Birthday Recommendation for STL
I'm planning on treating myself to a special dinner for my birthday.
I looked at the menus for Tony's, Niche, Sidney Street Cafe, Monarch, Erato, and Stone Soup Cottage. Stone Soup Cottage doesn't have an opening on my birthday (or even the weekend prior), so I've eliminated that one based on timing. I could still go on the weekend after my b-day, I guess....
Right now, my top three are Niche, Erato, and Tony's. What's the best choice? Is there something I missed? I love steak, but I'm trying to avoid steakhouses, unless it's spectacular. I would also be open to a Japanese omakase experience if there are any recommendations there.
Also, I plan on going solo. Will that present any problems as far as tasting menus are concerned?
Of those places, I have only been to Niche and Monarch. I guess it depends on personal likes...from what I gather Tony's is an old-school, dress code, heavy on service but somewhat traditional old-line eatery. Niche is progressive American in a sleek space in a neat city neighborhood. Monarch is sort of a blend of the two - slightly more traditional fare than Niche, but a more formal, old-school dining environment. I had an excellent dinner there recently. I live not far from Stone Soup and have heard great things...not managed to go yet. I may try it for brunch first before spending the bigger bucks on dinner. Erato I have heard good things about, but have not been. Of course, there is less to do in Edwardsville. Some places request more than one for tasting menus, but I am betting with advance notice and mention of the occasion you would be accomodated. Enjoy wherever you go!
Monarch's written policy is that everyone at the table has to participate in the tasting menu. However, when we were there recently, not only were they willing to do two different tasting menus--one for me and one for my wife--but the chef came to our table and briefly "interviewed" my wife about her likes and dislikes so he could create a vegetarian tasting menu just for her. Nice.