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Feb 23, 2018
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Hit List

Hit List: 4 new places to try this February

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

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1. Billie-Jean
7610 Wydown Blvd., Clayton, 314.797.8484, billiejeanstl.com

Zoe Robinson’s restaurants have long been at the top of every local gourmand’s go-to list, and her latest, Billie-Jean, looks to continue that tradition. Located just down the block from Robinson’s I Fratellini and Bar Les Frères, the exterior of Billie-Jean is a study in elegant understatement. Past the stealthy entrance is a bit of midtown Manhattan in St. Louis. The interior is rife with contrast – black and white, organic and industrial, frenetic and intimate – creating a vibrant, kinetic atmosphere. To complement this ambience, Robinson and her longtime collaborator, executive chef Ny Vongsaly, have put together a tight menu of dishes that deftly combine Asian and European influences, like a dumpling soup rife with tender mushrooms and redolent of lemongrass and lime leaf, a pan full of baked quail eggs and roasted tomatoes still on the vine and a whole roasted snapper topped with an herbal cilantro-lime leaf salsa verde.

 

2. Casa Juárez Mexican Town
12710 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, 314.317.9404, casajuarezstl.com

Spicy, cheesy, saucy Tex-Mex satisfies all our comfort cravings, and Casa Juárez is no exception. Already a packed restaurant on opening day, diners danced with a mariachi band and people waiting for a table were offered complimentary tequila shots to make the wait time fly by. Don’t let those shots stop you from ordering a margarita flight when you sit down: three margaritas made with different tequilas start things on the right foot. Pair that with chips, salsa and guacamole, and you could stop there. But the menu, like the space, is huge, ranging from fajitas served with super fresh house-made flour tortillas, to crispy-crunchy chimichangas. The enchiladas supremas won us over, mostly because we love a sampler plate and it offered four different enchiladas: chicken and mole, beef with red sauce, bean with cheese dip and a cheese enchilada with salsa verde. Or go for gourmet tacos like the tacos del norte with grilled chicken, chorizo and salsa verde or a classic al pastor. Just be prepared for a wait – and a friendly shot of tequila with your name on it.

 

3. Parm Pasta & Sandwich Co.
2619 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.833.3034, Facebook: Parm Pasta & Sandwich Co.

Next time you’re craving sweet Italian-American tomato sauce and piles of Provel for lunch, head to Cherokee Street instead of The Hill. Along with mostaccioli in meat sauce, Parm Pasta & Sandwich Co. offers a half-dozen Italian sandwiches to go that will completely ruin your afternoon plans. Mysteriously, there is no chicken Parmesan on the menu, but the eggplant Parmesan will satisfy any craving with loads of sauce, gooey cheese and the rich fried vegetable. The meatball sub was another favorite, with enormous, flavorful spheres of tender ground beef in that classic red sauce. You may not be able to finish a whole sandwich, but you’ll have a grand time trying.

 

4. Honey Pit Smokehouse
951 S. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, 314.698.2121, honeypitsmokehouse.com

Kirkwood finally has a barbecue restaurant to call its own. Honey Pit Smokehouse features the usual meaty suspects, all with telltale pink rings boasting time in the restaurant’s water smokers. According to owners Zach Fagas and father-and-son team Shane Mihaljevic and Shane Mihaljevic Jr., these devices use steam and smoke to keep meat extra tender. Honey Pit’s best work is found on the ribs that just barely cling to the bone, the turkey that stays moist and smoky long after slicing and the Louisiana hot links with a satisfying snap on the first bite. Whatever you choose, make sure you grab a side of seasoned, battered fries and light, slightly sweet cornbread muffins – both perfect vehicles for sopping up any leftover sauce.

 

Photo by Michelle Volansky

Hit List: 10 new places to try in January

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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1. Louie
706 Demun Ave., Clayton, 314.300.8188, louiedemun.com

Anyone who still raves about King Louie’s – 10 years after its closing – has probably dined at Louie multiple times by now. But newbies will also make plans for a return visit before their first is even finished. The latest venture from Matt McGuire, former owner of King Louie’s and a Niche Food Group alum, offers a sophisticated but laid-back vibe with low, moody lighting and plenty of Instagram-worthy design elements. (That wallpaper!) McGuire’s love for Italian wine is reflected in the extensive selection of unique offerings meant to pair with the small menu. The kitchen offers a well-chosen list of hearty salads, memorable sides (do not, under any circumstances, miss the cauliflower fritto), wood-fired pizzas, house-made pastas like butternut squash-stuffed agnolotti and satisfying entrees, including a thick-cut, bone-in pork chop with shishito peppers and an herbaceous chermoula sauce. This Louie is a worthy successor to the King; we’ll be back – a lot.

