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Oct 24, 2016
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Grilled: Stuffed Greek Burgers

Friday, September 9th, 2016



Contributor (and Nightlife critic) Matt Berkley knows that grilling season is a year-round event in St. Louis. In his new column, he’s breaking away from the backyard basics and sharing fresh recipes perfect for open fire cooking.


Cheeseburgers are nothing to scoff at. A properly grilled burger is a sublime feast that begs for deep glass of red wine. Such is the case with this burger recipe, which leans on simple, fresh ingredients to do the heavy lifting.

Essentially a gyro in burger form, savory grilled lamb is accentuated by a soft inner layer of feta and a bright juicy fresh tomato-cucumber dressing in this Mediterranean spin on a traditional burger. If you’re leery of using all lamb, which is quite rich and very distinct, feel free to swap half the meat in for more familiar beef. However, don’t dare omit the tomato-cucumber dressing or the yogurt sauce. These burgers are not friendly to ketchup and mustard. They are best enjoyed on top of hot pita bread or served with a heaping side of couscous. And a big glass of red wine certainly wouldn’t hurt either.


Stuffed Greek Burgers
8 servings

2 lbs. ground lamb
½ cup minced red onion
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. traditional feta cheese (crumbled or whole)
Olive oil, for greasing
Tomato-Cucumber Dressing (recipe follows)
Garlic-Lemon Yogurt Sauce (recipe follows)

• Preheat a charcoal or gas grill for medium-high, direct heat.
• In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the lamb, onion, salt and pepper. Divide into 16 thin patties. Create a small well in the center of 8 patties and place a small amount of feta in each well. Cover the cheese with the remaining 8 patties and press around the edges to seal.
• Brush grates with olive oil and grill the burgers 5 minutes. Flip and grill another 5 to 6 minutes. Remove, tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Serve topped with the Tomato-Cucumber Dressing and Garlic-Lemon Yogurt Sauce.


Tomato Cucumber Dressing

2 to 3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt

• In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients.


Garlic-Lemon Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 minced garlic cloves

• In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.


Grilled: Korean Pork Steaks

Thursday, August 11th, 2016



Contributor (and Nightlife critic) Matt Berkley knows that grilling season is a year-round event in St. Louis. In his new column, he’s breaking away from the backyard basics and sharing fresh recipes perfect for open fire cooking.

Fiery hot and savory sweet, Korean barbecue has hit its popularity apex, and pork steak, the versatile workhorse of St. Louis summertime, is particularly well-suited to this flavor profile. Rich notes of garlic, ginger and sweet pear vie for position in a multilayered, comforting dish, which transforms inexpensive meat into a dinner party-worthy main course.

Substituting another firm pear for its Asian cousin is entirely acceptable, but resist the urge to use powdered garlic or ginger. The pork needs to swim in a thick marinade laden with fresh aromatics, fruit and vegetables. The extra effort of peeling, grating and chopping pays off big.

Any amateur can pull this one off. Grab a beer and fire up the grill. A few pork steaks, a handful of fresh ingredients and a roaring flame is all that stands between you and red hot Korean barbecue bliss.


Korean Pork Steaks
5 servings

½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
½ Asian pear, peeled and grated
¼ large white onion, diced
3 green onions, chopped, plus more for garnish
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. mirin rice wine vinegar, divided
2½ Tbsp. grated fresh ginger, divided
2½ Tbsp. sesame oil, divided
3 Tbsp. Sriracha or gochujang, divided
5 ¾- to 1-inch thick pork steaks (bone-in or boneless)
2 Tbsp. ketchup
Cooked white rice, for serving

• In a large bowl, make a marinade by combining ½ cup soy sauce, the pear, white onion, green onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 2 tablespoons ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame oil and 2 tablespoons Sriracha.
• Place the pork steaks in a large shallow baking dish and add the marinade, turning the meat to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, indirect heat*, or preheat a gas grill for medium-high heat.
• In a shallow baking dish, prepare the finishing sauce by combining the ketchup, the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, the remaining 1 tablespoon Sriracha, the remaining ½ tablespoon ginger and the remaining ½ tablespoon sesame oil. Set aside.
• Remove the pork steaks and gently shake to remove excess marinade. Grill steaks over direct heat 15 minutes, flipping every 2 to 3 minutes to avoid over-charring.
• Move the pork steaks to indirect heat (upper tier on a gas grill), cover and cook another 25 minutes, until the meat is no longer red in the center.
• Place the steaks in the finishing sauce and turn to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.
• Remove and serve pork steaks atop white rice and garnished with green onions.

*Fill a large chimney starter halfway with coals. Let the coals burn about 20 minutes, until calm and light gray. Place them on one side of the grill, creating a two-zone fire for direct and indirect cooking.

