All proprietors of fine restaurants work hard. Among their ranks, two of the hardest-working restaurateurs in mid-Missouri are Chefs Todd and Susan Schapira of long-time local favorite Abigail's, named for their teenage daughter.
My wife, son, and I drove down to Rocheport one Sunday afternoon in search of lunch, antiques, and a walk on the trail along the high river waters. Luckily, Abigail's was open, and packed with smiling, chatty people in their Sunday church best. Waiting about 15 minutes for a table, we went next door to ogle antiques in the meantime.
Reminiscent of Columbia's popular but defunct Trattoria Strada Nova in feel and style, Abigail's ambiance is old brick chic, with interesting bric-a-brac and plenty of natural light flooding into the dining area and open-air kitchen.
Our son was happily involved with crayons on a broad paper table cloth, and before us appeared the day's menu, on a portable easel Chef Todd moved from table to table.
My wife had an outrageously succulent pork chop bathed in dark, whipped butter with mash potatoes crisped just perfectly at the top, all over a bed of greens. Our son had a Ciabatta role with greens, bacon, fontina, and an apricot chipotle on the side that we adults ate. I had a linguini with chicken tossed together in a heavenly lemon-pecan glaze.
Despite the incredible meal, dessert -- something we almost never order -- turned out to the piece d'resistance.
My wife insisted on a crisped coconut pie, but I was torn over the cinnamon chocolate chili cake. You read that right -- cinnamon, chocolate, and chili -- three of my all-time favorite tastes. I've had coconut pie once or twice in my life, but my wife insisted so we decided to share. Best dessert decision ever! The coconut pie was heaven on a plate, right down to the last gooey morsel.
Total tab with plenty of great coffee: roughly $40.00 And our server -- Abigail herself -- was a perfect hostess.
-- Mike Martin for the Columbia Heart Beat
Also See Abigail's Reviews at Urban Spoon