The second location of The Block debuted earlier this year in the Central West End in the space that was once home to the popular Terrene. After a couple of years idle, it was great to see another restaurant move in and fire up the stoves there; and equally pleasing that The Block was the new tenant, as we've had several fine meals at the original Webster Groves location. Happily, it looks like Marc Del Pietro and his team have successfully replicated that winning formula within the city limits.
The Block's beverage menu featured a small selection of cocktails based on the classics. We opted for a Smokehouse Manhattan ($9) as our pre-prandial tipple. It was made with Bulleit Rye (a personal fave) and was tasty enough, though instead of a traditional rocks glass, it was served in a small wine glass/goblet with a flared rim that made it a bit hard to drink.
The Block is known for its meaty offerings, so to start, we ordered the decadent and delicious Potted Pig ($8). This creamy pork confit is served in a jar alongside some golden grape and raisin mostarda that provides a touch of sweetness, as well as pickled cucumbers and onions to cut through all that unctuous fat and some grilled bread. To balance out the protein, an order of Assorted Breads ($6) did nicely. The basket featured a dinner roll, olive bread, foccaccia and a soft pretzel that could give some other popular bakeries around town a run for their money. Kudos to The Block for keeping its bread program in-house—the fact they do so is indicative of the care taken in the kitchen.
The Block Burger ($11) at the Webster location has been on our list of top area burgers for a while, and the version served in the CWE proudly maintains that tradition of excellence. For those who haven't had the pleasure, the burger is built around an 8-ounce grass-fed beef patty (ours was cooked a rosy rare), topped with white cheddar and served with fries, as well as the same pickles that were included with the Potted Pig. We upgraded our burger to include bacon ($1) and a fried farm egg ($3) on top.
On previous excursions to The Block, we dined primarily on pork dishes; so this time, we decided to give the steak a shot. The Butcher's Cut ($26) on our visit was a 10-ounce grass-fed sirloin; and the chef let the meat do the talking, with delicious results! The steak had minimal seasoning and came out with a beautiful exterior crust. It was served with The Block's own house steak sauce, a sweet and savory concoction that accented this fine cut without overwhelming it. We've had the opportunity to eat at a good many area steakhouses of late, and this sirloin was as good or better than those we sampled on those visits.
House-made is the watchword at The Block, from the breads to the meats and—as it turns out—to the desserts, as well. Their in-house Lemon Blueberry Ice Cream ($5) was a light and delicate combo of flavors that capped off the meal perfectly.
In addition to dinner, The Block recently began lunch service so guests can enjoy their homemade delicacies all day long. Can't wait to drop by for a midday bite!
--The Block, 33 N. Sarah St., 535-5100, theblockrestaurant.com.