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St. Louis Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

189 posts in this topic

Wow! How long has Forgione been in STL? Is he there cooking? Seems like I've read he's mostly doing consulting these days, but his NYC restaurants were outstanding, including the original The American Place.


Edited by rlibkind (log)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Wow! How long has Forgione been in STL? Is he there cooking? Seems like I've read he's mostly doing consulting these days, but his NYC restaurants were outstanding, including the original The American Place.

The reviews on Yelp date to January, 2008, so I'd assume the place opened in 2007. It doesn't look like Forgione is in the kitchen; the web site lists him as "Chief Proprietor." The chef de cuisine is Nick McCormick, who, according to his bio, trained in Chicago and spent some time working at MK The Restaurant.


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

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I know this is probably too late to provide any assistance, but for the benefit of anyone else who may visit this site looking for St. Louis recommendations I figured I'd provide some information.

Tony's is old school, but the quality does not match the cost. Food is definitely secondary at Tony's.

An American Place doesn't get much attention in St. Louis after it's last chef left (Josh Galliano)for Monarch. I wouldn't recommend it.

For anyone coming to St. Louis here's where you need to eat:

Niche

Farmhaus

Monarch

Sidney Street Cafe

A notch or so below:

Five

Franco

The Crossing

Acero

Araka- just got a new chef that is making it worth a try

Brasserie by Niche

Harvest

I know St. Louis has a reputation for Italian food, but unfortunately it is more of a myth than reality. Sure there is the Hill where there are many Italian restaurants, but most are terrible in that all you find is red sauce poured over mountains of noodles. It's a product of hometown loyalty skewing reality.

There was a commenter that wrote that from their research it seems that all the good places to eat are in the suburbs.I can assure everyone that this is completely false. There is nothing worthwhile in the St. Louis suburbs. 99% of the places that are worth visiting are all in the Central West End, Lafeyette Square/Soulard/Benton Park neighborhoods or Clayton with the main exception being Farmhaus.

St. Louis has some decent restaurants and it has come along way in recent years, but anyone coming from cities like Chicago, NY, SF will not find anything too enlightening. Farmhaus, Niche, Monarch and Sidney Street Cafe are the city's best and are all run by chefs who really care about what they do and are trying very hard to make progress.

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I know this is probably too late to provide any assistance, but for the benefit of anyone else who may visit this site looking for St. Louis recommendations I figured I'd provide some information.

Tony's is old school, but the quality does not match the cost. Food is definitely secondary at Tony's.

An American Place doesn't get much attention in St. Louis after it's last chef left (Josh Galliano)for Monarch. I wouldn't recommend it.

For anyone coming to St. Louis here's where you need to eat:

Niche

Farmhaus

Monarch

Sidney Street Cafe

A notch or so below:

Five

Franco

The Crossing

Acero

Araka- just got a new chef that is making it worth a try

Brasserie by Niche

Harvest

I know St. Louis has a reputation for Italian food, but unfortunately it is more of a myth than reality. Sure there is the Hill where there are many Italian restaurants, but most are terrible in that all you find is red sauce poured over mountains of noodles. It's a product of hometown loyalty skewing reality.

There was a commenter that wrote that from their research it seems that all the good places to eat are in the suburbs.I can assure everyone that this is completely false. There is nothing worthwhile in the St. Louis suburbs. 99% of the places that are worth visiting are all in the Central West End, Lafeyette Square/Soulard/Benton Park neighborhoods or Clayton with the main exception being Farmhaus.

St. Louis has some decent restaurants and it has come along way in recent years, but anyone coming from cities like Chicago, NY, SF will not find anything too enlightening. Farmhaus, Niche, Monarch and Sidney Street Cafe are the city's best and are all run by chefs who really care about what they do and are trying very hard to make progress.

Thank you for the information, Michael, and welcome to eGullet. And no, you're not too late at all. In fact, your timing is impeccable; Ms. Alex was planning on making reservations later today.


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

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Glad I could help. I hope you enjoy your visit and eat well.

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I was in St. Louis last week and had a few restaurant meals. The one dinner was at Franco, in the Soulard neighborhood, where I once lived. A good meal, not innovative but well done. Starters were excellent and portions were big--the pates were especially memorable. For a main I had pecan crusted trout with french lentils and root vegetables (perfectly cooked and seasoned carrots and parnips--how often are you wowed by root vegetables?). Big loft space, casual atmosphere, good service. The carte de vins was odd, short with no real focus. The waitress couldn't answer any questions about the wine but to her credit offered to consult with staff who could. Of my two potential choices she came back to recommend the least expensive of the two, which turned out to be lovely. If you are in the neighborhood, Franco is worth checking out. We had tried unsuccessfully for last minute reservations at Niche and Sidney Street Cafe, both nearby. Niche is new since my time in StL but if Sidney Street is still as good as it once was, I would recommend it in a heartbeat, I was sorry not be to be able to visit again.

