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Posts Tagged ‘Death in the Afternoon’

The Scoop: Death in the Afternoon closes

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

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Citygarden is minus a lunch spot (at least for now) as Death in the Afternoon served its last bowl of ramen on Wednesday, Nov. 23. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, owners TJ Vytlacil and Adam Frager decided not to renew Death in the Afternoon’s lease in order to continue to grow their point of sale software company, Brigade Society, which publicly launched last year.

“We’re choosing to put all our energy into Brigade Society, and we’re doing well,” said Frager. “Knowing we’ll be traveling a lot in the immediate future, it would have been unfair to the staff, guests and Citygarden if we weren’t here to support the restaurant. We never wanted to be absentee owners.”

Unlike Blood & Sand, which Vytlacil and Frager sold earlier this fall, Death in the Afternoon’s building was leased, and the timeline was shorter. It took nearly nine months to close the sale of Blood & Sand.

“Selling a restaurant is a time-consuming process,” said Frager. “Citygarden has been fantastic and a pleasure to work with. When we started there was some skepticism about the location, but that’s never been an issue. We’ve always been profitable, so I hope we’ve proved that the location is not a hindrance but a benefit. We just didn’t have the luxury of time to put it up for sale.”

The restaurant had been open just more than two-and-a-half years, and Frager said will miss the diners and relationships.

“That was the hardest part of the decision,” he said. “Knowing how many friends have supported us in this. But it is out of respect for them that we closed. If there isn’t a strong leadership or ownership presence, then it’s hard to maintain the experience people had come to enjoy.”

 

Related Content
• The Scoop: New owner discusses vision for Blood & Sand

• The Scoop: Blood & Sand owners put downtown bar up for sale

The Scoop: Nick Martinkovic parts ways with Death in the Afternoon, Blood & Sand

The Scoop: Death in the Afternoon to extend hours for evening service

• Power Lunch: Death in the Afternoon

 

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

The Scoop: Blood & Sand owners put downtown bar up for sale

Monday, December 28th, 2015

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Want to own a private bar and dinner club? Blood & Sand co-owners TJ Vytlacil and Adam Frager are putting their members-only bar on the market. The business partners have developed and tested a point-of-sale software program called Brigade POS and are ready to take the product to the open market. Vytlacil said this switch in focus means the duo can no longer dedicate the amount of time necessary to run Blood & Sand.

“We’ve been thinking far in advance,” Vytlacil said. “We wanted to be honest with our membership base.”

That honesty came via an email to Blood & Sand members Dec. 23. “Blood & Sand is not a concept that can function well long-term without ownership being invested in its day-to-day activities,” Vytlacil said in the email. “It would be unfair to our employees who pour their heart into the work they love, and to our members who rightfully expect a superior dining experience.”

While the business and the property are for sale, Vytlacil and Frager do not intend to sell and run. “We will want to be available to the new ownership if they want to help take it to the next level,” he said.

Vytlacil said that the sale of Blood & Sand would not affect its sister restaurant, Death in the Afternoon.

 

 

Trendwatch: What’s on our plate and in our glass right now – Part 1

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

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{Steak tartare at Randolfi’s}

 

1. Put An Egg On It: The Sequel Whites may be the healthy darling of the egg, but yolks are packed with flavor and are perfect for curing with salt and a bit of sugar. Catch them runny on top of steak tartare at Randolfi’s and Truffles, or dried and shaved over a plate of pasta carbonara at Wild Flower. Veritas Gateway to Food and Wine features them frequently on dishes like its avocado gazpacho with crispy pork jowl.

2. Slick Trick Bartenders around town are dropping and shaking oils into cocktails for huge flavor, body and intensity. At Central Table, the What is That, Velvet? daiquiri is shaken with extra-virgin olive oil for a soft, consistent texture. Terry Oliver amps up the orange flavor in Frazer’s Julius Benedict with orange culinary oil, and The Libertine’s Ben Bauer infused olive oil with coriander for his Good Like Goldblum.

3. Baller The great meatball debate rages on: What blend of beef, pork or lamb truly makes the best meatball? We say, throw ’em all out and expand your repertoire. Chef Rob Beasley at Chaumette Winery and Vineyard did just that, adding elk meatballs to his fall menu, served atop romesco sauce with polenta cakes and greens. The kitchen crew at Retreat Gastropub crowns a nest of spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs and yellow tomato jam. In September, Kitchen Kulture’s Michael Miller rolled up a chicken-fennel version along with a veg-friendly chickpea-pimento option at his Thursday Sump lunch. And this summer, Death in the Afternoon dedicated an entire dinner menu to meatballs, serving up three options: traditional spicy pork, a ground turkey and vegan version using quinoa.

