St. Louis Metro East Recommendation
I live in St. Louis and am fairly familiar with the restaurants around this town. However, I have a client in town who will be staying in Fairview Heights, Illinois and wants to go out to dinner....
Need some help. The only restaurants I know of in the Metro East area are Naruda and Erato in Edwardsville. Both were very good but we have taken this particular client to both places.
I am looking for someplace with good food and good wine in the Metro East area. Anybody able to help?
This reply is a bit late for your purposes, but should you have a similar situation, I highly recommend Paulo's at the Mansion in O'Fallon, IL. Beautiful antebellum building and grounds, decent wine list and cocktails, and interesting antiques and artwork like the grand old organ and lovely, huge Bougeroux reproductions done in colored pencil (sounds horrid but isn't). The standard fare is solid Continental cuisine with plenty of flown-in fresh seafood, but the specials are quite creative and often amazing. The ambiance is quiet but invigorating (especially the main dining room) and that aspect clinches Paulo's as one of our top three choices for business dinners in the Metro East.
Never, ever, go to Lotawata Creek. Might as well take your clients to TGIF's! Fairview itself really lacks for anything other than chain restaurants, but if you ever are stuck having dinner at one there, Shogun is at least fun and tasty.
If you ever want a lower-key dinner (or lunch) that still has great atmosphere, I'd recommend The Lincoln Jug in Belleville. We've entertained successfully many times there--the owner and staff are extremely attentive and accommodating. Unfortunately there is no more live piano since Stan Kann passed away, but they're working on it. The food is decent but unduly "safe" at the moment; however, they'll do some of the best Prohibition-era cocktails and _real_ martinis in the area.
As Michaelstl said, going anywhere but a return trip to Erato would be gross negligence. Chef Kevin is on his game and is in legit competition with the best of STL (i.e., Niche). So, until we get another such offering in the Metro East, you're better off returning to Erato than going elsewhere. BTW, within a couple months, we will have another venue for which I have high hopes: Fond will be opening a few doors down from Erato. With Erato, Fond and the 222 Bakery/Goshen Coffee Roasting up the street, Main Street in E'ville may be the Metro East's gourmet ghetto.
Is Fond the restaurant that will be operated by a former chef at Niche? I had read that she (I can't recall the name) had left Niche awhile ago and was preparing her own space in Edwardsville, but I have not heard any news on it since the original announcement.
Erato really is just ridiculously good and the food the Kevin makes is both creative and delicious. It is just difficult to convince people from St. Louis to make the trip over the river. I have found that the drive to dinner at Erato has helped increase my anticipation and make the experience more enjoyable because I had to work a little to get there.
Fairview Heights has:
1. An Italian restaurant run by a former White House chef. He is trying to get unemployed people into the restaurant business. They only serve lunch and the food is just OK, but the idea is noble. Sorry, do not know name of the place.
2. The Lottawotta Grill - lots of food, and I am told that the food is not mediocre. Very Popular.
3. How about a trip to Collinsville to The Happy Cow? Not at all a place for a business dinner, but your guest will get a kick out of the sign: Our Cows Died Happy.
4. Belleville has the Pie Pantry. Not a business dinner place, but it is wholesome
Americana and they reduce dinner portions so that you will always have room for pie, of which there are many choices.
I whole heartedly agree about Erato. I was incredibly surprised at the quality of food, and more so with the knowledgable staff.
The wife and I eat out a lot. Niche is our current favorite. Erato, while not better, in this humble man's opinion, was still one of the 5 best meals we have had here in St. Louis.
I would love to convince the client to come over here as the drive ain't all that bad compared to Edwardsville. She is admant though...
Thanks for the suggestions.
Too late to help with your client, but if you ever need a place to eat in O'Fallon, Illinois again, I can't imagine a better place than Andria's Steak House. The filet mignon and the prime rib are the best I've ever eaten. I've eaten filet mignon on the Hill and Ruth's Chris and none can compare. The prices are very reasonable. You will not regret it.