[image-2]Last week Sean Brock told Eater he was taking his new McCrady’s Tavern (2 Unity Alley) inspiration from the Gilded Age. Yes, my eyes got big at that quote too, but, as he’s revealed today with the release of his menu, the era’s notable excess will apparently begin and end on the plate. Thankfully, McCrady’s Tavern prices are nowhere near Rockefeller levels. In fact, the average entree price — $24 — is well below those at other recently opened spots such as Le Farfalle ($27) and Henrietta’s ($35). But that doesn’t mean his food won’t be decadent.
Brock says his idea with McCrady’s Tavern was to harness the creative spirit of the Gilded Age in so much as it allowed chefs to be wildly imaginative in order to meet the demands of their patrons’ outrageous diets. With that in mind, Brock says he’s tested and tested and tested again the items that make up McCrady’s Tavern menu. And what you see is a list of dishes that were only deemed worthy of inclusion after passing one final exam: “My theory is that a dish is only done when you can’t stop eating it, when you literally can’t control yourself. When it’s that addictive, when you wake up thinking about it and craving it, then the dish is done.”
So what’s Brock craving? According to his McCrady’s Tavern menu, escargot stuffed marrow bones, foie gras and chicken liver parfait, and something called Ladies Cabbage. Now, before you go losing your mind (as I nearly did) over a dish name seemingly designed to make feminists want to throw things, calm down. Brock isn’t getting all NBC Olympics commentator on us. Ladies Cabbage is, in fact, a very old recipe Brock has been fascinated with for years. According to a 1967 article in the Southeast Missourian, the reason the boiled and baked cabbage cooked in a custard was named that has been lost to history. But, Brock says, the incredible taste of it hasn’t, which is why he’s putting it on his menu.
And then, of course, there’s that Tavern Burger which Brock says really will challenge the Husk cheeseburger for city-wide domination. We can’t imagine what that means, but Brock promises he’s never seen a burger done like this anywhere else.
Diners can get their first try of the burger and more beginning this Fri. Aug. 12 when McCrady’s Tavern opens its doors. Dinner will be served Sun.-Thurs., 5 p.m.-10 p.m., and Fri. and Sat., 5 p.m.-11 p.m.
Lunch service will begin August 25 and will be served Wed.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.