On the Table: 1764 Public House

This is the long-awaited new restaurant from the Gamlin brothers (of Sub Zero and Gamlin Whiskey House fame). Its name is a paean to St. Louis’ beginnings in 1764 and to its French-American heritage. The menu has plenty of New Orleans/Cajun dishes, and what we think of as vintage St. Louis foods (toasted ravioli, soft pretzels, local sausage and gooey butter cake).

It’s got a metropolitan vibe, set amid two sleek, new high-rise condo buildings at Euclid and West Pine. A large bar area dominates, with a smaller dining room banked by full windows looking onto the bustling CWE scene. This is meant to be an upscale pub, and it takes full advantage of the boutique cocktail craze with offerings like Blueberry Daiquiri, Absinthe Frappe and Dusty Negroni to name a few.

There’s a nibbling menu to match, with heavy starters like St. Louis Style Ribs and Sausage Duo platters, or you can opt for a hearty sandwich, pizza or full meal. The House Salad ($8) was big enough to share and was like a gourmet version of the old Pasta House salad: crisp romaine, red onion,  marinated artichoke hearts, sliced black olives and a parmesan-laden red wine vinaigrette—delicious.

Several times a week, happy hour (2 to 6 p.m.) offers two-for-one ‘snacks’ that are worth a stop in. I highly recommend the Cornmeal Catfish Poppers and Paw Paw’s Hush Puppies, each crisp and delicious. The latter has bits of jalapeño that mix very well with the slightly sweet cornbread. The catfish poppers have a delectable crunchy coating that compensates for the bland mealiness of catfish.

The big star of the evening was the Seafood Gumbo ($16), which bested the Jambalaya ($29) by far, and at about half the price. A scrumptious bowlful of goodies—crawfish, shrimp, rice, bell peppers and fried okra so tasty it will convert even hardcore okra haters—is covered in stock, tableside, by the server. It is salty, with a slight bite and flavored with lots of seafood, as well as bell pepper and onion. It comes with some of the best cornbread around, sweet and moist.

The Cast Iron Blackened Redfish ($34) had scrumptious burnt skin covering the tender, sweet white fish. It sat on the most decadent dirty rice I’ve tasted, positively teeming with crisp-burnt bits of pork sausage and sauce meunière (read: tons of butter). Attractive and butter-soaked julienned veggies crowned the dish.

The Jambalaya ($29) had very little of the shrimp and crawfish listed on the menu, and way too much rice. Still, the spicy rice was tasty, and even without the promised seafood, the meats were good: white chicken and some excellent Andouille sausage slices. For sides, we sampled the Tasso Braised Greens ($6), which needed better washing to remove the grit; plus, the large leaves were impossible to eat without using your fingers.

amuse bouche
the scene | Sleek, cosmopolitan and clubby
the chef | Ryan Cooper
the prices | $6-$16 starters, $14-$48 entrees
the favorites | Hush Puppies, Catfish Poppers, Seafood Gumbo, Cast Iron Blackened Redfish

food • ŏ • lō • gy
meunière | A simple ‘miller’s wife’ sauce of browned butter, chopped parsley and lemon
tasso | Referred to as ham, it’s actually not from the hog’s hind leg, but from the shoulder. The meat is slightly fatty and flavorful.
catfish | A bottom feeder that can be found on just about every continent, this is a very mild fish.

39 n. euclid ave. | 314.405.8221

Pictured at top: Mega pretzel board
Photos: Bill Barrett