 

2. Poke Doke
8 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.5900, Facebook: Poke Doke

With poke (the super popular Hawaiian raw fish dish) making appearances on menus all over town, it was only a matter of time before a dedicated poke-only place opened its doors. Poke Doke applies the build-your-own concept to poke with predictably tasty results. Choose a base of sushi rice, soba noodles, salad or wonton chips, then add your choice of fish, sauce, toppings and “drizzles” for a custom creation. There’s also a selection of bubble milk teas and a la carte items like crab Rangoon, miso soup and pot stickers to round things out. Do your palate a solid and say aloha to Poke Doke.

 

This Thanksgiving-inspired dish features a turkey sausage topped with roasted Granny Smith apples and cranberry mostarda.

 

3. Frankly on Cherokee
2744 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.449.1178, franklysausages.com

Frankly Sausages food truck fans already know: This place has the best fries. The fact that these brined, double-fried, exquisitely crisp and tender fries are now available all the time in a brick-and-mortar – and on the bar-hopping mecca Cherokee Street, no less – might be a problem for us. The whole menu is worth the trip with house-made sausages from a classic hot dog and brat to a rich, savory wild boar sausage topped with bright pickled red onion and mildly sweet roasted apple. With the four walls (one of which boasts a huge black-and-white pig painting), tables and chairs, comes a sweet, honey-topped butternut squash salad, balsamic onions-studded chicken liver crostini and the promise of more shareable plates to come.

 

4. Parlor
4170 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.4999, parlorstl.com

Relive your ’90s mall arcade dreams at Parlor, The Grove’s newest spot for booze, skee-ball and throwback console games. George Clinton-esque funk trumpets your arrival when you step inside and puts you in the mood to game all night. Start at the bar and order a sweet and fruity Parlor’s Cup, a mix of St. George gin, Pimm’s, lime, passion fruit and Pineapple Vess tempered with cucumber and herbal Chartreuse. Purists should opt for a simple daiquiri with Plantation Three Star, sugar and lime. Cans reign at Parlor; a beer list name drops favorites like 2nd Shift Brewing Co. and Evil Twin, while canned wines include rosés, reds and whites. Drink in hand, hit the dining room and line up for skee-ball, unleash your inner pinball wizard at one of four machines or go for the kill in “Mortal Kombat II.” Forget parking meters or laundromats; your quarters have a new purpose.

 

Local artist Marissa Todd painted The Clover and the Bee’s signature floral mural.

 

5. The Clover & The Bee
100 W. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, thecloverandthebee.com

Fans of sister restaurant Olive & Oak have waited impatiently for The Clover and The Bee to open since the concept was announced. Despite the whimsical name inspired by an Emily Dickinson poem, the stunning new Webster Groves breakfast and lunch spot is chic as hell. The small menu changes frequently, but always includes well-executed classics and thoughtful salads, sandwiches and entrees served in a lavish setting of emerald banquettes, gold chairs and an arresting floral mural in the back. Try the super rich chicken hand pie or the tender smoked flank steak, served over a warm potato salad tossed with hints of kale, Asiago and a Caesar dressing that affects you more than you thought a dressing could. A to-go window makes it easy to pick up coffee, grab-and-go snacks (crab dip!) and baked goods.

 

6. Knead Bakehouse & Provisions
3467 Hampton Ave., St. Louis, 314.376.4361, kneadbakehouse.com

Farmers market fans of Knead bread can now swing by the bakery’s brick-and-mortar in the Lindenwood Park neighborhood for fresh loaves of country bread or brioche. During early visits, snag a sugary morning bun while you wait, or stop by midday for a quick lunch. All sandwiches are served hot or cold with microgreens, tomato, smoked Gouda, herb aioli, whole-grain mustard and house pickles. Opt for half a warm smoked brisket sammie served on buttered, toasted slices of country loaf. Make the other half of your pick-two meal the Kale & Kefir salad, a playful take on a Caesar with lacinato kale, puffed wheatberries, pecans and a tangy kefir-based dressing. Wash it all down with a house botanical soda like the grapefruit and juniper flavor with fresh mint.

 

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7. Mothership
Earthbound Beer, 2724 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.769.9576, mothershipsaintlouis.com

The kitchen team from Vista Ramen has started serving up a new menu inside the recently expanded Earthbound Beer, and we love everything about that. The menu offers plenty of smoked meats and tasty sides with that Vista touch. The potato salad is made with Kewpie mayo, the cornbread is served with gochujang honey butter, and the pork plate can be topped with five different house barbecue sauces, including a sweet Korean barbecue and super spicy pomegranate jerk. Try the surprising smoked turkey pita (fall-apart slices of turkey topped with yogurt, house pickles and sumac) with your Liquid Toast (an unexpected wheat beer from Earthbound’s constantly shifting menu).

