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Jan 29, 2007 07:47 PM

St. Louis report

Just got back from my first visit to St. Louis in a while. Some nice development/rehab going on various areas, but still a lot to do. The city is still pockets of activity, with some deserted areas.

Anyway, some rec's:

Italian at Trattoria Marcella (Hill) is excellent, clearly a place filled with locals and visitors. Traditional Italian, the veal scallopini is excellent, as are the salads. Try to get a table in the newer portion. While it may not have the charm of the old, tables are less crammed together.
Had a nightcap at Bailey's Chocolate Bar in the Lafayette Square area, which is coming along nicely. This place was vibe, very crowded even when we got there after midnight, post-concert. The raspberry chocolate martinin and banana split were great!

Had brunch at Nadoz in Midtown, in the old Coronado Hotel. This was great, too. Beautifully rehabbed, large 20's hotel. The brunch entrees were several notches above the usual fare, with nice fish and meat selections. Desserts, esp. beignets, are a must.

Had dinner at Niche, which I could see was populated with mostly affluent-looking patrons. Beautiful space in the Benton Park area, near a pretty dense residential area with nice feel and rowhouses, mixed with industrial. Kind of a gritty feel, but I liked it. A little hard to find (don't trust Mapquest!). The 3-course for $35 is a good option. Salad course with Maytag blue cheese excellent and well-plated, as others have mentioned. Good house red, The hangar steak with dipping sauces (YUM!!) was very good. Too long a wait for the dessert course, even though they ask you for the order at the beginning. Service friendly, but server a little too scarce for my taste. Dessert, the apple crisp, was excellent. I would recommend the place.

St. Louis is interesting. These were neighborhoods I hadn't been to, and I like the vibe and sort of gritty feel to some of them. Clearly some good things are happening, but there arr still a number of areas, esp. around Midtown, that clearly need work. Notable was an almost total absence of street life or traffic, even on Sunday. Stayed at Napoleon's Retreat in Lafayette Square, which I highly recommend.

Just doing my little part to help the St. Louis economy. I live closer to Chicago, and for obvious reasons usually go there. This was a nice change.

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  1. ddfry,
    Thanks for helping our economy by doing your part! I am glad you enjoyed your visit. Let us know when you are planning your next visit, and we will come up with some suggestions in our still gritty neighborhoods (mine, anyway).

    5 Replies
    1. re: p.j.

      Which gritty neighborhood do you claim? Maybe that was the wrong word choice....sorry.

      1. re: ddfry3

        Don't worry. I wasn't offended. Forest Park Southeast, the eastern end of which, on Manchester, the new-to-the-hip-bar-scenepeople are trying to call "The Grove" for Tower Grove Ave.
        For deserts and coffee, and brunch or lunch, or dinner on Fri. or Sat. night, try La Dolce Via at Taylor and Arco.
        Nice neighborhood spot with delicious Italian pastries and killer cream cheese brownies.

        1. re: p.j.

          Thanks for the rec. Any other hot tips? I have thought about a Crown Candy pilgrimage. Probably best during the day, huh?

          1. re: ddfry3

            Crown Candy is a must, and yes during the day is best. The neighborhood has improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years, some of the houses have been rehabbed etc. But it is better to err on the side of caution.

          2. re: p.j.

            We at at La Dolce Via last Friday for dinner, assuming that at worst we'd drop 60-80 but wouldn't have to have worried about chaning into something spiffier.

            Wow were we wrong.

            Amazingly poor/aloof service
            wine in water glasses
            $7 per glass Cab that was only 10% cab on the label
            Atmosphere that while great for a coffee shop, was not so great for the.....

            Two Apps, Two Entrees, two desserts, two cups of coffee and one bottle of wine........$130.

            We should have gotten spiffy and gotten more for the money. Astonishingly, in all that, one of the entrees was lamb risotto which I will admit was the best risotto I've ever had in St. Louis.

            the high point was obviously dessert, and we'd go back for that.

      2. So did the desserts at Nadoz put you under?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Phaedrus

          Oh yes.....great stuff! And a great brunch!