Fashionably Late: Where to eat well past 11 p.m.The time is – wait, it’s a starry summer night. Who cares? While St. Louis may be a city that sometimes sleeps, it’s still possible to get a hot meal long after sunset. Our suggestion: Taco-block and pass on pancakes in favor of something finer. Alternatives await – even if it’s almost 4 a.m.
Blue Ocean Sushi
609 Eastgate Ave., University City, 314.721.9168, www.blueoceansushi.com
Blue Ocean Sushi in The Loop combines Japanese cuisine with a dining style born in America: all you can eat. And on Fridays and Saturdays, the sushi rolls out of the kitchen until 12 a.m. If you choose AYCE – à la carte is available too – don’t expect to belly up to a buffet. AYCE diners order from a three-tiered menu that offers plenty for novices and enough for most everyone else. One dynamite pick: the TNT roll with tuna, yellowtail, salmon, pickled radish and eel sauce. But the most Japanese-American way to satisfy a late-night appetite is the cheeseburger roll, a rice-wrapped bundle of beef and American cheese dressed with ketchup.
6144 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314.727.6633,
After serving its cornmeal-crust pizza in the White House last spring, Pi has drawn lively crowds of its fellow Americans day in and night out. The East Loop eatery burns the midnight oil Monday through Saturday, both inside and on the patio. A short but solid lineup of apps and salads can tide you over while you wait for the Bucktown, a deep-dish favorite that dazzles with roasted chicken and veggies galore, or the North Beach Classico, a thin-crust charmer stacked with sausage, among other picks. Good news, by the way, for countians: Late-night sustenance will also be offered at Pi Squared, slated to open next month at 10935 Manchester Road in Kirkwood.
Vin de Set
2017 Chouteau Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.8989, www.vindeset.com
Up on the rooftop at Vin de Set, white string lights shine on diners until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. (The air-conditioned dining rooms stay open, too.) The French-inspired restaurant in Lafayette Square lures the late set with a happy hour from 10 p.m. until midnight. At the outdoor bar, full-portion appetizers such as buttermilk-fried frog legs and escargot paired with puff pastry are yours for half price. Vin de Set also trims a dollar off Schlafly drafts and selected cocktails. While sipping on the night’s last round of drinks, you can dive into grilled Missouri trout served with asparagus, coconut-milk beurre blanc and mango relish, or an absorbent order of flatiron steak and frites.
3919 W. Pine Blvd., St. Louis, 314.531.7500, www.cafeventana.com
From the Abita to the beignets to the French Quarter relics, Café Ventana in Midtown nods often to New Orleans. And on Fridays and Saturdays, the gas lanterns glow until midnight. Open-air dining is possible on three starry patios. The unfussy late-night menu features five upscale sandwiches and two varieties of beignets (we prefer the one filled with dark chocolate). But first, something savory such as a salmon club or a muffuletta sandwich: olive salad, capicola, salami, mortadella and cheeses. Whether you fill your cup with a Sazerac or a double espresso will depend on how soon you plan on calling it a night.
603 E. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, 314.963.3232, www.cyranos.com
Cyrano’s in Webster Groves, a good neighbor to The Rep, lends itself perfectly to dinner and a show – or as the case may be, a show followed by dinner. On Friday and Saturday nights, the kitchen doesn’t close until the clock strikes 12. Desserts such as chocolate cupcakes sprinkled with bacon and fleur de sel live up to their sweet reputation. Bravo, pastry chef and partner Carolyn Downs. Equal applause for cornmeal-dusted tilapia with lemon-dill aïoli and herb-roasted pork tenderloin. At the very least, you can keep from retiring on an empty stomach with a few fab tapas.
4584 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.361.4848, www.moxybistro.com
Taking culinary cues from Asia, Europe and the West Indies, Moxy Bistro serves cosmopolites until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Chef-about-town Eric Brenner offers a world of flavors in dishes such as seared tuna with sushi rice, wasabi mayo and ginger; filet with horseradish potatoes, onion jam and Gorgonzola sauce; and Cuban-style pork with sweet potato casserole, black beans and guava barbecue sauce. Most three-course prix fixe menus cost a modest $35. Reservations recommended. The Central West End gem seats 50 – and the additional spots on the patio go to whichever night owls fly in first.
TILL 1:30 A.M.