 

8. Fiddlehead Fern Cafe
4066 Russell Blvd., St. Louis, 314.972.2637, Facebook: Fiddlehead Fern Cafe

Fiddlehead Fern Cafe is where we’ll be posting up for our next coffee meeting or long writing day. The cool, spare space, with concrete floors, bleached wood tables and stark white walls hung with floral art photography, is warmed by bulb light fixtures, bud vases on every table and super-friendly service that’s already attracting Shaw neighborhood regulars. A solid coffee program featuring Georgia-based PERC beans is supplemented by a short menu focused on loaded toasts to calm your caffeine buzz. We like the smashed chickpea toast, topped with radishes and balsamic vinegar – or go for a house-made cranberry-rosemary scone if you just need a bite to go with your cortado. Wine and local Heirloom Bottling Co. shrub cocktails are also available, if that’s how your meeting’s going.

 

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9. Shake Shack
60 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.627.5518, shakeshack.com

ICYMI, a little burger-and-shake joint opened in the Central West End last month. Yes, famed restaurateur Danny Meyer has finally brought his internationally popular Shake Shack to his hometown, and lines of St. Louisans have snaked around the building since its debut. When you finally get to the counter, a classic ShackBurger is a must; the buttery toasted bun stands up to a seasoned, crisp-edged smash patty, gooey American cheese and house mayo-based sauce. Crunchy crinkle-cut cheese fries are also required eating for first-timers. Once you’ve checked those off your list, expand your horizons with an ultra-crispy Chick’n Shack sandwich or an indulgent Mound City Double – two smashed patties glued together with Provel cheese and topped with local Niman Ranch bacon.

 

10. Squatter’s Café
3524 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.925.7556, squatterscafe.com

James Beard-nominated chef Rob Connoley will launch his much-anticipated fine dining restaurant, Bulrush, this year. Until then, diners can get a taste of his creativity at the tiny Squatter’s Café, with a small, oft-changing menu of surprising “hyper-local daytime classics.” Start your morning with a house-made English muffin crowned with a dome of butternut squash hiding a soft-cooked egg and creamy goat cheese. Or the simply billed Meat & Beans on the lunch menu, Connoley’s version of cassoulet with shredded confit chicken, sausage coins and plump cannellini beans crowned with a delectable pork gyoza. Lighter options include the Veg Marrow, hollowed out roasted carrot halves filled with beet puree served with seed crackers, greens and an English muffin. Save room for dessert; the cinnamon-brown sugar pop tart is better than any prepackaged breakfast pastry you’ll ever try.

Louie, Frankly on Cherokee and The Clover and The Bee photos by Michelle Volansky; Mothership photo by Meera Nagarajan; Shake Shack photo by Caitlin Lally

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• Sauce Magazine: January 2018

• Best New Restaurant of 2017: Vicia

• Hit List: 4 new places to try this November

Hit List: 4 new places to try this November

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

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1. St. Louis Soup Dumplings
8110 Olive Blvd., University City, 314.445.4605, Facebook: Soup Dumplings STL

If you’ve tried the xiao long bao at Private Kitchen, you probably freaked out as much as we did when owners Lawrence Chen and Emily Yang opened a soup dumpling shop a couple doors down. And St. Louis Soup Dumplings does not disappoint. We like the unctuous, almost-sweet beef dumplings, swimming in a rich broth and hand-folded in perfectly thin and tender wrappings. Pull up a chair and wait for a complimentary bowl of broth before your bamboo steam basket of bliss arrives. If you’re new to xiao long bao, don’t worry. Yang may check that you’re correctly consuming your dumplings: first, scoop a dumpling into your spoon, then break it open and sip the broth before eating the rest.

 

2. The Capital Grille
101 S. Hanley Road, Clayton, 314.725.0930, thecapitalgrille.com

From flawless steaks and perfectly cooked fish to, yes, a creamy blue cheese wedge, The Capital Grille offers exactly what a steakhouse should. The service is impeccable; the decor is luxe; the lighting is dim. But what really delivers is the food. The classic wedge salad was equal parts fresh and rich, and a dry-aged Kansas City strip came gorgeously pink and tender. The savory seared halibut with sake-braised mushrooms and miso butter fell into flakes at the mere suggestion of a fork. A steakhouse should feel this expensive – and this one is worth every dollar.

 

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3. BLK MKT Eats
9 S. Vandeventer Ave., St. Louis, 314.304.8420, blkmkteats.com

The coastal trend of sushi burritos has finally hit St. Louis at BLK MKT Eats. Each menu item can be made as a burrito-sized sushi roll wrapped in nori or a bowl with seasoned rice and greens. First-timers should try the OG Fire with a choice of spicy salmon or tuna, Persian cucumber, crispy shallots and tempura crunchies, masago, jalapeno and a creamy, slightly spicy sauce. Lox lovers shouldn’t miss the Swedish Fish made with Scandinavian cured salmon and served with a lemony Yuzu Gold sauce. Ravenous? Order Seoul Delicious Nachos with sticky glazed chicken bites atop addictive house wonton chips with a jumble of greens, kimchi slaw, carrots, house-made BLK MKT pickles, crispy shallots and tempura crunch, scallions and a gochujang mayo. With rapid assembly-line service, we’ve found our new grab-and-go lunch spot.