My favorite lunch was at an old haunt, the Shlafly Brewery/Tap Room not far from downtown @ 20th and Locust. We started with fried frog legs and spiced shrimp, went on to great burgers with perfect hot, skinny french fries served with homemade spicy ketchup and green peppercorn mayo for dipping. And let's not forget the excellent microbrewed beers--mine was a Scottish ale, really smooth. Upstairs, good local music in the evenings, though sadly I didn't have time during this visit.



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Thanks, Linda. Turns out she decided to go to Franco for one of her dinners, so your timing is impeccable. I'll forward your info to her, and post an update after getting her post-dinner report.


Edited by Alex (log)

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

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Enjoyed cart service dim sum Sunday at LuLu Seafood on Olive, only a two minute drive from my sister's University City home. As good as what I've had in Phila., Vancouver and London (alas, I've yet to make it to Hong Kong). Wide variety, well prepared. Best chicken feet I've ever had . . . of course, I say that each time I eat chicken feet at a dim sum parlor.

We also stopped at a very old school Italian roadhouse, Frank & Helen's, also on Olive. The "broasted" (actually pressure fried, but that's the tradename the equipment manufacturer/seasoning supplier requires) was quite good: moist, tender, crunchy exterior. The pizza looked to be typical St. Louis Provel, which I avoid, but the red gravy basics appeared to be decent. I went with the Wednesday special, country fried steak (can't find one I won't choke on in Phia.), my sister the broasted chicken. Plus toasted ravioli (not greasy) accompanied by a fine red gravy.

Overall all, a cheap meal, filling, tasty. They are what they are and what they do they do well. Just don't expect anything hifalutin'.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Another week in St. Louis ended this past Wednesday, but not before a visit Ted Drewes, the landmark custard stand in the city's south side on Chippewaw Avenue, a.k.a. Route 66.

Since the temperatures were in the low 80s, the frozen dessert hit the spot. Only one flavor, vanilla, but you can have it mixed with a couple of dozen different flavors, or build various sundaes. Along with gooey butter cake and "toasted" ravioli, Ted Drewes is one of the Gateway City's great contributions to the American culinary tradition. (Wisconsin is big on frozen custard, too, and I'll try that late next month.)

The other culinary high points of my visit: a return visit to Lulu's for chicken feet and a lamb burger at the Schlafly Tap Room, a brewpub downtown, which makes a far better brew than its larger St. Louis competitor.

A decided miss was the pastrami served by Lester's Sports Bar & Grill. I was sent there by a local who original hails from central New Jersey. He claimed Lester's pastrami was better than Carnegie Deli's. I doubted that, but I still should have known better. Even though the restaurant is owned by a Brooklyn-born octagenarian millionaire, the pastrami was a royal flop. The flavor wasn't terrible but the meat was all wrong. Where Carnegie, Katz's and Philadelphia's Herschel's and Famous use beef navel, Lester uses brisket. Good for corned beef. Wrong for pastrami.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Any more updates on this thread? I will be leaving Friday to spend a week between the Hyatt Regency at the Arches and the Americas Center. Looking for moderately prices meals within hiking distance of either...

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I'm going to second donk79's request here: any recent updates in the STL dining scene? I'm particularly interested in unusual or particularly well-done lower-end dining, though I'm sure I'll make it to one "nice" place while I'm there.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Low end dining...you can probably still find fried brain sandwiches if you look for them. Then there's the St. Paul sandwich, sort of like egg foo yung on white bread, with mayo, lettuce, tomato, and pickles.

If you have a car, frozen custard at Ted Drewes is a classic. Gooey butter cake may kill you but it is good. I loathed the St Louis style pizza (cracker crust, provel cheese...don't ask) but you may want to say that you've tried it.

St. Louis has a very large Bosnian community and there are some good family style restaurants in South St. Louis. The bread is addictive, even the New York Times agrees.

You can also get surprisingly decent cajun food in St. Louis. Crawfish abounds at the some of the blues bars in town.

There are a number of microbreweries in STL, but I don't know all the new ones. When in town I still go to the Tap Room for Schlafly's beer, which is great, and their burgers and fries are wonderful.



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I've got a friend going to St. Louis in the next week. She's looking for something in the $30-$40 per person range. She didn't specify any particular cuisine. Any recommendations? I haven't been to St. Louis in years, so I'm out of date.

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I suggest two excellent newer restaurants:

Olio: Very new, eclectic, casual and inexpensive, http://oliostl.com/menu_food.html

Stellina Pasta: This is a greatly overlooked fabulous Italian restaurant. Everything is freshly made every day. www.stellinapasta.com/#menu-item-261

Tim

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