Sub Zero Vodka Bar
308 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.367.1200, www.subzerovodkabar.com
First, you’ll valet. Next you’ll slither, catlike, to a table. Then – as dim light sheds a good decade off your age – you’ll tell a suave server, “To start, we’ll share the octopus salad. I’d also like a lamb burger – feel free to spread the hummus on thick.” At Sub Zero Vodka Bar in the Central West End, diners prowl until 1:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday. (On Sunday, last call for dinner is at 11:30 p.m.) Build your own gourmet burgers and salads, or stick with abundant sushi. With more than 200 vodkas in the house, Sub Zero has your nightcap covered too. Speaking of spirits: Infused martinis and A-B products are half off Monday through Thursday from 11 p.m. to close. Ditto all apps.
TILL 2:00 A.M.
5098 Arsenal St., St. Louis, 314.601.3456,
Open nightly until 2 a.m., Sandrina’s saves the day – make that evening – when diners and drive-thrus might seem to be your only options. Start off with beef tataki or a beet salad sprinkled with feta and sunflower seeds. The South City bar does right by entrées such as bacon-wrapped meatloaf, chile-rubbed pork tenderloin and vegetarian lasagna. Keep the comfort food coming? Certainly. Sandrina’s also serves strip steak sandwiches, triple grilled cheese and at least five varieties of sliders, including duck confit, falafel and oyster.
TILL 3:00 A.M.
3515 Lindell Blvd., 314.534.8486, St. Louis, www.vitosstl.com
You still up? On Fridays and Saturdays, Vito’s in Midtown keeps it cooking until 3 a.m. Only pizzas are available late night, though you’ll have nearly 30 options. Handtossed specialties include La Diavola with salami picante and the cheeseless Pescatore with mussels, salmon, shrimp and calamari. The six thick-crust picks – these have a slightly longer baking time, so if you’re famished, call an order in on the way – are generously topped with Vito’s lively Sicilian sauce. If you’re in the mood for whole-wheat crust, you can’t go wrong with roasted chicken, scallions and shiitakes.
TILL 3:30 A.M.
3108 Olive St., 314.371.1718, St. Louis, www.theustl.com
Thank goodness no one’s waiting up for you. The U in Midtown serves a full roster of sandwiches, salads and burgers until 3:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday. (During summer hours, which end mid-August, The U closes “early” at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.) The flip-flop-friendly eatery tops sammies like the sesame tofu and the UBen, a Reuben riff, liberally. And what’s more apropos in the wee hours than the slinger burger, complete with the requisite fried egg? While you’re regressing to your collegiate eating habits, get the loaded fries buried in chili, cheese, green onion and bacon.
Nachos? Not quite. Here’s where chefs do big things with small plates after midnight.
Monday through Saturday until 1 a.m., Baileys’ Chocolate Bar in Lafayette Square serves respectable pizzettas, sandwiches and salads. Cheese plates are embellished by breads, nuts, dried fruit and – depending on your companion – late-night romance. 1915 Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.8100, www.baileyschocolatebar.com.
Nibble now, moon-gaze later. Eclipse Restaurant in the East Loop offers a late-night menu – both in the bar and dining room – every day until 2 a.m. Items such as mini sloppy Joes and hand-cut truffle fries offer astronomical comfort. 6177 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314.726.2222, www.eclipsestlouis.com.
Downtown’s Mosaic Modern Fusion Restaurant gets its second wind next door at the slinky new Mosaic Lounge, open daily. Things may shut down early when it’s slow – call ahead. Otherwise, a smattering of dishes including ahi tartare and pork pot stickers is available until 2 a.m. 1001 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.621.6001, www.mosaictapas.com.
Niche Taste Bar, the sexy new sidekick of Niche Restaurant in Benton Park, makes every bite count. Duck in Tuesday through Saturday until 12:30 a.m. for a fluid lineup of fine nibblies such as pineapple-escolar-chorizo skewers paired with fierce cocktails by mixologist Ted Kilgore. 1831 Sidney St., St. Louis, 314.773.7755, www.nichestlouis.com.
Both locations of Sasha’s Wine Bar – in the DeMun and Tower Grove neighborhoods – serve substantial eats Monday through Saturday until 1 a.m. There’s cheese, of course, and much more: crêpes, salads and pizzas plus a handful of hot plates such as lamb chops served over orzo. 706 DeMun Ave., Clayton, 314.863.7274 and 4069 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, 314.771.7274,