Review: Tempus

9 April 2022

As I mentioned last week, I take these weekend overnight trips to help clear my head. And I sorely needed another one. And I timed this weekend’s trip to St Louis to enjoy one of my favourite symphonies, Dvořák’s 9th (Z Nového světa), performed by the St Louis Symphony Orchestra. The perfect piece of music, let’s hope the performance lives up to the SLSO’s reputation!

I took some winding roads towards St Louis, crossing over a lot of rural areas and entering via Alton. A warm day already, so after a few stops I dropped into the venerable Schottzie’s Bar and Grill for lunch. It’s been years since I had their brain sandwich. After a rather long wait (for the last brain), it was not really worth it. It’s even less tasty than the last time I had one here. I miss the excellent fried brain in Vienna

I headed out, making a few more stops before I got to my hotel to quickly shower and change and head back out. Before the symphony I was having an early dinner. I read about Tempus, and it intrigued me. The prepay system intriged me far less, but that’s fine. The two-hour limit intrigued even less than that, but I have to get out in that time anyway tonight, so…

I got there and was told that Saturday street parking was metered until 7pm. Damn. Had to quickly move the car, but at least my cocktail was waiting for me.

Delicious. No, I didn’t drink two, just formatted the photo like this. The cocktail on the right was what I had with dessert (see below). I ordered then as well, then relaxed…

Very soon the bread came out, accompanied by butter and sorghum. Nice. I enjoyed a small piece of bread, the sweetness of the sorghum worked very well with the butter, but the bread wasn’t very warm inside for some reason. Then just as I was about to take a sip of my cocktail, my starter comes out…

Sigh… Do they ever let you relax and enjoy a cocktail BEFORE dinner these days? I asked my very capable barman and he basically said “our kitchen is really on” — whatever that means. I guess they don’t anticipate people wanting to relax with a cocktail. Sigh…

Now this was sadly very, very ordinary. The beets were in nice chunks, and the goat cheese done well. But very skimpy, to be honest. Compared to last week’s starter at Cobble Hill, this was negligeable content… At this point I also switched to a nice orange wine and just as I was sipping it, my main course comes out.

What is this, do they want me out of here in 45 minutes? Sigh… Again, all I heard was “our kitchen is really on” and I just sighed… Now this crab dish is quite good, with a generous amount of crab. Good flavour, just enough kick for it to be interesting. So despite all the rush rush stuff, this was a good main. But that still bothered me as I finished and I told my bartender I need a break.

Now I’ve heard this “our kitchen is really on” thing at more than a few places lately. Sadly that just tells me that the front of the house failed to communicate to the back, or the front just don’t care. I just don’t know anymore…

At least now there’s better understanding with my barman on my preferred pace. Too bad it’s almost over. I finished my wine and indicated I’m ready to move on. So nicely, a rum-centric cocktail and a piping cup of black coffee appear. And soon after, my dessert.

Pineapple. Honestly this really was nothing to write home about. The pineapple wasn’t bad, but for someone who eats pineapple all the time this really isn’t anything special. The banana sorbet was rather bland, and there’s not much of a coconut hint anywhere. Oh well.

I was a little early for my event, so I enjoyed a small tipple of rye before I headed out for the symphony. Honestly the food is pretty good, but nothing special. Definitely wasn’t worth the hassle of prepayment, especially feeling so rushed all night for absolutely no reason since I finished with half hour to spare in their two-hour time limit (which also annoys me).

Do people still remember this is the hospitality industry? A cookie to close the night…

Oh well. It’s a once and done place for me. My poor luck with STL continues…

Tempus
4370 Manchester Avenue
St Louis, Missouri

* Unfortunately the St Louis Symphony Orchestra did not wow like Orchestra Iowa did the previous week. Reminds me of Paavo Järvi’s “emo” take on Dvorak’s 9th, with some very odd tempi. Missouri did not do this most Iowa of symphonies too proud.

3 thoughts on “Review: Tempus

  1. I’m 100% with you on the timing issue. Lately it seems tasting menus rush, rush you through the first couple courses – even bringing the next before you finish – and then slowing down to a snail crawl for the last couple. Cocktail time seems like a thing of the past unfortunately. A good kitchen and server can work out timing much better.

  2. Pingback: Review #2: Epiphany Farms | melhuang1972

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