Alice Eats: St. Paul Street Gastrogrub | Bite Club
Pin It
Favorite

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Alice Eats: St. Paul Street Gastrogrub

Posted By on Tue, Aug 4, 2015 at 8:29 AM

click to enlarge ALICE LEVITT
  • Alice Levitt
This is my first "Alice Eats" after 12 weeks off promoting and recovering from writing my new book, Vermont: An Explorer's Guide. I'm not telling you this to gloat or self-promote. I'm merely pointing out that I'm well rested and in a great mood.

Despite that, this is not going to be an upbeat review. I had high hopes for St. Paul Street Gastrogrub. I've never had a bad meal at its more upscale South Burlington sister restaurant, Wooden Spoon Bistro, so I was confident this meal would naturally follow suit. The menu was appealing. But, with little exception, the pub grub fell flat in execution.

click to enlarge ALICE LEVITT
  • Alice Levitt
The one positive anomaly was a slate board artfully bedecked with an arc of grilled-to-order crostini. They were primed for a spread of fried cheese. And not just any mozzarella or cheddar curds. Perched on the corner of the slate, a fat wedge of Brie waited to ooze forth ($11). There weren't enough crostini for all the truffle-oil-drizzled cheese, but our pleasantly chatty server had the kitchen fire us up some extra. Cranberry chutney added a smack of sweet-and-sour to the crisp, oozy cheese. My other half enjoyed pairing it with a 14th Star Brewing Co. Maple Breakfast Stout, which gave the fromage a roasty, nutty edge.
click to enlarge ALICE LEVITT
  • Alice Levitt
That first bite was promising, but our impression quickly went south. A hand-dipped corn dog ($2) was not only not crisp, but was oddly moist, like an undercooked pancake.
click to enlarge ALICE LEVITT
  • Alice Levitt
Barbecue pulled-pork sliders ($9) turned out to share more with cha siu pork than 'cue from the American South. Sweet Chinese red pork walks a fine line between sugary love and saccharine overkill. This meat was closer to the flavor of a melted lollipop than a savory sandwich.

Perhaps if it had been stuffed into a fluffy, steamed bao, it wouldn't have been so overpowering. But with nothing but a few shreds of slaw and a couple of slider buns between me and diabetic shock, the sammies were just unpleasant. At least they were accompanied by a pile of crisp fries. I took the $2 upcharge to try the truffle version. The earthy taste was nice enough, if subtle, but the fries were also encumbered by a blizzard of powdery Parmesan.
click to enlarge ALICE LEVITT
  • Alice Levitt
The item I had most looked forward to proved to be the most disappointing. I've enjoyed some stellar tacos at the Wooden Spoon. The mahi ones I was served at Gastrogrub were lukewarm, wet and low on flavor. A hint of chipotle aioli was nice, but black beans, tomato, lettuce shreds and a few pieces of pineapple made for an otherwise uninspiring filling. Even worse was my friend's Buffalo tofu taco — composed of a couple of pieces of suspiciously sweet fried tofu with Buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing, a few strands of apple slaw and a shower of low-quality shredded cheddar.

Sure, the outdoor seating was a pleasure for people watching, and we were well protected from bugs by a citronella candle. The local brews flowed into glass after glass. But when it came to the Gastrgrub itself, I was mostly reminded that too much of a good thing isn't always wonderful.

Alice Eats is a weekly blog feature devoted to reviewing restaurants where diners can get a meal for two for less than $45. Got a restaurant you'd love to see featured? Send it to alice@sevendaysvt.com. 



Tags: , , , , , , ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It
Favorite

Related Locations

About The Author

Alice Levitt

Alice Levitt

Bio:
AAN award-winning food writer Alice Levitt is a fan of the exotic, the excellent and automats. She wrote for Seven Days 2007-2015.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Latest in Bite Club

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2017 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation