Q • The Brussels salad at Kings Oak at Modern Brewery sounds fantastic. I’d love that recipe. — Laurie Klein, St. Louis
A • The Brussels salad at Kings Oak kitchen located inside the Modern Brewery combines the crunch of shaved sprouts with goat cheese, salty bits of bacon, candied walnuts and pickled red onions dressed in a lemon-honey vinaigrette.
There’s nothing premade at Kings Oak thanks to the impeccable training executive chef Chuck Hess received early on. He learned from-scratch cooking early and still practices it, even in a high-volume restaurant like Kings Oak. He started small, with a mighty instructor, at home.
“My Aunt Mary is the big reason why I started cooking,” he says. “She was always making something from scratch. I was at her house a lot when I was a little kid, watching her in the kitchen. She made the best chicken and dumplings I’ve ever had. That’s the reason I started cooking.”
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A chef in a first-class brewery carries with it an unspoken obligation. “I give people good, good food. We’re at a brewery, so I what I make goes great with drinking beer.”
You don’t have to be a beer drinker to enjoy the bright atmosphere, the beautiful patio and the good food at Kings Oak. Like the Brussels salads, each of chef Chuck’s creations has unique twists.
For example, the Crush Puppies — crab cakes and hush puppies combined in wonderfully tasty bites to share. The porchetta pastrami sandwich on house-made focaccia takes a standard that’s good and turns it on its head to great.
Don’t miss the solid red beans and rice, the gumbo, or the Cajun arancini with gumbo gravy. Just be sure to get the wording close to right. “The funniest thing that happened since we’ve opened – one guest ordered ‘the jumbo’ which was a little perplexing for the server. He wanted the gumbo,” Hess says.