Edwardsville - Cleveland-Heath is damn good!
In the space vacated by Fond (which had achieved deserved acclaim for its wonderful chef) on Main Street in Edwardsville, a new restaurant, Cleveland-Heath (named after the owners), has opened. It's well worth a trek, not just from the Illinois side, but from St. Louis as well. The menu is still evolving and growing, but the premise is sophisticated comfort food. I'm happy to see that the restaurant has been enthusiastically embraced, and it's busy almost every night, with waits for a table on weekends. Fortunately, there's an ample bar that is well stocked AND well staffed. An interesting wine list, with several by-the-glass choices. Some of the menu hightlights include barley risotto, of which I was preliminarily skeptical because I avoid quirky - i.e., non-arborio or non-canaroli - risotti; but this one, with winter veggies, and an optional sunnyside egg on top, was delicious. Sides include a salted kale salad and carmelized brussel sprouts, and I usually ask for that same fried egg on both of those dishes, which adds a jolt of umami to dishes that are already very good. The pulled pork sandwich on pretzel bread is my kids' fave. The gnocchi, now with carbonara and previously with bolognese, has also been a pleaser. I like the soups very much. The salt is dealt with a pretty heavy hand, but that would not stop me from re-ordering any of the soups I've had so far. I think the chicken tortilla soup I had tonight was the best of the lot. I could eat it every day. And the cheddar biscuits are unbeatable as well, and, at least for now, the starters include a healthy portion of soft shell blue crabs. Not something you find everywhere. Jenny and Ed, the owners and chefs (though Jenny is out front) have serious creds, including the Culinary Institute of America and The French Laundry, in Napa. Having moved here from San Francisco, I often dump on the restaurants around here; but, this one's a keeper.
Good to hear, I will try to get there at some point. Spend most of my time working on the other side of the stream! You should definitely try both Niche (in Benton Park neighborhood of St. Louis, is moving to Clayton, sadly) and Farmhaus (I-44 and Arsenal area), the chef was previously at Erato in E'ville which received much acclaim when he opened it.