Just yesterday I had the privilege of dining at a truly amazing restaurant in Edwardsville. I had noticed 1818 Chophouse quite a few times before throughout my travels in Edwardsville, but due to time constraints, there never seemed to be a large enough window of opportunity to stop and try it out. Imagine my happiness when this restaurant was decided upon for a review this past week.
1818 Chophouse is located in the heart of Edwardsville and is easily accessible with ample parking. To a person like me, ease of access and extra parking are very important when visiting a restaurant. I’ve actually visited a few restaurants in the past, and due to the lack of parking, I ultimately decided to dine elsewhere, much to my chagrin as well as my dining companions at the time. This was not the case though, as there were quite a few spots right by the front of the restaurant and traffic was surprisingly light in the vicinity.
My first impression of the restaurant was charming, as the natural lighting coming in paired quite well with the warm muted tones throughout. The waiting area had lovely leather furniture, and there was a glass paneled area to allow patrons to see their food being prepared. We were greeted by a lovely hostess who seated us almost as soon as we came through the door, and she discreetly removed the place settings that we did not need. Everything was so professional and courteous that I already knew I would love the dining experience even before I had a chance to glance over the menu.
Surely enough, when I opened the menu following the brief overview of specials and drinks from our wonderfully polite server by the name of John B., I instantly fell in love with the variety of choices. My dining companion and I came for the seafood that we had heard so much about, but if that wasn’t what was in mind for this lunch, there were plenty of other options, even a few for vegetarians! While I know that most probably assume that because 1818 Chophouse is of the steakhouse variety, that they probably serve that and not much more other than a few sides, this is definitely not the case. There really is a little bit of everything for any palette as well as a lovely variety of appetizers and an extensive wine list.
Because this was a business lunch, wine was not ordered but it was inquired about in terms of what wines paired well with different dishes. Both my companion and I were pleased at just how knowledgeable John was. He was able to offer suggestions for both a future visit or just for dishes that one might make at home. We were informed that sauvignon blanc pairs well with scallops, whereas a Riesling makes a better pairing with a Salmon dish. He went further to offer more pairings and this along with his quick wit and friendliness really added a nice touch to our visit.
After the discussion of pairings, we decided that we were ready to order. I myself chose the Flame Grilled Salmon prepared over a creamy lobster and red pepper risotto with a truffle compound butter and green onions, and a bistro salad to complement. My partner chose the Pan Seared Dayboat Scallops over Cauliflower puree with pancetta braised brussels petals and calvados gastrique as well as a Caesar salad. The salad came first which I liked because sometimes when salads or appetizers are ordered and then brought along with the rest of the meal it has an air of being rushed and I find it very impolite. When the salads were set down and we had a chance to notice how they had been prepared, I was impressed with the array of colors offered with the strawberries, feta cheese and crisp green and purple lettuce.
A short time following the completion of the salads, the entrees were brought and deftly placed with a smile and an inquiry as to whether or not anything else was needed, to which my partner and I declined. The Salmon plate I ordered was a bit larger than expected which was not a disappointment on my end, and it flaked apart with the slightest touch of my fork which I found to be impressive. The risotto and lobster paired beautifully with the truffle butter and green onions and I could not have asked for a nicer lunch experience. My partner seemed to just as happy as I was, taking the time to remark on how well the scallops had been prepared, as well as the nice pairing of the brussels petals and cauliflower puree. During the meal, John B came by to fill our glasses and to once again inquire if we needed anything else. I found his attentiveness to be quite refreshing in the best possible way.
I can honestly say this was one of the nicest meals that I have had in quite a while and I found the entire experience to be lovely. I never wanted for a refill, the restaurant was very clean, the hostess was quite elegant and our server John B. was simply perfect. I would also like to point out that aside from the lovely meal, the atmosphere itself encourages relaxation and you would be hard pressed to end up unhappy at a place like this. I look forward to not only the next time that I will be most assuredly stopping by and enjoying another meal, but also to the next time I have the pleasure of hosting a dinner party and trying out the wonderful wine pairings. Who knows? Hopefully I can impress my own dinner guests with the same level of knowledge and wine pairings that pleasantly surprised me on this exemplary lunch experience.
Author: Jessica Kirk-Gregory