Readers’ Choice 2016: St. Louis’ Best Boulevard

Friday, July 1st, 2016


With seven Readers’ Choice winners on one street, the Delmar Loop is the tastiest stroll in St. Louis.

Favorite food truck: Seoul Taco
Stuffed to the breaking point with kimchi fried rice, lettuce, cheese, carrots, green onions, sour cream and Seoul sauce, the spicy pork burrito is reason enough for a pilgrimage to the brick and mortar of this Korean barbecue mecca. Throw in a couple pan-fried pot stickers for good measure.

Favorite restaurant to take visitors: Blueberry Hill
This Loop staple serves a ridiculously good, flawlessly charred 7-ounce, 100-percent ground chuck burger. It’s worth the long wait. Stave off hunger pangs with a basket of fried cheddar cheese balls alongside salsa for proper dunking. Order your out-of-towners the fluffy toasted ravioli – some of the best in the city.

Favorite Middle Eastern: Ranoush
Standouts at this traditional Middle Eastern kitchen include the fried kibbe balls and cheese-stuffed grilled pita kalaj starters, along with the succulent grilled beef shawarma wrapped in a warm pita with creamy garlic sauce.

Favorite late-night eats (tie): Peacock Diner
Order the Loop Fling from the breakfast-all-day menu – a sinfully good slinger covered with chorizo gravy. With booze-fueled, Serendipity ice cream-laced milkshakes available well past midnight, it’s little surprise that the Peacock Diner is an after-hours favorite.

Favorite pizza: Pi Pizzeria
Take on Chicago deep-dish pizza at its cornmeal-crusted best in the South Side Classico, a supreme feast of gooey mozzarella, thick mushrooms, savory hunks of Berkshire sausage and crisp green peppers and onion.

Favorite Thai: Fork & Stix
Delve into an overwhelming bowl of khao soi, a rich and satisfying curry noodle soup swimming with soft wonton noodles, crispy yellow noodles and chunks of beef, chicken or tofu. And be sure to make use of the nam prik num, a fiery Thai hot sauce.

Favorite Mexican and favorite late-night eats (tie): Mission Taco Joint
Mission gives Mexico’s (and Baja California’s) darling finger food serious thought. Get the killer Mango-Hop-Anero Shrimp Taco, with 4 Hands Incarnation IPA-battered shrimp and fresh mango in hand-pressed corn tortillas. It begs for a cold sip of cerveza.


-illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan


Guide to Beer 2016: Bold New Brewers

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

St. Louis breweries don’t exactly adhere to reinheitsgebot purity laws or the strict hierarchy of traditional German brewing. Instead, laissez faire experimentation and collaboration have produced as many exciting new brewers as beers. Local favorites like 4 Hands Incarnation IPA and Perennial Suburban Beverage weren’t concocted by owners or brewmasters, but rather these rising talents.




Luke Oldham
Assistant Brewer, 2nd Shift Brewing, New Haven
Areas of interest: The entire process. Though Oldham hasn’t debuted a beer of his own (yet), he has taken on 2nd Shift Brewing’s day-to-day responsibilities (brewing most of its beers) while co-owner and brewmaster Steve Crider focuses on growing the brand.
Praise from the boss: “Luke is truly a go-getter. He’s a person who does exactly what you need him to do with zero problems,” Crider said. “And he’s also a goofball.”




Andy Hille
Brewer, Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis
Beers: Regalia, Stefon and Suburban Beverage
Areas of Interest: “Everything: recipe formulation, experimental styles,” Hille said. When developing recipes, he’s in pursuit of balance. “More like a culinary approach to beer – beers that don’t sway too far one way or another with flavor.”
Praise from the boss: Perennial co-owner Phil Wymore is impressed by Hille’s creativity as much as his skill. “Andy is very freeform and creative,” Wymore said. “And he helps us incorporate a lot of pop culture in our brand.”




Andy Burgio
Lead Brewer, 4 Hands Brewing Co., St. Louis
Beers: Incarnation IPA, Prelude
Areas of interest: Recipe development – especially for sour and barrel-aged beers. He is focused on achieving efficient brewing without compromising on quality.
Praise from the boss: “Andy’s passion is unparalleled,” said Kevin Lemp, 4 Hands owner and founder. “He isn’t satisfied easily, and from an owner’s perspective that is really what you’re looking for – because you don’t want to just put out a product. Andy helps us make sure that we’re putting out the very best beer we can.”




Brandon Stern
Brewer, The Civil Life Brewing Co., St. Louis
Beers: Burton-On-Holt pale ale, Wee Bit Heavy Scotch Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Belgian-Style Table Beer, Belgian-Style Dubbel Ale, Big Belgian-Style Blond Ale
Areas of interest: Recipe development. “Playing around and experimenting with new ingredients – continuing education and research,” Stern said. He is leading Civil Life’s Belgian series, as well as the brewery’s new cask beer program.
Praise from the boss: “He has a lot of skill,” said head brewer Dylan Mosley. “But also, I like (that) he doesn’t always agree with me. He’s not afraid to speak his mind. Brandon is definitely not for hire.”




