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Mar 22, 2018
Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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The shape of apps to come
By Kathy and Russ Carr • Photos by Jonathan S. Pollack
Posted On: 03/01/2009   

Kathy: There’s no question that toasted ravioli holds this city in an iron grip as the go-to of Italian appetizers.

Russ: Oh, it’s way beyond that. I’m pretty sure I saw someone munching t-ravs at a Korean place last week.

K: It’s pretty well accepted that they’re a St. Louis invention, so the hometown affection is understandable. But if you walked into a restaurant in Sicily, you’d be out of luck. So we present an Old World substitute for toasted ravioli: arancini.

R: It’s starchy. It’s cheesy. It’s deep-fried. Folks, you’re gonna love this.

Kathy and Russ’ arancini profile: The concept scores high: a ball of risotto, stuffed with meat and veggies, then breaded, deep-fried and served with sauce.

Onesto Pizza & Trattoria
5401 Finkman St., St. Louis · 314.802.8883
Mon., Wed. and Thu. – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. and Sat. – 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sun. – 3 to 9 p.m.; closed Tue.

R: Onesto’s seemed like the definitive arancini, like what your mama would make if you grew up in Palermo. About as big as an orange. A zesty red sauce with just a little meat in it. A few peas stuffed inside in some token nod toward health.
K: The rice was rich and creamy, and the breading made a perfect golden shell. It reminded me of deep-fried macaroni and cheese, but not as heavy.
R: Believe me, if these arancini were bite-sized, there’s no doubt I could pop them down one after another.
K: So because only one comes in the order, shouldn’t it be arancina? Or arancino?
R: Why worry about it? Next time, we’ll just order two.

Lorenzo’s Trattoria
1933 Edwards St., St. Louis · 314.773.2223
Tue. to Thu. – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m., Fri. – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m., Sat. – 5 to 11 p.m., Sun. – 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

R: Lorenzo’s takes it a step beyond and covers the arancini with melted mozzarella.
K: As a cheese-lover, I have no problem with that. But as an arancini-lover, it’s kind of problematic. The cheese made the breading soggy.
R: It did make them trickier to cut into. Point in its favor: The meat inside was Italian sausage, not ground beef.
K: Yeah, but the risotto wasn’t very creamy, and parts even seemed a little undercooked. I’d like to see them get the essentials down before they wrapped them in cheese.

Vito’s Sicilian Pizzeria & Ristorante
3515 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis · 314-534-8486
Mon. and Tue. – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Wed. and Thu. – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri. – 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., Sat. – 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.

R: OK, if Onesto’s is home-style arancini, Vito’s is the version that should be required bar food in every joint in St. Louis.
K: These were ooey, gooey and so, so good.
R: Vito’s got it right and put the cheese on the inside. All of the melty dairy goodness, but the little golden shells stayed crisp, even under a splash of marinara sauce.
K: There were three arancini in an appetizer, and they didn’t seem that much smaller than the others we’ve had. But somehow they disappeared so much faster.
R: I think it was because we were sitting at the bar for a change. There were more distractions, so you didn’t notice that you were eating so quickly.
K: Oh, believe me, I was aware of every bite.
R: Yeah, me too. I could have eaten a couple more.
K: Fortunately there was a basket of fresh bread, too, to swab up the rest of the sauce.
R: Yeah, we cleaned that plate so thoroughly, it was as good as washed.

La Gra Italian Tapas
1227 Tamm Ave., St. Louis · 314.645.3972
Lunch: Tue. to Sun. – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner: Tue. to Sat. – 5 to 10 p.m. (bar − until 1:30 a.m.), Sun. – 5 to 10 p.m.

K: La Gra sure was fast to the table.
R: True, it seemed like almost no time at all passed between placing our order and getting our two arancini. But maybe that was a little bit of a problem.
K: These were clearly the smallest of all the ones we tried. It didn’t seem like they were more than five or six bites each.
R: It’s a tapas place; small portions is the point, right?
K: I guess, but I think I got spoiled from our other excursions. These lacked breading or crust in part because they came out covered in a creamy sauce. Ask for it on the side.
R: The menu said there would be prosciutto inside but I never found any. Some sautéed mushrooms and onions, yes, but no prosciutto.
K: I just think with a little more time, these could have been a little better. A little crisper. The flavor was good, they just lacked something to give them substance.
R: Something like love?
K: OK, sure. “Love.” And about 30 seconds more in the deep fryer.

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DATE: 03/05/2009 04:41PM    POSTED BY: phoenee
Please come visit Columbia for fabulous arancini at Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar. They are so amazing and the flavors change. We went last night and it was Mushroom risotto with Methuselah cheese inside, oh my word....so good! www.bleurestaurantandwinebar.com

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