BY MEGAN BETZ
My husband and I recently went out to dinner with our 3-year-old daughter, Maddie, in tow. We met up with two other couples and their young children. That can be a hard crowd to please. As parents, we wanted to feel we were getting the most out of our night together without making our kids—or our fellow diners—miserable. The Crazy Horse Tavern on West Kirkwood, located just off the west side of the downtown Square, offers a family-friendly atmosphere on the restaurant side, separate from the bar.
Ron Stanhouse, who has owned The Crazy Horse for more than 30 years, describes his establishment as “a bar that serves good food.” By taking the time to get the menu basics right, he hopes it’s a stop for students, parents here to visit, as well as the business crowd and families who fill booths for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
For me, nothing sets off an enjoyable meal like a good, shareable appetizer. Our whole crew was most impressed by the breaded mushrooms. Sliced portobello mushrooms offer maximum surface area for breading and a more feasible bite-size snack than the usual ball or button mushrooms. We also enjoyed the Deconstructed BLT, which offers thick, house-made bacon, fried green tomatoes, and swaps herb aioli for the lettuce. Soups are a specialty at The Crazy Horse, especially the French onion served with crusty croutons and covered in cheese.
The Crazy Horse offers interesting sides as well. While the shaved Brussels sprouts and spicy cabbage slaw are creative options, I always opt-in for potatoes, and the German potato salad has a pleasing balance of sharp vinegar and sweetness.
When you get down to it, nothing says pub fare like a good burger or other hearty sandwiches, and that’s where The Crazy Horse shines.
The menu is loaded with indulgent choices, like the Love Me Tenderloin! that adds Applewood bacon, pulled pork, and thinly sliced fried ham to the breaded tenderloin. Stanhouse says one surprising hit is a burger topped with fried mac and cheese. While I enjoy the playfulness, I agree with Stanhouse: “I kind of want the main thing to be the main thing. The burger needs to taste good, or the whole thing is wrong.” Stripped down to its core, his Angus burger stands up.
The Crazy Horse marinated steak sandwich shows that this bar can do more than make a good burger. In my experience, it’s uncommon to be at a bar and order a steak sandwich that avoids overcooking the sirloin. Here, the meat keeps its juices and a streak of pink through the middle, making for a tender sandwich without depending on a “jus.” Equally flavorful is the grilled salmon BLT. Stanhouse says the key is starting with fresh salmon, which they skin and cut into thick filets. From there, the filets are well-seasoned and dressed with an herb aioli.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Brunch is offered 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit Bloom Magazine