Jonathan Moxey
Brewer, Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis
Beers: Fête de Nöel Winter Ale, Anniversaria, Dubbel Block, Dealers’ Choice cocktail series beers
Areas of Interest: Barrels and wild yeasts like Brettanomyces. “(But) my main interest is introducing people to the wonderful relationships beer has with food and how well it can work together when you find the correct harmonies and contrasts,” Moxey said. “My brother Brian (Moxey) is the chef here at Perennial, and I really enjoy making beer for his food and encouraging him to make food for my beer.”
Praise from the boss: “Like being a great chef, great brewers need to have a good palate to be able to be critical of a beer and perfect certain elements,” said Perennial co-owner Phil Wymore. “That’s something that Jonathan has in spades, and it makes him a really talented brewer.”


-photos by Greg Rannells


Extra Sauce: Top 5 Cocktails of 2015

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Matt Berkley works some odd hours as Sauce’s Nightlife critic, spending many a late night sipping craft cocktails around St. Louis on a hunt for the very best. Here, Berkley names his top five cocktails of 2015:




5. The Zombie at Taha’a Twisted Tiki
A tangy and tasteful battleground of flavors where Puerto Rican and Jamaican rums duke it out with high-proof Bacardi 151 rum and absinthe, along with fruit juices, bitters and cinnamon syrup for good measure – truly a monster. Ask nicely, and they’ll even serve it up in a cool tiki mug.




4. The Don Johnson at Art Bar St. Louis
This zesty little gin cocktail makes it worth a trip to Cherokee Street. The Don Johnson matches a liberal pour of Ford’s Gin with dry curaçao, Luxardo Sangue Morlacco cherry liqueur and grapefruit bitters.




3. Yellow Brick Road at Tiny Bar
Spicy, sweet and mind-numbingly strong, Tiny Bar’s take on the classic margarita is a refreshing revelation that joins Ocho tequila with Cointreau, fresh lime juice and jalapeno honey.




2. The Old-Fashioned at Anthony’s Bar
An institution within an institution, Anthony’s Old-Fashioned swims with spicy rye and is served up without the fruity flags or over-the-top frills of other bars. This the sort of satisfying cocktail that makes you close your eyes and smile after every sip.




And the No. 1 cocktail of 2015 is… 

The Barrel-Aged Ginger Manhattan at DeMun Oyster Bar

Big O Ginger Liqueur sends this drink into the stratosphere. Expertly mixed with Four Roses bourbon, a splash of Italian vermouth, and Jerry Thomas’ Decanter Bitters, this is a phenomenal, easy-sipping spin on the classic Manhattan.

-Anthony’s Bar and Taha’a Twisted Tiki photos by Jonathan Gayman 

Cooking the Classics: Old-Fashioned

Thursday, November 26th, 2015



A classic Old-Fashioned is the granddaddy of whiskey cocktails. The simple, time-honored trio of whiskey, bitters and sugar is best complemented by the natural sweetness of cherry and fresh orange. Dustin Parres, corporate bar manager at Gamlin Whiskey House, contended that technique makes the Old-Fashioned so special – something often ignored by bartenders who slap the drink together using bottled juices and bland, mass-produced cherries. “If they aren’t breaking out a muddler, you know that they’re doing it wrong,” Parres said. Check out his take on the classic.


Courtesy of Gamlin Whiskey House’s Dustin Parres
1 serving

3 Luxardo maraschino cherries, divided
2 small orange slices, divided
1 Demerara sugar cube
A few dashes Angostura bitters
2 oz. Henry McKenna bottled-in-bond bourbon
½ oz. Dolin Blanc vermouth

• In a pint glass or shaker, muddle together 2 cherries, 1 orange slice, the sugar cube and bitters. Pour in the bourbon and the vermouth. Add a few ice cubes, cover and shake. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into an Old-Fashioned glass, snifter or rocks glass filled with large ice cubes. Garnish with the remaining cherry and orange slice.


-photo by Greg Rannells

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Cocktails of 2014

Saturday, December 27th, 2014
Matt Berkley works some odd hours as Sauce’s Nightlife critic, spending many a late night sipping crafted cocktails around St. Louis on a hunt for the very best. Here, Berkley names his top five cocktails of the 2014:




No. 5:  Sandanista Shot at Sandrina’s
The recipe for the Sandanista Shot reads like it came from a fraternity cookbook. One shot of Jose Cuervo is shaken with lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha and white pepper for this sinus clearing, adrenaline-shooting monster.