 

4. Extra Brut
16 S. Bemiston Ave., Clayton, 314.669.9170, extrabrutstl.com
It’s nearly impossible to screw up a Champagne and oyster bar, but Extra Brut makes most look shoddy in comparison. Next door to sister restaurant Louie’s Wine Dive, this Friday- and Saturday-only hideaway sports no exterior signage. Grab a seat at the swanky, candle-lit bar and order a bottle of the Slovenian Rubela for an interesting, balanced bubbly with savory notes from the diverse list of international sparkling wines. Along with a mixed dozen from the rotating raw oyster menu, do not miss the charbroiled umami-packed oysters Bienville. These shockingly rich shells stuffed and baked with bechamel, shrimp, bacon and cremini mushrooms will carry you through to another bottle.

 

Photos by Michelle Volansky

Hit List: 5 new places you must try this October

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

From new restaurants in New Town to southern tradition in The Grove, here are five new restaurants you can’t miss this month.

 

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1. Pangea
3245 Rue Royale, St. Charles, 636.757.3579, pangeaworldfusion.com

Chef Jessie Gilroy (Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2015 and former sous chef at Sidney Street Cafe) has brought her brand of culinary creativity to The New Town in St. Charles. The aptly named Pangea incorporates a wide swath of international ingredients and flavors. For starters, the ricotta gnudi, cooked in brown butter and accented with leeks and a variety of herbs, makes a rich and comforting appetizer. On the other side of the flavor spectrum, salmon crudo, topped with crisp pickled cucumber and radish, is a bright, fresh way to start things off. Mains run the gamut from a three-cheese risotto to a jerk-spiced chicken with cilantro-lime crema. Don’t miss the potato-crusted snapper, a melt-in-your-mouth preparation served with chunks of beets and a pea-herb puree. Then round out your meal with the lightly sweet macaroon, a wedge of almond cake topped with buttercream and strawberries.

 

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2. West Port Social
910 Westport Plaza Drive, Maryland Heights, 314.548.2876, westportsocial-stl.com

Westport Social isn’t your typical sports bar. There are massive TVs everywhere, but the design is stylish and modern with muted colors, wood paneling and sleek leather furniture. You can watch sports or play them instead. Everything from pingpong to hoops to bocce ball is available to feed your competitive spirit. Since its best to play armed with a drink in hand, bar manager Kyle Mathis, formerly of Niche Food Group, developed a cocktail menu set for victory. Try the Spritz, layered with floral orange flower water, or the Frozen, an icy mix of Fernet Branca Menta, Genepy des Alps, ginger beer and lime. The wine list offers an interesting selection, like a furmint from Tokaji, Hungary, and if beer is your thing, local suds are sure to satisfy. Fuel the competition with shareable options like burnt-end nachos piled high with fresh wonton chips, or edamame – a surprisingly ideal bar snack with an added zip of lime. Even if you hate sports, you’ll enjoy hanging out at Westport Social.

 

3. Taco Buddha
7405 Pershing Ave., University City, 314.502.9951, tacobuddha.com

St. Louis taco lovers just got another spot in University City. Taco Buddha offers its international take on substantial rotating offerings – three of these tacos will sate the most ravenous appetite. Start your morning with breakfast tacos. We’re partial to the spinach, egg and cheese or the spicier chorizo, egg and cheese. Both offer generous helpings of fluffy scrambled eggs and gooey Monterey jack cheese, perfect for dipping into the smoky green chile sauce. When it’s available, snatch up a Thai Street Beef taco, which fills a flour tortilla with tender marinated beef topped with crunchy cabbage slaw, cotija cheese and a chile crema. The humble Veggie Saute taco won our hearts with a jumble of sauteed mushrooms, squash and green peppers wrapped in a flour tortilla and topped with that cabbage slaw and a crisp, creamy fried avocado wedge.

 

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4. The Cut
2635 Cherokee Street, St. Louis, Facebook: The Cut

Chef Ari Jo Ellis (Sauce Ones To Watch class of 2016) made a name for herself working in such local establishments as Southern, Quincy Street Bistro, Bolyard’s Meats & Provisions and Kounter Kulture. Last month, she struck out on her own, opening The Cut inside The Fortune Teller Bar on Cherokee Street with a tight menu of artisan sausages and sides. Sausage choices range from The OG, a traditional bratwurst served up with house-made grain mustard and kraut (both available for purchase by the pint for home use), to the vegetarian Mofu Dawg topped with sunflower-arugula pesto, all on crusty Vitale’s Bakery buns. While the sausages are the main attraction, the sides are just as carefully crafted. Standouts include the sweet and meaty baked beans, spiced up with Red Hot Riplets Seasoning.

