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Jan 5, 2012 04:02 PM

Sashimi in St. Louis + lunch recommendation

I'm traveling up from Southern Illinois to St. Louis tomorrow and am hoping to find a store that carries sashimi-grade fish to bring back home. I'm originally from San Francisco where generally this grade of fish is available only in markets that are strictly Japanese. Is this a long shot for St. Louis?

Also, my husband and friend and I will want a nice lunch or brunch place that offers fresh and inventive food at an affordable price or alternately, a good ethnic restaurant like Indian or Ethiopian. Based on what I've read here I'm thinking Banh Mi so 1, Rooster, or Everest Cafe. We won't be too restricted by geography but will want wherever we go to be within city limits.

Any thoughts or recommendations?


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  1. The best seafood market in St. Louis is not in the city limits. It's Bob's Seafood on Olive, just east of I-170. It's in University City, which is a suburb that abuts the St. Louis city limits. There are also plenty of Asian restaurants east of Bob's on Olive as you head back toward the city. No objection to any of your choices, but I'd probably opt for Everest; lived in outstate for many years and Everest is going to make you happy and have a wider selection of things unavailable in smaller towns.

    Bob's Seafood
    8660 Olive Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63132

    12 Replies
    1. re: lemons

      Thanks lemons for the referrals. We went to Everest for dinner and Bahn Mi So 1 for lunch. Everest was perfect! I had a simple dish with tofu, green been and squash in a Nepalese tomato-based sauce. I was really impressed with the flavor complexity and balance. The Sauvignon was lovely as well. Bahn Mi So 1 didn't knock our socks off. I thought the dry vermicelli was good but my husband was disappointed that they only offered only one pho on the menu. Our friend got a dish that looked like a pile of sliced beef on rice (the exact same beef that was on my vermicelli) and nothing else to compliment it. Overall I still think this is the best Vietnamese I've had so far in the region but we're going to continue to be on the lookout for restaurants that offer more complexity. Next trip we are definitely going to hit Farmhaus. We thought about going but assumed that we had waited to late (midday Friday) to get a reservation for that evening. Cheers!

      1. re: Jalle

        Next time you're in town I would suggest checking out Pi on Delmar Blvd. It's a pizza place that was voted one of the best in the country.

        1. re: Itsmy6

          Farmhaus is a gem, but Fri/Sat reservations need to be made at least 2 weeks in advance, maybe more.

        2. re: Jalle

          There are many Vietnamese restaurants in St. Louis these days, with a fairly wide variety of offerings. Let us know which you've tried and people who frequent this board will certainly direct you to some new ones.

          1. re: alan

            2nd to alan's comment, on recent threads the debate seems to cover people grousing about the lack of pho at banh mi joints and the lack of banh mi at pho houses.

            we may not have an Eden Center or SGV but it's a refreshing development IMHO.

            1. re: alan

              Thanks for the continued recommendations everyone. I'm going to make a reservation for Farmhouse well in advance for any future visit. I drove by Pi and was curious. Good to hear that it is so highly ranked.

              As far as Vietnamese goes, I've only been to two: Pho Grand, and Bahn Mi So 1. My husband and I were unimpressed with the pho at Pho Grand and especially disappointed with the other dishes. Bahn Mi So was disappointing not only because of the sole pho option but the summer rolls, and other issues like an overly simplistic dish. We will continue to be on the lookout for other Vietnamese here on the lists! Thanks:)

              p.s. back when we were living in SF just two blocks away from Little Saigon, we would frequent an amazing Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup place called Turtle Tower. One day, I asked if they would provide me with some bean thread, basil, and pepper to accompany my soup and they snapped "No" at me. It took three tries until I got an explanation that they were Northern Vietnamese and that those condiments aren't traditional. Considering how long and therefore environmentally diverse the country is, it stands to reason that there would be a lot of culinary difference.

              1. re: Jalle

                Jalle, I also moved here from San Francisco. If you do go to Pi, and you've ever been to Vicolo, for pizza, on Ivy Ct. (near the Opera House) in SF, you'll see the similarity. Vicolo, back in the '80s then bred Ruby's Pizza in the Marina and maybe a few other "SF-style," corn-meal encrusted semi-deep dish pizza places. The owners of Pi brought that style here to StL from SF. And I'm glad they did. It is not to be confused with Good Pie on Olive, which is terrific pizza of a different style (my fave).

                1. re: Wayno

                  Interesting. I'll definitely give Pi a try, Wayno. BTW, I've read the reviews of "St. Louis-style pizza" and I've decided to stay away from it. Te he.

                  1. re: Jalle

                    There is nothing wrong with St. Louis style pizza -- it's just different, the way deep-dish is different from the Neapolitan style at the Good Pie. You might want to try it an an independent pizza parlor if the chain reports have put you off.

                    1. re: lemons

                      very important point re STL pizza, the crust I will staunchly defend.

                      the provel - yeah it IS weird (I still love it) but has to be introduced to one as a child. can always get it w/o.

                      1. re: hill food

                        hill food, you are a true son of the Lou. Me, too.
                        Jalle, though the discussion has gone off in another direction...did you find fish? Should we keep the question open? I'm afraid that if Bob's can't provide what you're looking for, I don't have any other ideas.

                        1. re: tonifi

                          I too would like to hear if the fish was up to the standard hoped. I got a heaping helping of head-on shrimp on Olive and was eyeing the squirming blue crab bin, but was called outta town before I could cook em...

        3. Definitely give Sansai a shot, they were founded in CA and have opened some stores here in st louis. If you want more upscale, go check out Tani in Clayton.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sushibud

            Sansai? No I am sorry. That is not a place you want to send someone to who is looking for Sashimi Grade fish.
            There are many better choices and I would now want our guest to judge St. Louis on a chain sushi place.


            1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

              FriendOfTheDevil, tonifi, and others re the Sashimi Grade fish, sorry i'm just responding now. My settings don't yet relay the messages to me. I didn't make it to Bob's primarily because it is far from the city center. On first glance at the page, I imagined that I would not be able to pick up a small tray with a block of ready to go Hamachi on it. However, I will call them before going to the city again and see what is possible. Certainly the business in general looks good and I trust your opinions on its quality so if I don't turn up a different place where I can buy that grade then I'll go to Bob's and get fish that I will serve cooked such as crab, shrimp, and eel.