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Aug 20, 2007 12:34 PM

Celebratory dinner in Columbia, MO?

My SO and I live in NYC and our close friend lives in Columbia. He not only just received his Master's degree but also got engaged! Since we won't be able to see him and his fiancee for awhile, we wanted to give them a gift certificate so they could enjoy a special night out together.

I've searched the board and have come up with the following possibilities: Sophia's, Cherry Hill Brasserie, Sycamore's and Cherry St Wine Cellar & Bistro. They all seem in the style of what we're looking for - new/modern American and somewhat upscale without being overly formal.

Are there any others I've missed? Our friend and his fiancee are very much focused on local/organic eating so if there is anything like that in the area that would be appropriate for a special night out I would love the recs.

Thanks very much!

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  1. If I were getting a gift certificate, I would want to go to Sycamore. But I have not been to the Cherry Hill spot.

    1. I believe the Cherry Hill Brasserie has quietly closed its doors for good, which is a shame, it was a nice spot. That being said, the other 3 restaurants you mention - Sophia's, Sycamore, and Cherry Street - are all excellent. Sycamore in particular stresses local and seasonal ingredients in its menu.

      One consideration might be location - Sycamore and Cherry St are both downtown and Sophia's is further south (but still only a brief drive).

      1. Thanks for the feedback. We decided to go with Sycamore. Think it will be perfect for our friends.

        1. Cherry Hill Brasserie was an abysmal dump...beyond bad. Terrible interior, creepy service, empty. Oh, and the food wasn't any good at all either. Perhaps I caught it after its heyday, but I for one am looking forward to something decent going into that now-vacant spot.

          As for celebratory dinners: You can't go wrong with Sycamore. Very good food and the service is outstanding. I personally like The Wine Cellar (on Cherry Street) a bit more, as it's more interesting and different, but that's a personal choice. Your friend will be very pleased with Sycamore.

          1 Reply
          1. re: srowson

            Wow, those are harsh words, and words I definitely disagree with. What was wrong with the interior? If you're saying they didn't change it much from the former D'Agostino's (now that place WAS abysmal and it lasted several years), then I understand. And the service we had on our occasions of dining there was always friendly and accommodating. To say the food wasn't any good at all is crazy talk. I had some of the best meals in Columbia there, from steaks to coconut-encrused mahi mahi. Doubt if it had what you call a "heyday", because it was only open a couple years, but the chef is going back to Las Vegas for an "offer he couldn't refuse" (he graduated from the culinary school in LV). I remember fondly how he gave me and my husband some foie gras to take home when we told him how we loved the stuff. Now that's a nice touch. In fact, we closed the place down (literally) by going there the night before it closed and also again the night it did close. They needed help drinking up their remaining bar inventory - ha! Don't count on something "decent", as you say, going in that spot and making it, because Cherry Hill Brasserie was more than "decent", and let's face it, that location is so off the beaten path that I don't think anything is going to bring people in in order to keep a place open there very long.

            As for Sycamore, most of the time it's good, but we have hit it on an off night just once. Our waitress that night was totally unengaged and uninterested in talking with us about the menu, and the soft-shell crab they had on the menu that night as an appetizer was hideous. She said it was a new menu item, and since most of it was inedible, I noticed that it was thankfully taken off the menu the next time we dined there. And also no sign of the waitress who had been there before. Now I'll grant you this has only happened to us once at Sycamore. Normally, the food and service are outstanding. We have to have a few bad experiences for us to write off a place totally. How many times did you actually dine at Cherry Hill Brasserie?

            Our favorite places in Columbia for "fine dining" are (in no particular order): Murry's, Chris McD's, Village Wine and Cheese Bistro, Cherry Street Wine Cellar & Bistro, and Sycamore. Of course, we have a lot of other places we like to go for "casual dining", but these are our top picks.

            Haven't been over to Rocheport for a long time to Abigail's or Les Bourgeois. Any reports on how they are these days?