 

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5. Grace Meat & Three
4270 Manchester Road, St. Louis, 314.533.2700, stlgrace.com

St. Louis first got a taste of Rick Lewis’ decadent comfort food at Quincy Street Bistro, then experienced his fiery way with fried chicken at Southern. Now he and wife Elisa Lewis bring their southern cuisine to The Grove with Grace Meat & Three. Of course, the menu boasts Rick’s Famous Fried Chicken (served hot or not) and his ever-present fried bologna sandwich, but the sleepers on this menu are worth notice. Starters like creamy white bean hummus spiked with harissa and crisp, succulent chicken livers on toast are worth saving room for, as is the heirloom tomato salad starring a generous dollop of quark farmers cheese and charred onion vinaigrette. Limiting yourself to just three sides could be a challenge; the earthy, sweet and sour greens, gooey mac and cheese, fluffy biscuits and sweet cornbread all deserve a taste. Whatever you choose, plan for a leisurely nap after lunch.

 

Photos by Meera Nagarajan and Michelle Volansky 

Related Content
Sauce Magazine: October 2017

Hit List: 3 new restaurants to try this September

Hit List: 4 new places to try in June

Hit List: 3 new restaurants to try this September

Friday, September 1st, 2017

From a monster food truck to Chinese street food in The Loop, don’t miss these three new restaurants.

 

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1. Nudo House 11423 Olive Blvd., Creve Coeur, 314.274.8046, Facebook: Nudo House STL
St. Louis-area ramen fans have flocked to Nudo House, the long-awaited noodle shop from Mai Lee’s Qui Tran and Marie-Anne Velasco. Step up to the counter and place your order, then watch the team fly in the open kitchen. Bowls of steaming ramen hit the tables – be sure yours is the Shroomed Out, an unctuous vegetarian option filled with springy noodles, rich soymilk-based broth and meaty braised king oyster mushrooms. It’s topped with baby bok choy, pickled bamboo shoots (menma), fragrant garlic oil and a glorious, gooey marinated egg. If you’re looking for something handheld, try the Banh Mi Pho Dip, Nudo’s take on a classic French dip. French bread is stuffed with tender shredded brisket, flank steak and the usual banh mi accouterments, and served alongside a cup of beefy pho broth. Finish your meal with a cone of the rotating house-made soft serve; keep an eye out for lychee and mango.

2. Pie Hard 8201 W. Main St., Belleville, 314.791.3514, piehardpizza.com
Monster food truck Pie Hard eats normal-sized food trucks for breakfast. Chef-owner Michael Pastor stacked a 20-foot shipping container atop a flatbed, then added a 2½-ton pizza oven for good measure. The truck is making its way into St. Louis and the Metroeast for special events, but regularly parks outside its commissary kitchen to fire up 10-inch wood-fired pies. Put that massive rig to work and order pizzas like the Vladi with vodka sauce, pickled shallot, tender meatballs and crisp fried rosemary atop a toothsome, charred crust. Try a Mexican-inspired pie, the Al Pastor, with a sweet-savory mole sauce, shallot, thinly shaved pork belly, cheddar, queso fresco and wedges of sweet pickled pineapple. And save room for dessert: Pie Hard scoops house-made strawberry-balsamic ice cream between two sea salt chocolate chip cookies and tangy lemon gelato between light meringue disks.

3. Bing Bing 567A Melville Ave., University City, 314.669.9229, Facebook: Bing Bing
The newest addition to The Loop’s international bill of fare is actually just off Delmar Boulevard. Bing Bing specializes in jianbing, a popular street food snack in China made up of eggy pancakes. Sturdy enough to handle like a burrito but thin enough to be mistaken for a crepe, these jianbing are offered in two styles: the cornmeal-based Shandong style and the slightly more delicate mung bean-based Tianjin style. Each is filled with a jumble of flavors – smooth scrambled egg, crunchy wonton and slightly sour Chinese pickles. Add your choice of meat and sauce (the slightly sweet barbecue pork married well with the hoisin-like house sauce, while the golden crispy chicken played happily with the teriyaki-based traditional sauce), then watch as it’s all wrapped up to order.

Photo by Michelle Volansky 

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine. 

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What I Do: Marie-Anne Velasco of Nudo House

 

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3 new places to try in August

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

From two new breweries to a seafood boil hotspot, don’t miss these three new places you must try this August.

