Sports, baseball and the Saint Louis Cardinals were my first thoughts when I was invited to go to Mike Shannon’s Grill. Looking at it the location from the outside though, those were the last words that came to mind just from first glance. What I initially saw in terms of the restaurant reminded me nothing of baseball, but instead of upscale luncheons and nice boutiques all within walking distance of one another. The outside of Mike Shannon’s is an unassuming brick facade with a simple yet elegant title above, and a gorgeous patio area to the side. I found myself thinking less of sports and more of relaxation as I began walking closer.
Inside the restaurant, I was greeted by gorgeous wood paneling accents and lovely dark blue paint that complimented nicely with the natural light that was flowing through the large windows. As we were greeted by a hostess and led to our table, I couldn’t help but notice the sports memorabilia that lined the walls and lent an air to both the past and present sports figures. It was very nicely decorated without being “loud”. This is to say it was there to be enjoyed, but not to the point where it was being pushed on any of the patrons.
My dining partner and I were seated at a table that overlooked the patio, and before a word was spoken, the other two place settings at our table were swiftly removed and both of our water glasses were filled via a chilled bottle that was left for our convenience. It was all done very politely and professionally, and I was very surprised but far from disappointed. The waiter that came shortly after was dressed very nicely, and I found it to be quite refreshing.
We soon had our orders placed, thanks to our very knowledgeable server, and then took the time to admire our surroundings. There were TVs placed on the walls that offered sports, but they were turned low so as to encourage conversation, and the rustic lighting fixtures were all turned to a lower setting to allow for the daylight to do much of the main lighting.
It didn’t take long for our entrees to be served, which I appreciated immensely especially in this day and age where it seems as though everyone is concerned about getting to the next activity on their agenda as soon as possible. I myself ordered the Surf and Turf which consisted of a flank steak, served over whipped mashed potatoes and topped with calamari that had been prepared in a pepper glaze. I found the calamari to be a bit spicy for my liking, but the whipped potatoes did help to nullify the spice associated with the pepper, and my flank steak which had been cooked to medium rare at my request was spot on in terms of taste and preparation. My partner ordered the Seared Salmon and his dish was served on a bed of sliced butternut squash, sauteed spinach leaves, dried cranberries and pepitas and drizzled with a cranberry glaze. He found the dish to be beautifully presented, but he did note that he found the cranberry glaze to overpower the salmon a bit in terms of flavor. That aside however, we found ourselves thoroughly enjoying the entrees and appreciating the atmosphere that the location offered.
At the conclusion of our meal, the waiter, upon learning it was my birthday, brought over a dessert and served it along with wishes of a wonderful day. I enjoyed the niceness of the gesture as well as the dessert which was presented beautifully with a single candle on top. The dessert itself was a molten brownie that had a serving of ice cream on top and lovely raspberry coulis glaze drizzled across with bits of powdered sugar that had been sprinkled generously throughout. Before the waiter left, he lit the candle and left me to make a wish. Typically singing will accompany a dish that is brought as a birthday treat at most restaurants, but that was not the case in this instance, much to my relief. It was handled very professionally and I found that it only added to the wonderful dining experience and calm atmosphere.
As my partner and I were leaving the restaurant following our exemplary lunch, I couldn’t help but notice a box situated on a table close to the exit. I inquired about it and a very nice hostess informed me that people typically fill out a post card with either their address or someone close to them and drop it into the box and it would arrive at their homes a few short days later as a souvenir. The originality and fun of the idea was not lost on me as I myself took the time to fill out my own postcard before exiting.
Between the relaxed yet upscale atmosphere, the lovely food and the surprise souvenir at the end, this was one lunch that went above and beyond every expectation I had. I truly enjoyed the friendliness of the whole staff and I couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere for dining. I can positively say that even though I myself am not a huge fan of sports, this is one sporting establishment that I can’t wait to come back to.
Author: Jessica Kirk-Gregory