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Aug 30, 2012

Justus Drugstore: Sadomaschism Dining At Its Finest

After my first dining experience at Justus Drugstore I was looking forward to going back to Smithville, MO, The Big Guy's hometown so we could eat there see all his relatives (love ya relatives!☺) and old high school buddies again. I kind of figure that dining at Justus is my payday for being such a sweet-natured-cutely-dressed-perfectly-coiffed-arm-candy-kind-of-wife, at least while we are there. Anyhow, you better believe I jumped at the chance to go to Smithville!

The first time we dined at Justus Drugstore every single bite was mind blowing! Perhaps even the best meal I had ever eaten. I mean EV-VER!
     This time I started out the evening with a cocktail called a Blackberry Pisco. It was stinkin' good and I would have liked to have sucked down about a dozen more but I wanted to be sober when I tasted my food, so I savored just one. (Loser, I know...)

That's a frothed egg white with some specks of Chai tea on top.
Next we were served what the hoity-toity joints call an Amuse Bouche. This was a small piece of crusted bass with radish sprouts, a jalapeno slice, some sort of weird gelee thing and then drizzled with a bit of citrus soy. IT DID NOT SUCK!!!!  I was properly amused.

The Amuse Bouche

For our first course we shared ricotta/roasted carrot dumplings which were kind of like little gnocchis and topped with goat cheese and a ginger pea cream. They were pretty dang good. Not out of this world good, but at least out of town good.

I love the color contrast of the pea cream and carrot dumplings!

We moved on to salads. Mine was a honey-rose petal dipped goat cheese fritter with a sesame-citrus vinaigrette, watermelon, cukes, pecans and black pepper caramel. Hold the phone! I call myself a foodie and here I didn't even know that you could dip food in rose petals.

The goat cheese fritter was lovely, even though I tasted no hint of rose petals.

Big hit the jackpot with his salad of Maytag blue cheese/black pepper ice cream (seriously, ice cream), pears, a funky little black walnut lace tuile thing and a maple-port vinaigrette. If I was one of those people who uses OMG, I would be OMG-ing all over the place right about now. But I'm not, so I won't.

See that little dab of blue cheese ice cream? Delish!

 Entrees: I always go with the fish, so I had the freshwater bass which was served with some butter beans and maitake mushrooms (Yum!) and a few tempura like battered and fried sunchokes. Unfortunately they didn't compliment the dish at all, in fact they dumbed it down, both in presentation and taste. Damn, I didn't love it. It was good, but not crazy good and I want crazy good at Justus.

The gorgeous sauce is ginger-citrus-saffron and it tastes as good as it looks.

Big's Pork Chop 2 Ways, Version 17 (Huh????) was pretty tasty. We loved the cured, shaved pork shoulder portion of it (more so than the actual chop itself). It was tender with just the right amount of saltiness and smokiness and was served on what was called "fried Brioche corn pudding" (read: cornbread) which turned out to be fairly boring, flavor wise. However, what Justus calls "corn essence" is out of this world. You could drape that crap over a turd and make a meal. I shit you not!

Pure art! The white sauce on the plate is the amazing corn essence.
Finally on to dessert...almost two and a half hours later we shared a chocolate hazel nut cake that was served with bacon-brittle which is exactly what it sounds like; peanut brittle with bacon instead of peanuts. Bacon and chocolate are great together, so this was a no brainer. Also, I love that they serve coffee in mini French presses ~ nice, nice touch!

Check out the bacon brittle on top of the cake.

So that's the good news. Want to know the bad?  Their staff!!!! The last time we were there (you can read about it here) it took forever, like about 20 minutes for the bartender to make two cocktails, pour one sangria and one lemonade AND our waitress server was a PMS-ing bully with a stick lodged firmly up her ass.
     On this visit the whole joint (except for the hostess) seemed to be staffed with a crew of aloof, impatient, cooler-than-everybody-else-because-I-work-at-Justus types.
     Service is SLOOOOOW, which for the most part I am OK with because I know that the food is being prepared fresh and is not mass produced and sitting around on warming trays. For what you pay I wouldn't want it any other way, but c'mon, somebody needs to crack the whip on the bartender and keep the drinks coming if you are going to have to chill for long intervals between courses. When your waitress server does appear at your table you can forget about asking any questions about the menu, or at least you best ask them fast because she clearly does not have time for imbeciles such as myself nor an ignoramus like The Big Guy. She is knowledgeable about the food/drinks/etc. but she is in a BIG hurry to blow you off and get away from the table. I get it, she's busy, but news flash lady...IT'S YOUR JOB to wait serve me! Your tip is riding on it. Or maybe apparently not because I think I can say with confidence that those bitches would chase you down and beat your ass with a frying pan if you even thought about tipping less than 20%. It's practically written all over their faces. 

The bottom line is if the food wasn't so wonderful I would write Justus Drugstore off for their haughtiness and bad attitude. But the truth is that I'm already looking forward to the next family reunion so I can go back and drop a couple of hundred bucks for another round of what I call Sadomasochism Fine Dining.
     It's really should go.

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