 

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1. The Mad Crab 8080 Olive Blvd., University City, 314.801.8698, Facebook: The Mad Crab

The Mad Crab brings a classic Gulf meal to the Midwest with built-to-order seafood boils. Settle in at a paper-lined table, then consult with your dining partners and strategize the best combination of market-priced seafood available. Will you try meaty mussels with fresh crawfish or go all out with whole lobster and snow crab legs? Don’t forget to throw in the requisite potatoes and corn on the cob, then turn your attention to the sauces or combine all three in The Whole Sha-Bang for a buttery, garlicky, spicy punch. Don your plastic bibs and grab your crab crackers (or use your bare hands) to devour the shellfish feast with messy abandon. Our only advice: Don’t wear white.

 

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2. Center Ice Brewery 3126 Olive St., St. Louis, centericebrewery.com

You don’t have to love hockey to enjoy Center Ice Brewery. Themed touches – like the low rink wall surrounding the brewing equipment and a penalty box, main bar, tables and tap handles all made in part with material reclaimed from the old St. Louis Arena – lend personality without descending into kitsch. Pull up a stool and order a Hop Shelf IPA from the brewery’s house menu (supplemented by locals like Main & Mill and Charleville Brewing Co.), or opt for the light, summery Off Season Saison to beat the heat. You’ve got a new spot to watch the Blues, but there’s no need to wait for the season opener.

 

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3. Third Wheel Brewing 4008 N. Service Road, St. Peters, 636.323.9810, thirdwheelbrewing.com

It’s good to be a third wheel in St. Peters. Snag a seat at the massive horseshoe-shaped bar and watch brewer and co-owner Abbey Spencer at work through picture windows overlooking the city’s first brewery. Order one of the house brews like the Dyslexic API, an Imperial IPA dry-hopped with Columbus and Simcoe, or the lighter Ophelia’s Wit, a traditional witbier with coriander, orange peel and rosemary. For a German summer experience, sip Going Once… Going Twice… – a flight of four 4-ounce pours of Third Wheel’s Berliner Weiss mixed with a rotating selection of traditional syrups like mint, mulberry or woodruff.

 Photos by Michelle Volansky

Hit List: 4 new places to try in June

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

The Sloppy Joe Joe, named for co-owner Wendy Hamilton’s brother, is served open-faced and doused in beer cheese sauce on spent-grain sourdough.

 

1. Charleville Brewing Co. & Tavern 2101 Chouteau Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.4677, charlevillebeer.com

What happens when you combine a Ste. Genevieve brewhouse with a city-savvy restaurant group? Charleville Brewing Co. & Tavern. The newest partnership between the 14-year-old brewery and Hamilton Hospitality (of Eleven Eleven Mississippi, Vin de Set, et al.) offers a relaxed eatery with a backyard cookout vibe. Choose from 14 Charleville brews on tap like the Long White Cloud, a New Zealand-style Pilsner, or the Rye by Night, a black rye IPA collaboration with Heavy Riff Brewing Co., and peruse an extensive menu of bar snacks and creative takes on comforting classics. Don’t miss the Sloppy Joe Joe, a meaty, cheesy mess served open-faced on spent-grain sourdough that requires a knife and fork, or the house-smoked pastrami sandwich cut thick and generously portioned. Share a pile of South City Fried Chicken Livers with all the smooth creaminess you want (and none of the gaminess you fear). If you’ve managed to save room for dessert, order the classic diner-style apple pie domed with a cinnamon-sugar crumb crust and served a la mode with house-made vanilla ice cream.

 

2. Das Bevo 4749 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314.396.6900, dasbevo.com

Bevo Mill has a new lease on life as Das Bevo. The rejuvenated South City landmark now houses an event space and a modern day Bierhall with a compact, pub-style menu with a German-American accent. The kraut balls – deep-fried spheres of sauerkraut and bratwurst with a side of tangy beer cheese mustard – make a fine accompaniment to a frosty stein of lager. Bigger plates include burgers, sandwiches, sausage boards and specialties like the pork schnitzel, pounded thin, fried and served open-faced on a slice of grilled rye bread and augmented with a bacon and bratwurst gravy and carrot-kraut slaw. Prost!

 
A 20-inch cheese pizza is available whole or by the slice.

 

3. Pizza Head 3196 S. Grand Ave., St. Louis, 314.266.5400, pizzaheadstl.com

Pizza Head is simple: enormous New York-style pies consumed to the tunes of classic punk. The chewy, thin crust – just sturdy enough to support massive slices – is topped with classic red sauce and cheese, creamy white pizza accouterments or vegan “cheese,” then piled high from a list of vegetarian toppings. It’s an edgy, less refined departure for chef-owner Scott Sandler, best known for his meticulous Neapolitan-style pies at Pizzeoli. With just one salad and a handful of drinks, Pizza Head’s barebones menu is focused on specials. Grab some friends and get a 20-inch cheese pizza and four 16-ounce Stags for $25, or dine solo with two cheese slices and a domestic pint for $8.

