2021 Best New Restaurants // No. 8 Clara B’s Kitchen Table
There are few things as comforting or luxurious on the palate as a mound of well-prepared oatmeal. Unfortunately, whether it’s due to the dish’s deceptive simplicity or the easy availability of instant varieties, it can be difficult to find decent oatmeal in St. Louis (surprising, given the town’s southern character). So while there are plenty of good things on the menu at Clara B’s kitchen table, it’s chef-owner Jodie Ferguson’s perfectly prepared groats that brought tears to our eyes the first time we tried them.
Ferguson was introduced to the kitchen by her grandmother, Clara Bloodworth, the Clara B. whose company is named after. Although Bloodworth died when Ferguson was only 6, Ferguson still remembers how her oatmeal tasted – as well as the first time she had oatmeal that wasn’t her grandmother’s. “Disgusting,” Ferguson recalled, his dismay still palpable in his recollection of the experience. “I haven’t eaten them for, like, 12 years.”
When asked about the secret to her superlative grains, Ferguson identified two key components: quality ingredients (she only uses Weisenberger Mills grains) and time. “I think maybe it is patience,” Ferguson thought, pointing out that she slowly cooks her oats in a mixture of milk, cream and butter, which helps give the dish its creamy feel. stuffy.
At Clara B’s, you can try Ferguson’s groats in their shrimp and groats, which are velvety, slightly spicy, and balanced with green pepper and okra. They also go very well with the cookie sandwich, another must. Served with egg, cheese, apricot and red onion jam and your choice of protein, Ferguson’s cookies shine just as brightly as his oatmeal. Made with White lily flour (the flour of choice for generations of Southern biscuit makers), they are strong enough to contain the components of the sandwich while retaining their soft, flaky interior.
Ferguson’s breakfast tacos, which use tortillas from beloved Texas grocery chain HEB (Ferguson grew up just outside Austin), are another example of his dedication to premium ingredients. . We enjoyed the vegetarian option with black beans, avocado, eggs and cheese, which we enthusiastically sprinkled with house salsa and hot sauce.
Currently, Clara B’s operates as a food truck, making frequent appearances at Affton’s food truck hub. 9 Mile Garden, Belleville and elsewhere in the Grand Est. But Ferguson is hoping to secure physical space in downtown Belleville soon, and plans to offer brunch as well as the occasional, upscale pop-up dinner party that reflects his experience in fine dining at places like Cardwell’s, Table Three and the Ritz-Carlton, Saint-Louis. One thing’s for sure: with some of St. Louis’s best oats and cookies already firmly under her belt, we can’t wait to see what she does next.
Clara B’s kitchen table, 724.252.7227, clarabs.com