This restaurant is now closed.
If you know your beers, then you've probably figured out that Tripel's name refers to the Belgian-style "Tripel" beers. Good job! Tripel Brasserie is a beer and mussels focused restaurant with a wide array of other dishes and cocktails. The restaurant occupies the space that formerly housed Soda Fountain Square, a 1950's-style, kid-friendly establishment. Tripel is the opposite of that. It's dark and vaguely Gothic, with gargoyles and lots of wood. I like it. It reminded me of being back in Boston, except it was clean and no one inside wanted to fight me.
The start to my latest adventure at Tripel started off shaky. Our reservation was at 6:30pm on a Friday. It turns out that parking around there is basically impossible on a Friday! We spent nearly 15 minutes driving back and forth down the surrounding streets looking for a spot, sending me into a fit of rage. Ultimately, I was able to follow a woman to her car (creepy) and take her spot. Once inside the restaurant, I was hit in the face by the front door that my eating-mate couldn't bother to hold. What a dick.
By the time I sat down, I needed a drink. And I knew just what I was going for. The Delaware Destroyer ($10) is a mix of beer, scotch and bourbon. Sounds like something you'd make in college. I'm not sure what kind of magic the bartenders use, but it does not taste like you'd expect. The beer gives it a velvety smooth texture, the bourbon gives it a hint of sweetness and the scotch gives you drunkness. I highly recommend it. I wish it didn't come in such a dainty glass, though. Maybe next time I'll order a double...or triple...and see if they can put it in a more manly chalice.
As you would expect from a Belgian gastropub, they have mussels and fries. Both are delicious. Our first trip, we ordered the Spécialité Maison mussels ($16) that are cooked with Calvados and Blue Cheese. While the mussels were delicious, they didn't really taste like Calvados or Blue Cheese. Next time, I'm hoping to try their curry mussels.
We decided to start with the Escargots à la Moelle (Escargots with Bone Marrow$12) after hearing some seriously good things. I think the before and after shots below should summarize my feelings quite well:
The dish is definitely not large, but it makes up for it in richness. It's not the size that counts, right? I layered the dense, creamy marrow and the garlicky, buttery escargot on top of the buttery garlic bread and went to town. Awesome. If only there was some foie gras and uni on there too.
I must admit that I was disappointed when I was told there was only one special entree for the evening, which was a porterhouse steak. Last visit they had two fantastic specials: one was a monkfish dish and the other was a rabbit Wellington. The Wellington, in particular, was a showstopper. Tripel, if you read this, consider bringing that back. And please let me know if you do.
For my entree, I got the Antelope Rumstek ($28). This the first time I can ever remember seeing Antelope on a menu, so I had to go for it. It was much less gamey than I was expecting. If I was blindfolded (ohh, cheeky!), I would have guessed it was a cut of beef. It came with fries, amazing brussel sprouts cooked with bacon, and a red wine reduction sauce. It was an enjoyable dish, but the rabbit from last time wins in this head to head battle. Frankly, the brussel sprouts were my favorite thing on the plate.
All in all, Tripel is a tasty and fun place to spend an evening. The service has been fantastic both times I've been, as well. I think you should head down, grab a Delaware Destroyer (or St. Bernardus) and fill your gullet with mussels, fries, escargot and marrow.
St. Louis, MO