No. 4: Tennessee Rose at Salt + Smoke
A whiskey lover’s dream, this smooth-sipping, rye-based, barrel-aged cocktail warms you from the inside out. This revelation of a drink mixes a robust Dickel Rye Whiskey with sweet ginger liquor, Peychaud’s bitters and a dash of St. Germain.





No. 3: Bloody Ghost at Gamlin Whiskey House
Pepper-infused Jacobs Ghost white whiskey adds bite to this spicy masterwork. My exact description from February: “a tall, white-whiskey infused bloody mary that smacks every other bloody I’ve sample hard across the jaw.”





No. 2: Kentucky Mule at The Whiskey Ring
Whether it’s the dead of winter or a scorching summer day, the Whiskey Ring’s classic Kentucky Mule is a refreshing companion. Ginger beer, a heavy dose of bourbon and a splash of lime come together in a mighty copper mug for this treat.


And the No. 1 drink of 2014 is…




Planter’s House Punch at Planter’s House
The rum and cognac in this icy punch give it a sweet boozy kick, while the lime, lemon, grenadine, bitters and dry curacao blend in to a citrusy, complex finish. The only thing that could make you love this easy sipping drink more is the fact that it’s available to order by the bottle.


-Sandrina’s, Salt + Smoke and Whiskey Ring photos by Michelle Volansky; Gamlin Whiskey House and Planter’s House photos Jonathan Gayman


The List: The Rattlesnake King at The Fortune Teller Bar

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.



With a name like The Rattlesnake King, you expect a serious bite. But the only thing dangerous about this citrusy, well-proportioned cocktail is its drinkability. Flavors of orange and apple mingle with smooth W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7-year-old bourbon in this easy-sipping antidote to a long workweek.

The Rattlesnake King
Courtesy of The Fortune Teller Bar’s Kristin Dennis
1 serving

1 oz. W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7-year-old bourbon
¾ oz. Calvados apple brandy
½ oz. Cardamaro amaro
¼ oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
4 to 5 dashes Angostura bitters
Orange peel

• Add all the ingredients except the orange peel to a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake 3 times.
• Strain into a chilled Old-Fashioned glass. Garnish with the orange peel.

2635 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.776.2337, thefortunetellerbar.com

Matt Berkley’s Top 5 Cocktails of 2013

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Matt Berkley works some odd hours as Sauce’s Nightlife critic. In 2013, he spent many a late night] sipping crafted cocktails around St Louis on a hunt for the very best. Here, Berkley names his top five cocktails of the year: 


No. 5: Smoke and Fire from Mission Taco Joint
Hellfire bitters set off hints of peach and serrano syrup in this refreshing, mezcal-laden masterpiece.



No. 4: The Rattlesnake King at The Fortune Teller Bar
Smooth-drinking W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7-year-old bourbon is reinforced with a hit of apple brandy and fresh orange.

No. 3: House Manhattan at Gamlin Whiskey House
Robust oak and sweet vanilla flavors mingle in the Knob Creek Single Barrel whiskey that was handpicked for this standout take on a classic Manhattan.



No. 2: Pimm’s Cup at Bar Les Frères
This easy sipping, warm-weather drink is fashioned with fresh cucumber and sprigs of mint.


And my No. 1 cocktail of 2013 is…



Beetnik Margarita at Atomic Cowboy
Fresh beet juice substitutes for lime juice in this potent little drink. My exact words in September: “Though I’m indifferent to beets, beet juice and actual beatniks, I love this drink. It’s a savory-sweet monster of a cocktail with a surprisingly tangy kick and a healthy wallop of tequila.”

And an honorable mention goes to moonshine cocktails from Hendricks BBQ. Subtle and smooth at first, these white whiskeys cocktails serve delightful a knockout punch of rich flavor.

-Bar Les Frères and Atomic Cowboy photos by Jonathan Gayman



In This Issue: Nightlife – Hiro Asian Kitchen

Thursday, October 10th, 2013



In a time when simplicity, local sourcing and a “less is more” philosophy hold sway over so many bar owners and restaurateurs, it’s hard not to grin at a new establishment bucking all trends and, if anything, erring on the side of ostentation. Inside its chic little address in the nexus of Washington Avenue, the former Smash Bar and Sugar Lounge space has been reborn as Hiro Asian Kitchen. Part Pan-Asian eatery and part after-hours cocktail lounge, this ambitious newcomer is a bastion of excess.

Imagine if Benihana and P.F. Chang’s tied the knot and decorated their new downtown loft. That’s a close approximation to the look of Hiro – tastefully flashy. You can tell the owners threw some serious coin into this futuristic Asian-fusion redesign, which maintains a lively atmosphere throughout the night.

To read what our reviewer thought of this downtown hotspot, click here.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman



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