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STL: What's new and worthy? A StL-born Boston Hound wants your recs...

litchick Dec 3, 2007 11:51 AM

Hi Midwest Hounds!

I'm a Boston-based hound who grew up in StL, and travel back for the holidays to see family and friends. This year, Mr.Lit and I would love to take my adventurous parents out for dinner to someplace worthy. The dining scene has changed so much since last I lived in StL (mid 90s), and though I visit regularly, the visits don't usually include a lot of dining out, so I've kind of missed out on the newly vibrant restaurant culture there. When we do go out for meals, it's with friends, and those events tend to center around hearty cheap ethnic fare and late night wine tastings at 33's in Lafayette Park. I hear the vague thing every now and then about this or that new restaurant, and my parents dine out at the mid-to-somewhat-high-end range with their friends.

Here're the parameters I'm looking at...
-Not too expensive (trying to keep it at no more than $20 per entree)
-Quality that's really worth the $
-Imaginative or inventive fare
-I don't think we want to go as far as Chesterfield, but we're open to a very wide radius starting from the Downtown/UCity/Clayton/Brentwood/Kirkwood/etc corridor
-Pretty much any cuisine is good, but no steak houses -- we're just not really steak house people -- and I'm gonna go ahead and rule out Italian, since I've fairly well explored the StL Italian scene

Though ideally we're looking for a nice/fun evening out, I'd be open to a cheapie-cheap place, as long as the food was excellent and it could be an "experience."

Bonus: is there anywhere these days that's putting a focus on either locally grown or sustainably harvested produce/meats?

I'm anxious to hear your thoughts, and if there's a place you love that doesn't meet some of the parameters, I want to hear about that too. I can be convinved of other ideas...

Thanks!

  1. s
    shannoninstlouis Dec 3, 2007 05:55 PM

    Terrene has always focused on local and/or sustainable products. I can't recall their price points off the top of my head. It's in the CWE. I'm going to hit Sage this week. I've heard good things about it. It's in the old Lynch St. Bistro locale. Acero in Maplewood is good and fairly inexpensive, but more of an enoteca than a full scale resto. I like their wine quartino concept.

    A place that is off the beaten path and rather inexpensive (IMHO) is Stellina Pasta in the city, on Watson just past Hampton (next to Biggies). It's organic, house made pasta that changes nightly. It's very small but I think the food is excellent.

    You can find the hours/addresses, etc. for all these on saucemagazine.com. Good luck and let us know what you come up with.

    1 Reply
    1. re: shannoninstlouis
      litchick Dec 3, 2007 06:24 PM

      Thanks for the recs. I know Sauce well, but as a non-local I sometimes find its interface not as useful as it could be. It seems to excelw when you have a resto you know the name of and want more info on, so your leads are a great starting point for me.

      I'm intrigued by Stellina!

    2. sheriffblalock Dec 3, 2007 07:42 PM

      I think all of your parameters are covered best in town by Iron Barley. You can find their menu at www.ironbarley.com, but they generally offer several specials each night. It's German/Southern cuisine for the most part, and I don't think you'll find anything like it anywhere else.

      1. d
        Doug Dec 4, 2007 03:38 AM

        If you want a place that has impressed my friends from New York, try Tanner B's on Shenandoah. The emphasis on choosing your own side dishes will please your group and the prices are within your range. A true neighborhood restaurant.

        1. b
          bakemeacake Dec 4, 2007 04:07 PM

          I would suggest the always worthy Atlas Restaurant and Lunchroom on Pershing Ave. Atlas has a quiet sophistication, excellent food, and a wonderful neighborhood feel. As a Boston hound you might be reminded of Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain. Atlas is a gem but always flies under the STL radar a bit.

          http://www.atlasrestaurantstl.com/

          1. b
            bakemeacake Dec 4, 2007 04:16 PM

            Also if you want something cheap but amazing you must go to Banh Mi So Saigon Gourmet on South Grand (way down Grand about a mile past the over-hyped and underwhelming Pho Grand). Look for the glowing "Best Spring Rolls in St. Louis" sign.

            http://www.banhmiso1.com/index.html

            2 Replies
            1. re: bakemeacake
              litchick Dec 4, 2007 08:19 PM

              Ah, bakemeacake, I love Bahn Mi So Saigon Gourmet. That's exactly the kind of place I always find myself when I return. ;)

              Atlas is a good lead, thanks!

              Sherrif: Iron Barley has been hovering on my radar, thanks for confirming my initial thoughts.

              Doug: Tanner B's looks good for my general list of restos to try, thanks!

              ...Ok, StL hounds, keep 'em coming. This is great.

              1. re: litchick
                b
                bakemeacake Dec 4, 2007 10:25 PM

                There is always Niche in Benton Park. It seems to be the current favorite of STL "foodies."

            2. a
              Anne Dec 5, 2007 08:30 AM

              Not "new", but otherwise meets your criteria---Riddles Penultimate. The menu changes daily (with a few favorites kept night after night), is "inventive", moderately priced, and they use a good deal of local and/or sustainably produced ingredients. My only complaint is that it is in a VERY smokey bar.
              You can check out the day's menu here:
              http://www.riddlescafe.com/

              1 Reply
              1. re: Anne
                alan Dec 5, 2007 09:07 AM

                I concur with the Riddles rec. It's not frequently mentioned here but it's always good, has a truly great wine list, and has long featured local ingredients.

                -----
                riddles penultimate
                st. louis, mo, st louis, mo

              2. t
                Todd Lannom Dec 5, 2007 06:12 PM

                Niche (on Sidney Street), Frazer's (on Pestalozzi), Five (on Manchester), Sidney Street Cafe (on Sidney Street), and Balabans (on Euclid).

                1. g
                  geochic Dec 6, 2007 11:34 AM

                  Try checking out the restaurants at stlouisoriginals.com.

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