-photo by Greg Rannells

Guide to Drinking 2015: Trendwatch – Beer

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

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Grapefruit Brewgeist
This could be the year of the grapefruit. Early warnings surfaced in 2014 with the popular rise of Steigl’s grapefruit-inflected Radler. Not far behind, Leinenkugel and Illusive Traveler debuted sweet-tart grapefruit shandies as an alternative to the traditional lemon. Ballast Point added grapefruit peel to its IPA recipe, creating the Grapefruit Sculpin, and Magic Hat threw parties across the country this summer to celebrate its grapefruit Electric Peel IPA. Pink purée recently found its way into Schlafly’s fermentation tanks, where it was dry-hopped with Citra to create the Dry-Hopped Grapefruit IPA. This powerful fruit even brought together Side Project Brewing’s Cory King with Vermont-based Hill Farmstead Brewery and other breweries to collaborate on an Austrian-inspired citrus beer.

Barrels of Fun
You can find just about anything aged in a bourbon barrel these days. But finding the actual bourbon barrels? That’s trickier. Local breweries are now experimenting with different spirit barrels to coax new flavors from their brews. 2nd Shift’s Steve Crider just bottled his second batch of Hibiscus Wit, aged in neighbor Pinckney Bend’s gin barrels, and has plans to pop some Gose into a tequila barrel soon. Halloween comes early at Excel Brewing, with Bruja, a seasonal Imperial pumpkin ale aged in tequila barrels for up to a year. Side Project Brewing has an Imperial milk stout napping in a barrel that housed rum, and the crew at 4 Hands plans to celebrate the brewery’s fourth anniversary in January 2016 with a wheat wine that’s been aged five months in Caribbean rum barrels.

Pints on the House
Local breweries have long partnered with area restaurants to create custom beers. Now some entrepreneurial restaurants are taking house beers in-house. Last December, Peel Wood Fired Pizza opened its second location in O’Fallon, Illinois with a brewery and a tight portfolio of house brews. Death in the Afternoon will soon pull pints from Upper 90 Brewing, located in DITA’s basement, which is brewing exclusively for the Citygarden eatery. Meanwhile, former brewmaster of Six Rox Brewing Co., Evan Hiatt, will take up the mantle of house brewmaster when Pappo’s Pizzeria opens its third location in the former Six Row home this October.

 

 

Trendwatch: A look at what’s on our plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now (Part 2)

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Don’t miss Part 1 of Trendwatch here.

 

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4. Filipino food at the forefront: The flavors of the Phillippines are gaining traction across the country with big-name chefs like Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao in NYC, Christina Quackenbush of NOLA’s Milkfish and Paul Qui at Qui in Austin, Texas. It’s also finding footing in this town at places like Mandarin House in University City, where Sunday brunch turns into a Filipino fete. Its Kamayan buffet includes dozens of classic dishes with everything from tocino (Filipino-style sweet breakfast bacon) to lechon (roast suckling pig). Settle dinner pangs at Hiro Asian Kitchen Tuesdays and Wednesdays when chef Malou Perez-Nievera (know for her Filipino food blog Skip to Malou) prepares a menu of modern Filipino specials. And if you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon for Filipino fusion by mobile eatery Guerrilla Street Food, tuck in at its new brick-and-mortar restaurant near the corner of Arsenal Street and Grand Boulevard.

 

5. Dressed in meat: It’s no secret that bacon fat gives unctuous oomph to salad dressings, but chefs are picking other proteins to beef up their vinaigrettes. Missed the scallops swimming in chorizo dressing at Cleveland-Heath or the chicken fat vin on the salad lyonnaise at Old Standard? Experience an alt-meat salad dressing with Sidney Street Cafe’s bone marrow vin on its smoked brisket dish, or order the beet salad dressed in a fiery-hot Italian ’nduja vinaigrette at Reeds American Table in Maplewood when it opens later this month.

 

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6. Jewish deli dance: Quit kvetching about a lack of Jewish flavors in St. Louis; there are signs that Jewish noshes are seeing some chef love. Now, you can find house-made pastrami at places like Dalie’s Smokehouse, Bogart’s and Death in the Afternoon (whose exec chef David Rosenfeld also digs into his Jewish roots for inspiration on multiple dishes at sister restaurant Blood & Sand). Then there’s restaurateur Ben Poremba (Elaia, Olio, Old Standard Fried Chicken): The news about his upcoming Jewish deli in Clayton has us salivating for lox and bagels, chopped liver sandwiches, knishes and matzo ball soup. While we’re waiting, if someone would make avant garde Jewish-inflected fare like the octopus “pastrami” at Bâtard in NYC, we’d dance the hora.

