Review: Caleco’sAuthor: Show | Filed under: Food Reviews, Location: St. Louis, MO, On The Road
Caleco’s Bar and Grill
724 N. First St.
St. Louis, MO 63102
Of all the reviews I’ve done here, this was the second establishment I went to basically because it was convenient — meaning no prior endorsement from anyone. Caleco’s had a convenient location for me and I wanted to grab something local and fast. So I walked in. My previous experience in doing this on the trip was El Fenix in Texas, and we know how that turned out (insert frowning face, IM people). So I was obviously hoping this was a different outcome.
The atmosphere here was interesting. They had a pretty large fish tank in the middle of the dining room and a train track encompassing the perimeter of the ceiling (there are pictures on the website). I went there twice and it was incredibly busy both times, so I figured that must mean it’s pretty well liked by the locals.
Unfortunately, both times I went into Caleco’s, I was in a big hurry due to logistics out of my control. I asked the bartender what they were best at doing and she said pizza and pasta. As an aside, if you watch Big Brother on CBS (shameless plug!), she was a poor-man’s Jordan (you know, of “Jeff and Jordan”). Anywho, the pizza wasn’t offered by the slice and I was alone, plus I didn’t really feel like a huge pasta dish either time would work, as I had to hurry. Since toasted ravioli seems to be some type of St. Louis thing and I forgot to take a picture the other visit (again, pressed for time), we’ll just review the one time I got …
What I Got: Toasted ravioli; $6.69.
The menu description: “Ten deep fried pasta squares stuffed with beef and spices, served with our own marinara sauce.”
It’s literally what the name says: It’s deep-fried ravioli. No surprises.
Sadly, I wasn’t a fan. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it just wasn’t that appealing to me once I started eating it. I got the dish because it seemed to be a St. Louis fixture, but it’s just a deep fried noodle wrapped around ground beef. The marinara sauce was run-of-the-mill and the seasonings didn’t really add much. I ate all ten of my pieces because it wasn’t awful by any stretch, I just think this wasn’t really my thing.
Would I Buy It Again? No on the ravioli, yes on Caleco’s. The yes part might actually be a shocker, but my previous visit was two days before the toasted ravioli and I had a bacon cheeseburger. It was really good. Juicy, perfectly made to order and with the right amount of BBQ sauce on it. The service was great both times, despite them being absolutely packed to the gills and the pizza/pasta smell in the place made me salivate. I wish I either had time to get one of the more expensive/time-consuming pasta dishes or had a group with me so we could have gotten pizza. But, as I said, circumstances dictated otherwise and the cheeseburger was good enough to tell me this is a good place to grab a bite. Plus, I can’t say the toasted ravioli was poorly done. I just didn’t care for the item in general.
Considering this place is easy walking distance from Busch Stadium (three blocks or so), if you’re in St. Louis to catch a Cardinals game, definitely consider this as a pre-game meal destination. I’m pretty confident most of the menu is worthwhile and reasonably priced.