We hadn’t been to SqWires in a while, and we’d almost forgotten how much we liked the interior. SqWires is housed in a former factory space in Lafayette Square, and many of the industrial accoutrements from days past remain, such as the large ceiling fans and exposed brick and ductwork. The ceilings themselves are at their original height, providing a wide-open, spacious feel. Interesting details abound, from the vintage radios that line parts of the dining room to the deliberately mismatched light fixtures over the bar. Although it wasn’t in action during our visit, there also is a large fireplace in the corner of the dining room, which lends a pub-like air to the space. The weather wasn’t cooperating when we stopped by, but SqWires has a spacious patio dining area out front that provides a nice al fresco dining option.
Much as we liked the vibe of the place, we were there to eat, and the menu offered plenty for us to ponder. The drink menu had a good number of wine and beer options, and we took advantage of the draft beers while we considered our dinner choices. We ordered a 2nd Shift Brewing Hibiscus Wit ($5), a light, floral brew made in New Haven, Mo.
We started with the Sauteed Wild Mushrooms ($11). These meaty fungi came in fresh oregano and cream, broiled with goat cheese, and served with triangles of grilled herb flat bread. The simple combo of mushrooms and goat cheese was tangy and satisfying. We got a really sizable portion, making this a good example of a starter we could have easily turned into a whole meal.
We went the meatless route with our entrees, ordering the Vegetable Lasagna ($14) and the Cresta Di Gallo ($14). The lasagna, sans noodles, featured layers of wild mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, red onion, yellow squash, goat cheese and parmesan, baked in fresh tomato sauce. With all of those delicious veggies and the tangy cheeses, we didn’t miss the pasta one bit. The cresta di gallo consisted of fresh whole-wheat pasta, Ozark Forest wild mushrooms, fresh herbs, chopped tomato, olive oil, roasted garlic, cream and asiago cheese. The flavors, especially the garlic, were front and center in this dish, unlike some mushroom pastas we’ve sampled where the sauce is so ponderous, it hides the flavor of the herbs, as well as the mushrooms.
We finished with the Chocolate Ravioli ($7). This dessert had more in common with an eclair or other dessert pastries than the popular pasta dish: Consisting of a puff pastry fried just long enough to melt the thick chocolate filling, it was served with creme anglaise and a scoop of caramel ice cream. Sweet, simple and satisfying.
For any occasion, SqWires provides the perfect combo of ambience and cuisine.
SqWires, 1415 S. 18th St., 865-3522, sqwires.com.