 

4. Humble Pie 9783 Clayton Road, Ladue, 314.997.7070, eatthehumblepie.com

The team at Fozzie’s Sandwich Emporium has stepped into the pizza game at Humble Pie. Start with fresh, green-tasting pesto chicken salad served atop crisp romaine before digging into your pizza. You can’t go wrong with a classic like pepperoni on super-thin crust, but we also love The Lily Pad pizza on the crispy, focaccia-like Sicilian crust. It comes with herbed ricotta sauce topped with leeks, caramelized onion, portobellos, sausage and a drizzle of truffle oil. And don’t forget dessert – the Gimme S’more pie is filled with a crazy rich, dense hazelnut-chocolate ganache and topped with marshmallow fluff. There’s no reason Humble Pie should be so modest.

Photos by Michelle Volansky

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: June 2017

First Look: Pizza Head on South Grand

First Look: Charleville Brewing Co. & Tavern in Lafayette Square

Hit List: 4 places you must try this May

Monday, May 1st, 2017

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1. Polite Society 1923 Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.325.2553, politesocietystl.com

Class up your nights at Polite Society, an elegant new eatery in Lafayette Square. Relax in one of two cozy, brick-walled dining rooms or pull up a seat at the bar under the massive shelving unit suspended from the ceiling by black metal pipes. Start your meal with thick slices of meaty portobello mushrooms, tempura-battered, fried and served with a poblano pepper coulis. For a richer starter, try the blackened Gulf shrimp served atop cheese grits with a lime crema. Save room for entrees like the Chicken Duet, featuring a roasted chicken breast and confit leg served atop a sweet-savory johnnycake, or indulge with five fat diver scallops, seared and served with lemon-pepper butter and seasonal veggies.

 

2. Spice of India 10633 Page Ave., St. Louis County, 314.473.1803, spicestl.com

Spice of India, tucked away in a small strip mall on Page Avenue, is busy for a reason. Start with the street food (chaat) section of the menu and try the bhel puri, a crunchy mix of puffed rice, peanuts, chopped tomatoes, sweet tamarind chutney, a zippy mint chutney, onion and a sprinkle of cilantro to prepare your taste buds for an Indian meal. Next, order the butter chicken, where tender pieces of meat swim in a creamy tomato-based sauce flavored with chile powder, coriander and cumin. Order naan for dunking or try the puri, a puffy, South Indian fry bread made with wheat flour. The menu is huge, but for $9 you can try eight dishes in the daily lunch buffet.

 

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3. Patois Eatery & Social Lounge 2617 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.696.2606, patoisstl.com

Goat is out and chicken is in at Patois Eatery & Social Lounge, the new restaurant and nightlife venue in the former Rustic Goat space. Start your meal with sweet, sticky corncakes slathered in rich honey butter, but resist the urge to order another round. You’ll need room for the jerk chicken, a tried-and-true recipe from Chicago-based Uncle Joe’s Jerk. Half a chicken is grilled until the skin is crisp and charred, then chopped into four pieces and served with a pungent jerk sauce packing allspice and a touch of sweet heat. Dig into the side of rice and peas, close your eyes and dream of Caribbean waters.

 

4. Sophie’s Artist Lounge & Cocktail Club 3224 Locust St., St. Louis, 314.533.0367, sophiesstl.com

Walking into Sophie’s chandelier-drenched bar, you feel in on an elite secret. Hidden away on the second floor of the .ZACK building, this lavender and gold retreat is exactly what Grand Center needs: more cute, quiet places to grab a drink and a snack before a show. Try the bright, Aperol-heavy Ingenue from the short list of house cocktails or peruse the bar’s extensive collection of spirits. There’s also a short list of draft beers, and the wine list, managed by The Dark Room, is good down to the happy hour malbec.

 

Photos by Michelle Volansky

Heather Hughes is managing editor, print; Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital; and Meera Nagarajan is art director at Sauce Magazine.

