St. Louis - Sidney Street Cafe
I am not from St. Louis and will be dining with another couple here next week. I read some old comments that were favorable, what to order/ must haves.
Sidney Street Cafe is certainly a fine spot for dinner in St. Louis, although its luster has tarnished a bit from the time it was listed year after year as one of the top two restaurants in town. One common grouse heard with respect to its menu is that it hasn't changed since Reconstruction, but the rebuttal to this is frequently "Why tamper with success?" and it is indeed true that virtually every item is exceptionally well done, with a dedicated following who would raise a major howl at its deletion. Another oddity which patrons find either endearing or annoying depending on their point of view is the menu itself which is handwritten in chalk on a schoolboy-sized slate, entrées on one side and appetizers on the other, and placed one per table. The waiters -- some of the best and most experienced in town -- recite the descriptions of these items in rapid succession many times each night, repeating them if requested.
I would suggest that first-time diners spend a few minutes with the internet version of the menu, http://www.sidneystreetcafe.com/menu...., which includes the descriptions and may allow you to narrow your choices a bit.
What to order? Well of course that is pretty dependent on your own tastes and preferences. There are several fish dishes and steaks prepared in a variety of ways. The repeat customers barely look at the menu and order the whiskey steak, filet béarnaise, or whatever their "usual" is. Just look at the descriptions -- if the combination appeals to you, rest assured you will enjoy the results.
"One common grouse heard with respect to its menu is that it hasn't changed since Reconstruction, but the rebuttal to this is frequently "Why tamper with success?" and it is indeed true that virtually every item is exceptionally well done, with a dedicated following who would raise a major howl at its deletion."
Which is exactly what keeps St. Louis dining from becoming what it could be.
Your mentionings of what the regulars eat sums up the St. Louis dining public. Even when given excellent options, they still, all to often, lean towards steak. Weak.
I'd guess that most cities (especially in the Midwest) lean heavily toward steak. I enjoyed my visit to Sidney Street very much, their duck was fantastic, and I was surprised by the affordability of their wine list.
If you want more innovative dining in St. Louis, I'd recommend the place down the street from Sidney Street Cafe, Niche.