 

-photos by Michelle Volansky

Guide to Beer: The Minds Behind the New Pub Grub

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

Drinking a beer is as old as humankind itself, but why relegate it to just your glass? Here, three area chefs changing the way we consume beer.

 

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Adam Guess, chef de cuisine at Death in the Afternoon, is making good use of the restaurant’s collaboration with Upper 90 Brewing Co., tucked away in the basement. “The brewery lends itself to customizing the restaurant’s craft,” said Guess. “What better way to amaze a special party than with a glass of beer made specifically with them in mind?” Watch for Guess’ hearty, whole-grain, German-style Treberbrot bread made with spent grains from the Upper 90 Kölsch.

 

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Hungry beer drinkers are in luck at Perennial Artisan Ales. Pairings come naturally to head chef Brian Moxey, whose eclectic dishes swimmingly complement Perennial’s releases and often include beer as an ingredient. “I’m in love with our Saison de Lis,” Moxey said. “We’re doing a smoked trout tartine right now that I think is delicious with that beer.”

 

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Executive chef Andrew Fair of Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. has scoured vintage cookbooks, magazines and videos to augment the brewery and Biergarten’s European-inflected menus. Never one to waste a good brew, Fair uses it in the food – UCBC Apotheosis and Bushelhead cider recently figured into the kitchen’s house-made sausages, and Zwickel is used to batter brandade beignets. And that marvelous rotating poutine? Whatever’s new on tap at the brewery frequently goes into the pan to make the gravy.

-photos by Elizabeth Maxson

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Lunch Dishes of 2014

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Sauce restaurant critic Byron Kerman knows how precious the lunch hour is. All year, he’s shared the highs and lows of new and venerable lunch joints around St. Louis in Power Lunch. Here, he shares his top five lunch dishes of 2014:

 

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No. 5: Buffalo Blue Burger at Lulu’s Local Eats
Lulu’s sweet potato burger has crunchy panko breading on the outside yielding to a soft, moist interior. The Buffalo Blue version adds vegan “ranch” dressing (made with lemon, cucumber and eggless Vegenaise) and a creamy hot sauce to the thickly formed patty. If you can make a better vegan burger, we’d love to try it.

 

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No. 4: Smoked Brisket at Adam’s Smokehouse
The melt-in-your-mouth brisket is the star of the show at Adam’s, where it’s sliced it thin as deli meat. The reddish trim and smoky taste were rapturous. Only a heretic would put a drop of sauce on it.

 

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No. 3: Buttermilk-Cornmeal Pancakes at Southwest Diner
Southwest Diner’s buttermilk-cornmeal pancakes with buttery-brown edges are done just the way pancakes should be: thin and crispy, not fat and fluffy. Ask for real maple syrup for an extra buck to properly anoint these babies.

 

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No. 2: Hot Pastrami Sandwich at Death in the Afternoon
I’ll just come out and say it: The Hot Pastrami sandwich at Death in the Afternoon is quite possibly the best you will ever put in your mouth. It’s crazy-good, largely because the drippings from the thinly sliced pastrami are collected and mixed into a house-made mustard-mayonnaise sauce. I know what you’re thinking: Mayo and pastrami shouldn’t mix. I didn’t care, and you won’t either.

And my No. 1 dish of the year…

 

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Kung Pao Squid at Joy Luck Buffet
The kung pao squid on Joy Luck Buffet’s secret Szechuan menu requires a good 15 minutes to pick a veritable army of dried Szechuan peppers off the plate. The struggle is worth it; pliant squid and peanuts cavort in a kung pao sauce that, like a well-aged Burgundy, takes the diner to a dark, deep, complex place. As far as I’m concerned, this is the only kung pao in town.

 

-Lulu’s photo by Elizabeth Maxson; Adam’s Smokehouse photo by Jonathan Gayman; Southwest Diner and Death in the Afternoon photos by Elizabeth Jochum; Joy Luck Buffet photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: Chef Nick Martinkovic heads to Palm Beach

Monday, December 15th, 2014

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Nick Martinkovic, former executive chef of Blood & Sand and sister restaurant Death in the Afternoon is on the move again, this time headed south for a fresh start at an art gallery in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Martinkovic will join the team at Emko, a gallery that showcases all styles of art, including culinary. He said the concept combines several artists’ work into one collaborative piece. “When a print artist is showcasing his work, we plan to have him design the background of my menu, for example,” he said, “or a sculptor might sculpt a plate for me to dish on.”

