat coconut and crunchy chocolate pieces. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful anniversary date with the love of my life!