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Nov 7, 2006 09:23 PM

Updates on St Louis?

We will be in the St. Louis area over the weekend, and it seems that all the posts about where to eat are fairly old. Is this because nothing changes in St. Louis and it's all the same or because no one writes about food there? We would be interested in anything that's quality from barbecue and fried chicken to more exotic foods -- if there are any there. Please help with some up to date ideas!

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  1. I had a recent meal at Harvest, which has been around a while. I thought the meal was terrific. It's nothing exotic as it serves a modern american cuisine, but it does so extremely well. Here are some sample dishes, to see if they are what you might like:
    Oysters casino: barely cooked oysters with an oregano breadbrumb topping.
    Scallops over a sqaush risotto with rapini
    A perfect bread pudding for dessert.

    This listing makes the food, which is fairly creative, sound more pedestrian than it is. For a moderately upscale dinner, this place was outstanding.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jjo

      Man, I love that bread pudding. It is the best dessert I have ever had in the entire world. I wish I still lived in St. Louis, just so I could have it!

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. I have the world's most negative sister-in-law, who loves to find fault with anything/anyone. We gave her a gift certificate to eleven eleven mississippi. Her comment on her dinner at the restaurant: "It was PERFECT".

        1. As for 1111, all I hear lately is that it's been terrible, which doesn't surprise me, because it wasn't that good when it was still getting pretty positive comments. It's a nice space with questionable food. I think it's on a par with the restaurants that are part of the local chain of wannabe fine dining places, e.g., Remy, Blue Water, Big Sky. But, all is not bleak in the StL scene. Two newish restaurants that should impress even most jaded palates are Niche and Terrene - not exotic, but top notch and creative preparations of quality ingredients. For less creative, but generally very, very sound meals, I favor Atlas and Pomme. I like Harvest, too, but I think it's slipped a bit - though I'd certainly return. For something more unique, though not exotic or ethnic, I really like Iron Barley - the combination of down home roadhouse/bar atmosphere with very good food makes for a fun evening, and I don't think it's a scene that's replicated in too many places. For more ethnic offerings, there's a slew of choices - though most have been there a long time - on South Grand, including Bahn Mi So 1, Pho Grand for Vietnamese and Sameem for Afghani.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Wayno

            I generally agree with you on everything except for Iron Barley. I may be the only one in town who thinks it is very overrated. Nevertheless, don't forget King Louie's. It's a hidden gem that doesn't get nearly enough attention.

            1. re: showlett

              Wayno and I are just a lot more particular then most.

              I wouldn't go to Harvest. The chef (Andy White) is leaving as he and some others have bought and are renovating Cafe Balaban's. It should be really exciting once they open that space with him at the helm. He's one of the best chef's in St. Louis.

              Niche has fastracked it's way to my favorite spot in town based upon several conversations I've had with Gerard and Matt. They're both great cooks and have a real love for what they've brought us. He sounds like he's doing some really cool things on the weekday 7 course tasting menus and I can't wait until I have time for that.

              My other oft-mentioned favorite is Atlas. One of the most consitant places I've ever been to. Other then that, I handidly agree with everything Wayno said.

              1. re: bobzemuda

                Andy White is buying Balabans? Damn it, I had to leave right before that. Balabans needs a good sprucing up.

                So, I am curious, after the ballyhoo, what has happened to Monarch and Arthur Clays?

                1. re: Phaedrus

                  It's been a while since we've been to Arthur Clay's do to the sticker shock of our last visit. I've no problem dropping large sums of money on food, but we had a tasting menu, and it was, I felt, pretty poorly executed giving us full size portions of menu items. Having dined there 10-15 times at that point and with their definitely knowing who we are, I'd felt that we would get treated a little differently for the price we were paying.

                  Also, some of the dishes just weren't clicking like they were when they'd opened. I know how hard it is to come up with a new menu everyday, and without a staff that can assist in the creativity department, it must be quite tough.

                  I can't really comment on Monarch. It's always screamed hype to me. The Chef, Brian Hale, is a egomaniac. Just one look at their website gives a pretty clear example of that. The one time I ate there was for a quick lunch, and my soup had a greasy film on top. I felt there was no excuse for that considering the cost, and haven't returned.

                  1. re: Phaedrus

                    Branden Marsten from Modesto has bought Balabans, and he's hired Andy White to be the head chef.

              2. re: Wayno

                Maybe we lucked out, but our lunch at 1111 Mississippi was very good, as was the service. Our entrees were split without charge, even though we didn't request it. The accomplished server noticed how we were perusing the menu and immediately picked up on our sharing factor. We had a very positive experience there. Much better than anything we've had at Remy's or Blue Water.
                Have to agree with you about Atlas. That was the best meal we had during our long weekend in St. Louis recently. The food was just about perfect as was the service. The best lunch we had was Pho Grand. We had another great dinner at Cafe Natasha Kabob International. I really like to eat in St. Louis. You guys have lots of wonderful places to choose from.

              3. For superb soups, well-plated appetizers, imaginative flavorful salads and sandwiches in an informal setting -- The Pitted Olive on Hampton. Additional plus -- gets you close to Ted Drewe's for dessert.