As his time in St. Louis nears its end, Martinkovic said the friendships and insights gained during his time here will stick with him. “I ignorantly thought I’d come to St. Louis and run back to New York in a year,” he said. “I fell in love with St. Louis, though, and stayed as long as I could. But I have this incredible opportunity, and I just need to take it.”

Want to get a taste of Martinkovic’s work before he leaves town? He’s currently lending a hand in the Juniper kitchen through Dec. 31.

Trendwatch: A look at what’s on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now – Part 1

Monday, December 8th, 2014

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1. Fishy Doughnuts: French fritters stuffed with fish and seafood have been washing up on menus all over town. Even if you missed Niche’s smoked trout beignets with sorghum butter and chives, you can still bite into beer-battered brandade beignets of salted cod, potatoes and garlic at Urban Chestnut’s Brewery & Bierhall in The Grove, lobster beignets at Three Flags Tavern and spicy crab beignets at Vin de Set. The classic French market doughnut has never tasted so much like the sea.

2. Top Muffins: What could go better with eggs than a homemade English muffin? You don’t have to head to David Chang’s Momofuku Ko to get a killer house-made version. Restaurants like Death in the Afternoon and Winslow’s Home ditched the bag of Thomas brand rounds and baked their own. Grab a fried egg sandwich at Winslow’s to experience the difference. And any time you eye the sporadically available English muffin at microbakery Comet Coffee, snatch it. Prepare to become an English muffin addict when cafe-bakery Union Loafers opens (“Soon!” promised owner-baker Ted Wilson.). Look for the breakfast staple at the Botanical Heights shop along with a bialy, a Polish roll that’s a cross between an English muffin and a bagel.

3. Forest on the Plate: Cooking with conifer is an art form at René Redzepi’s restaurant, Noma, in Copenhagen, and pine has popped up on plates here at home, too, at places like Sidney Street Cafe, where spruce oil brightened pistachio-encrusted scallops, or Blood & Sand, where they’re grinding toasted juniper berries to season chicharrónes. Also spied at B&S: an Asian pear salad with a buttermilk-juniper sauce and juniper-hemp seed crumble.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of Trendwatch.

 

 

 

 

The Scoop: Nick Martinkovic parts ways with Death in the Afternoon, Blood & Sand

Friday, December 5th, 2014

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{Nick Martinkovic}

 

 

Nick Martinkovic is no longer executive chef for Death in the Afternoon or its sister restaurant Blood & Sand. The change, which occurred in mid-November, sees colleague and chef David Rosenfeld leading the culinary team at both locations.

“We just felt that our vision of how to grow the restaurants in the future were similar but not exact,” explained Adam Frager, who co-owns both restaurants with business partner T.J. Vytlacil. “We realized it would be in both parties’ best interest to part ways at a time when we were at a point of strength and not ignore potential differences that may arise in the future … We are appreciative and grateful for his contributions. He has his own style that was really well received.”

Martinkovic said the separation was an amicable one. “It was a heartfelt separation with tears and everything. It’s better to end it that way than kind of butting heads,” he said.

Martinkovic has made local food headlines since he arrived here in early 2013 from New York City (where he worked at popular pizzeria Roberta’s) to open Central Table Food Hall. He left that post nearly one year ago to take the helm at Blood & Sand. Martinkovic said he is in the process of starting his own venture focused on healthy, in-home cooking classes. “Most likely it will take me outside of St. Louis,” he said. “I’ve loved my time here. All the other chefs I’ve met – I’ll miss everyone like crazy.”

One of those chefs will be David Rosenfeld, whom Martinkovic tapped to come with him from Roberta’s to open Central Table and then join him at Blood & Sand. Rosenfeld said he felt the chef transition was fairly seamless. “The food at Blood & Sand, since I came on in January, has had a lot of my influences, especially since Death in the Afternoon opened, since Nick was over there,” Rosenfeld said.

Rosenfeld hopes to make the menu at Death in the Afternoon a little more static. “It’s confusing for diners how much the menu changes,” he said. “We’ve gotten great reviews for our pastrami sandwiches and for a lot of other things. For a lunch diner, they want consistency. They read about it; they want to eat that. It should be on the menu when they are there.”

Rosenfeld is also gearing up for collaboration with Mike Sinclair and Chris Gaglio, founders of Upper 90 Brewing Co., whose brewing operation is located in Death in the Afternoon’s basement. Earlier this week, The Scoop reported that Death in the Afternoon will add beer tastings and a truncated evening menu in February 2015. Frager said Rosenfeld will be working with Sinclair and Gaglio to craft dishes around specific beers. Upper 90 will commence brewing operations next week with its first beers slated to be released Feb. 1

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