St. Louis Restaurant with Private room?
Chowhound visiting St. Louis for three days next month for guys trip. Five guys will be in town for annual trip, and we typically seek to eat well. We like fun, james beard caliber food. We dislike wine bars, white table cloths, and elaborate tasting menus (at least for this weekend, those places are better suited for other company). Think more David Chang than Eric Ripert.
In that vein, here is my ask:
1) chef driven, trendy restaurant, meat centric if possible (but not a steak house)
2) Fun, food centric restaurant with private room
If these two can be found in the same place, all the better.
Farmhaus, but no private room - small, chef-driven, amusing but it always feels like a guy place to me.
I am not sure what you mean by meat-centric but not steak...as in only one vegetarian entree on a menu?
Home Wine Kitchen has an upstairs private room but much larger than for 5 - again, chef-driven, local, very good food.
And I haven't been there, but I suspect that Bernie Lee @ Hiro Asian may be your sorta guy.
Others will have suggestions - that's all that pops into head on what's a busy afternoon for me.
Now we're getting somewhere. Ben Poremba came to STL and started Salume Beddu, making artisanal charcuterie, fab stuff. They finally opened a lunch counter, thank goodness, very limited but good bread and meat and the occasional chutney.
Then he opened two restos in one. They are attached, sort of, Elaia in the top floor of an old house, serious, marvelous food - he was a Beard semifinalist this year w/ his partner - and Olio in the old gas station next door, a casual bar with a different menu. Excellent wine at both. No res at Olio, but no private room. Google them and see if that helps. He's really got the touch.
Are you sure Elaia doesn't have a semi-private room?
I have only eaten at Olio, but am when they opened they gave me a tour of the whole place. I seem to recall that the top floor of the house is the "dining room," although quite intimate, and that on the bottom floor there was a seperate table space that they told me could be reserved for larger parties. I think that's sort of what the poster might be looking for.
Olio is, arguably, a wine bar, however, though one that has lots of meat to eat.
You may want to consider Matthew's Kitchen: http://www.mathewskitchenstl.com
Family-run place, really high-level cooking, generous portions, friendly service. The "pigs wings" might be a dish you are seeking. Fish'n'chips immense and really good. A group of guys could share a lot and emerge very satisfied and happy.
Consider lunches at Blues City Deli (wide variety of excellent sandwiches) and O'Connell's (perhaps the best burger in town, a great roast beef sandwich, and an old-time atmosphere).
Annie Gunn's is out in Chesterfield, pretty far west by St. Louis standards but still a half-hour from downtown. They do have at least one small private room that isn't ridiculously big for a small party, with sliding doors. It is a steak and chophouse, but the menu is more extensive and the food and service is excellent.
Go to Cafe Manhattan on Hanley south of the civic center in Clayton (just west of downtown and Forest Park and Wahington University, just off the freeway) for a lunch of St. Louis pizza, salad, and toasted ravioli.
My favorite higher-level restaurants are Tony's (downtown), The Crossing (Clayton), and Sydney Street Cafe, but I'm not sure they fit.
Oh, almost forgot -- Pappy's (midcity), Bogart's (Soulard, just south of downtown), and Sugarfire (on Olive west of 170) are all really good BBQ places, order at the counter and sit down, popular with lines good for lunch or an early dinner (they run out of meat later on busy days).
I'm not sure what you mean by "fun restaurant" 1111 Mississippi has a room of the size you want, and the food is good, but I'm puzzling over what you're hoping for ."Fun restaurant" sounds to me sort of sports bar-ish, or maybe one of those theme spots. Ares you looking for a room where you can be loud and pleasantly rowdy? If you want to be out of sight of other people, 1111 won't do - it's glass-enclosed on the main floor, but the snug at Annie Gunn's would do.
Are you making two different requests -- "chef driven, trendy" and "private room" -- or do you need both in each place? Seems like folks are trying to come up with a chef driven and trendy private room, which is a tall order.
Chef driven, trendy: Basso, Libertine, Blood and Sand (weekday only, if they'll let you in), Elaia (as per Lemons), Farmhaus, Bridge Tap Room, one of the favored BBQ places, i.e., Shaved Duck, Bogarts, Pappy's, Sugarfire.
Small plate/bars: Taste by Niche, Olio, Sanctuaria.
I can see mixing lunches at places like Bogarts with good dinners at Basso etc. or drinks/snacks at Olio etc.
Also, you might look into these newer places in St. Louis that seem to fit the bill: Element, Juniper, Small Batch. I'd be pretty comfortable with a guys weekend in St. Louis at those, although they haven't the track record the above list do.
Private room: I think this was also raised a couple of years ago on Chowhound, so you might do a search. I think there weren't too many, as would be expected, but I think I suggested Home Wine Kitchen, as I believe they are fun, food centric and have an upstairs that is generally closed (i.e., private room). Others had some good suggestions too.