Guide to Appetizers
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.
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Crispy, crunchy and crazy-good, these appetizers are all served in that golden color that’s so hard to resist.
House-seasoned sausage is wrapped around hard-boiled eggs, breaded and fried to create the Scotch eggs at Farmers Gastropub.
Farmers Gastropub, 2620 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-864-6994, farmersgastropub.com
It might be small in stature, but the scotch egg is a serious heavyweight on the appetizer scene. To start, a hardboiled egg is sheathed in house-seasoned sausage, which is then covered in bread crumbs and fried. As they cut through the crunchy shell and break into the middle, fans of this treat add a dollop of mustard or Sriracha. The only downside is this dish is seasonal at Farmers Gastropub, and it’s returning to the menu in the spring.
Haruno Sushi Bar & Grill, 3044 S. Fremont Ave., Springfield,417-887-0077, harunosushi.com
Can’t get enough slightly crispy tempura? Taste test your way through the crystal shrimp appetizer. This is a smaller version of the entrée and comes loaded with tempura-breaded shrimp, sweet potatoes and squash. Whether you’re munching on crispy shrimp or warm veggies, kick up the flavor by dunking it in the sweet soy dipping sauce.
Rosie Jo’s Café 915 W. Jackson St., Ozark, 417-581-6047
There have been heated debates about who makes the best fried pickles in 417-land. The debate is far from over, but Rosie Jo’s Café makes a mean basket of pickles. Here, briny hamburger pickles are soaked in buttermilk, then lightly coated with a special breading mix that starts with flour and black pepper. When the discs are coated, they take a swim in the deep fryer until they’re über-crispy. Be sure to bring plenty of people for sharing; each order comes with 50 to 60 pickles.
Level 2 Steakhouse 200 E. Main St., Branson, 417-243-3433, level2steakhouse.com
To give this fried calamari its signature crisp outside and tender inside, baby steak calamari are sliced thin and soaked in buttermilk overnight to become extra-tender. Each piece is lightly breaded in a blend of flour, paprika, salt and pepper and deep-fried for a brief but effective minute.
Gem of India 211 W. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-881-9558, springfieldgemofindia.com
Deep-fried to a crispy finish, these fresh vegetable fritters are made with spinach, cauliflower, onions and potatoes and encased in a chickpea flour base. You can dunk them in mint, onion or tamarind chutneys.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks 1 Opportunity Ave., Point Lookout, 417-239-1900, keetercenter.edu
It’s never too early to start daydreaming. Once each thick slice of green tomato is coated in campus corn meal, they’re deep-fried until lightly crunchy. Each serving comes topped with house-made jalapeño jelly. Unfortunately, these juicy treats are only available in the summer.
Sesame Mozzerella and Asparagus Tempura
Kai Sushi Lounge & Bar 306 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-832-0077, kaiafterdark.com
If you haven’t already sampled these tempting bites of wonder, you’re missing out. Tall spears of asparagus are stuffed inside plump sticks of mozzarella and dipped in tempura batter then deep-fried. If you think you can handle it, try plunging one of these spears in the avocado wasabi dipping sauce.
Ebbetts Field 1027 E. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-865-5050
A true classic, French fries are fried until they reach that perfect golden color, then they’re topped with provel cheese and shredded cheddar. Before they reach your plate, these fries make a quick trip back to the oven and are served hot and super-melted.
Caldone’s 218 S. Main St., Joplin, 417-626-8111, caldones.com
Thin zucchini rounds are dunked in tangy buttermilk, coated in an egg wash and breaded in Italian bread crumbs. Part of what makes these chips so delicious is the seasoning: basil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Once each zucchini medallion is ready, it’s deep fried till golden brown and served with a lemon and dill dipping sauce.
Ocean Zen 600 E. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-889-9596, eatoceanzen.com
Five warm and crispy wonton wrappers are filled with chunks of blue crab and gooey cream cheese. Fried till just crispy, these plump wonders come with three delectable dipping sauces, fresh pineapple salsa and a pickled cucumber salad with fresh ginger.
From spring rolls to some more unexpected petite packages, the following apps add their own creative twists to all things rolled.
Fresh Spring Rolls
Bambu, 1338 E. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-881-9881, springfieldbambu.com
What’s Inside: shredded lettuce, mint leaves and rice vermicelli combined with sliced pork and shrimp
What’s Outside: softened rice paper
Why It Works: Dunked in peanut dipping sauce, these chewy delicious finger foods are too good to share.
D’Arpino’s Italian Café, 3014 S. National Ave., Springfield, 417-889-9898, darpinositlaincafe.com
What’s Inside: mozzarella cheese and spicy pepperoni
What’s Outside: soft and pillowy homemade pizza dough
Why It Works: Instead of a few measly bites, you get several slices of pepperoni bread that come cut in inch-and-a-half-thick slices perfect for dunking in the side of scrumptious homemade marinara.
Spicy Chicken and Avocado Eggrolls
Houlihan’s Restaurant and Bar, 2431 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-862-7777; 2110 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-883-3434; houlihans.com
What’s Inside: roasted Anaheim chilies, chicken, pepper-jack cheese and homemade guacamole
What’s Outside: an egg roll wrapper that’s fried to perfection
Why It Works: Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, this is a tasty update to the traditional egg roll.
Dublin’s Pass, 317 Park Central East, 417-862-7625; 2767 W. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-877-7625; doublinspass.com
What’s Inside: corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese
What’s Outside: crispy fried eggroll wrapper
Why It Works: Besides being a super-tasty and unexpected creation, these rolls are the perfect size for dunking into a pool of creamy Thousand Island dressing.
Wilder’s Steakhouse, 1216 S. Main St., Joplin, 417-623-7230, wilderssteakhouse.com
What’s Inside: three 2-ounce all-natural beef tenderloin medallions
What’s Outside: crispy applewood smoked bacon
Why It Works: This app is a meat-lover’s dream. Three tender medallions are wrapped in crispy bacon and served in a pool of Wilder’s signature steakhouse sauce and asiago béchamel cream sauce.
Main Street Mediterranean Cuisine, 107 N. Main Ave., Bolivar, 417-777-6700
What’s Inside: French feta cheese, Italian parsley
What’s Outside: phyllo dough
Why it Works: Fried just long enough to crisp the outsides, these little rolled up wonders are loaded with salty cheese and fresh parsley. If you’re not in the mood for cheese, try the meat borek with ground beef, Italian parsley and onions.