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Special Request: At Spare No Rib, caprese salad gets a fall twist

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Grapes and Pearls salad at Spare No Rib

Grapes & Pearls salad photographed at Spare No Rib on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in St. Louis. Photo by Chris Lee,

Q • I was wondering if I could request a recipe for the Grapes & Pearls salad at Spare No Rib. — Mary Claire Elbring, St. Louis

A • At Spare No Rib, the Grapes & Pearls salad captures the fresh flavors of the classic caprese salad year-round with its use of tasty grape tomatoes and little “pearls” of fresh mozzarella. Its well-thought out flavors don’t stop there, however.

The salad starts with a bed of tender spring greens. Fingerling potatoes, roasted or steamed, and diced avocado join the tomatoes and mozzarella. The dressing, bright with fresh lemon juice, tops off this simple salad.

“We find it to be the perfect salad to bridge between summer and fall,” owner Lassaad Jeliti says. “Tomato season is winding down, grape tomatoes are plentiful, and potatoes of all kinds are at their peak. Avocados provide a creaminess, basil adds kick and the simple lemon, basil and oil dressing, which is very popular in the Mediterranean, sets everything off.”

Although Spare No Rib is a barbecue place, the barbecue crosses international borders regularly, with style. “We’re riding two wild horses here — American street food and Mexican food,” Jeliti says.

“We don’t do barbecue like a ‘cue joint. No turkey legs or chicken wings here. We do briskets, pork butts and baby back ribs, which we then use in our shared plates, tacos and sandwiches.”

Mexican tacos include carne asada (steak and onion), cachete (braised beef cheek), carnitas (pork belly and shoulder) and chorizo (spicy Mexican sausage). American tacos include brisket, rib, lamb and fish offerings.

Customers can order a classic half or full slab of baby back ribs with baked beans, slaw and cornbread, but the SNR plate of two ribs, two tacos and one side provides a quick taste across the menu.

The simple Grapes & Pearls Salad works to bridge flavors across the menu, too. “Some of our best ideas come when we are making favorite foods for ourselves, experimenting in the kitchen,” Jeliti says. “Like our chicken chorizo sandwich. We had a little chicken and a little chorizo left over, so we made a sandwich — just for us. The Grapes & Pearls Salad came about by experimentation also. It became a staple menu item.”

Spare No Rib

3701 South Jefferson


To request a recipe • Would you like to request a recipe from a restaurant that is still open in the St. Louis area? Send your request along with your full name and the city you live in to

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