Related Content
First Look: Polite Society in Lafayette Square

First Look: Patois in downtown St. Louis

Sauce Magazine: May 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hit List: 3 places you must try this April

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

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1. Vicia: 4260 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.553.9239, viciarestaurant.com

After more than a year of anticipation, pop-ups and special events, doors have finally opened at Vicia in the Cortex Innovation Community. Veterans of New York’s acclaimed Blue Hill at Stone Barns, owners Michael and Tara Gallina focus on vegetable-forward, seasonally driven cuisine. To that end, the menu is flexible, letting farm-fresh ingredients dictate the day’s dishes. Take a leisurely lunch break at Vicia’s sun-drenched dining room to mix-and-match from a short list of meticulous dishes. Our tartine featured a thick slice of house-made porridge bread topped with butternut squash sofrito, marinated kale and oyster mushrooms, while the grain salad tucked a mix of wheat berries, rye and farro under shaved carrots, daikon and a rainbow of radishes with dollops of goat cheese sauce and pesto made from radish and turnip tops. Indulge with a quiche – ours included earthy shiitake mushrooms, spinach and leeks nestled in a fluffy, rich filling – but don’t forget to save room for dessert. A buttery turnover shattered at first bite, revealing sweet kumquat and ricotta. At press time, only lunch service was available, but based on that experience, we’ll eagerly make our dinner reservations.

 

2. Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade: 2236 First Capitol Drive, St. Charles, 636.224.8626, twoplumbers.com

Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade is as simple as a place named for Mario and Luigi should be: just 10 taps and more than 30 arcade games. The 21-and-older brewery currently offers a couple of its beers (keep an eye out for Ermac Irish red IPA and Braunenmantel American brown ale) and is brewing more to add alongside taps pouring the likes of Schlafly, Founders and Crown Valley. Bring in food (or order a Dan O’s frozen pizza from the bar), grab a pour and drop some quarters to play old-school favorites like Dungeons & Dragons, Time Crisis II and, of course, Super Mario Bros.

 

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3. Snax Gastrobar: 3500 Watson Road, St. Louis, 314.353.9463, snaxstl.com

And now for something completely different from the minds behind Robust Wine Bar. Instead of extensive wine lists and small plates, fill up with comfort food at Snax Gastrobar. Try the messy, delectable burger (two smash patties piled with cheese, bacon, a mayo-based Snax Sauce and the usual accoutrements), or pick up the Reuben, featuring a balance of house-cured smoked pastrami and sauerkraut. Prefer a knife and fork? Order the simple roasted chicken; a boned breast is seared for crisp skin and juicy, tender meat, all piled atop braised beans with rich shiitake mushrooms and bright lemon-garlic jus.

 

Photos by Michelle Volansky

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 • Sneak Peek: Vicia in Midtown

• Sneak Peek: Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade in St. Charles

Sneak Peek: Snax Gastrobar in Lindenwood Park

Hit List: 4 places you must try this March

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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1. Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream: 7326B Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.449.1209, boardwalkwaffles.com

A hug can turn your day around, especially when it’s a Belgian waffle wrapping itself around Serendipity ice cream. Head to Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream in Maplewood for the embrace you need. The sweet waffles are made to order, and their crisp edges and fluffy interior pair perfectly with classic Salty Caramel Swirl. Go big with a full order (two whole waffles sandwiching four scoops) and share the love. Naked waffles and solo scoops are also available for those with waffle-ice cream relationship issues.

2. Balkan Treat Box: balkantreatbox.comTwitter: @BalkanTreatBox

It’s worth the effort to find Balkan Treat Box as it slowly rolls into the St. Louis food scene. A wood-fired oven roars inside the bright red and aqua truck, which turns out classic dishes from the Balkan Peninsula. Try the rich, chargrilled beef sausage cevapi served in a fluffy pita pocket-like somun with kaymak (a rich dairy condiment similar to labneh) and ajvar (a slightly spicy roasted red pepper-eggplant sauce). And order more pide than you think you need. The Turkish wood-fired flatbreads are addictive, topped with thick, bubbly layer of cheese and optional sliced smoked beef sausage.

 

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3. The Blue Duck: 2661 Sutton Blvd., Maplewood, 314.769.9940, blueduckstl.com

After making a splash in Washington, The Blue Duck has added a second location in Maplewood. The menu ranges from soups, salads and hearty sandwiches like the DLT, made with smoked duck instead of the usual bacon on house-made sourdough bread, to classic supper plates like mac and cheese swimming with cheddar-fontina sauce livened up by a swirl of braised short rib marmalade and a crunchy herbed bread crumb topping. Order the savory seared scallops, which come doused in bloody mary sauce with braised bacon over a creamy celery root puree.

4. STL French Quarter: stlfrenchquarter.com, Twitter: @STLGumboGuy

STL French Quarter food truck has hit the road just in time for Mardi Gras, offering a rotation of Cajun and Creole classics and New Orleans-inspired dishes. Start with a bowl of dark gumbo thick with shredded pork and chicken. Or try the lighter, tomato-based jambalaya studded with red beans and andouille. Whichever you choose, you’ll need a wedge of a savory jalapeno-cheddar cornbread waffle for dipping. And save room for The French Quarter Po’Boy. Thin slices of tender roast pork and salty Tasso ham are smothered in rich Cajun gravy accented with piquant Creole mustard aioli, held in a split hoagie to sop up the juices.

Photos by Michelle Volansky

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