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Archive for July, 2010

The Scoop: Oysters and champagne coming to De Mun in September

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

072910_oystersThe Post-Dispatch announced back in March that Alan Richman, owner of Sasha’s wine bars in the Clayton and Tower Groves neighborhoods, will be opening an oyster bar just down the street from his De Mun Ave. location, next to Jimmy’s On the Park. Now, Richman tells Sauce that the 1,400-square-foot, 35-seat De Mun Oyster Bar should be open by mid-September.

The menu will be “heavily oriented toward raw – oysters, scallops, mussels, clams, shrimp,” said Richman. He is also considering offering a daily non-shellfish option (which will still be from the water), as well as a meat entrée. “This is St. Louis, after all,” he added. In addition, Chef Je Kang, who heads to the oyster house from Sasha’s location on Shaw, will also be making crispy shrimp and oyster po’ boys.

Those raw delights have to be washed down with the proper drink, and Richman has taken pains to find some great pairings. There will be plenty of champagne-by-the-glass options, plus a selection of whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Muscadet, the last of which, Richman noted, “is famous for an oyster pairing.”

Another combo Richman hopes will become a signature for the De Mun establishment is beignets and chicory coffee. After all, when your restaurant is on a street called De Mun, you’ve got to play off New Orleans’ famous Café du Monde.

De Mun Oyster Bar will be open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late-night eats. Richman hopes the location will be a dessert and late-night stop where guests can “sober up from Sasha’s,”  just down the street.

Have scoop on restaurants opening, closing or changing their menu in the St. Louis area? Email us at Scoop@saucemagazine.com.

Taste By Niche’s Ted Kilgore takes home a win from Tales of the Cocktail

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

072810_kilgoreA Saucy congrats to local mixologist Ted Kilgore who took home the top prize at the Yellow Tail cocktail competition at the Tales of the Cocktail last week in New Orleans. Taste by Niche’s Kilgore was named one of six finalists for the event after competing against nine other mixologists from across the country at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic in New York City.

For the first part of the competition, in which contestants had to make a cocktail using Yellow Tail wine, Kilgore put a new twist on a drink he’s been serving at Taste. “It had Yellow Tail wine, Savignon Blanc, St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur, green chartreuse, lemon juice and fresh sage all shook up and strained into a wine glass,” he said. “I topped it with a little bit of Yellow Tail sparkling wine and garnished it with a fresh sage leaf and a little grapefruit bitters.”

Contestants then had to conjure up an on-the-spot cocktail using the surprise ingredients of dill, chili powder and Villa Massa Limoncello. “I used dill, cucumber, strawberry, gin and tequila, Limoncello and lime juice for this one,” Kilgore said. “I muddled the dill in there as well and shook it all up and topped it over ice with a cucumber slice that I powdered with the chili powder and put a dill sprig in at the end.”

Kilgore was quite familiar with the four mixologists he competed against, including Rhiannon Enlil from Cure in New Orleans, Sam Treadway from Drink in Boston, Brian Matthys from New York and John Lemayer from Miami. A panel of famous faces judged the competition, including Esquire drink correspondent David Wondrich,  Master Sommelier and Master of Wine Doug Frost and Andy Seymour, a partner of Aka Wine Geek.

Kilgore took more than just bragging rights home from New Orleans. His victory in the Yellow Tail competition also won him a trip for two to the land down under (Yellow Tail being an Australian wine and all), a venture he says he’ll take either early fall or in March. The earlier the better we say; all that hard work sure deserves a bit of good R&R…and, of course, a few drinks.


The Scoop: Monarch aflutter as grand re-opening approaches

Monday, July 26th, 2010

072610_monarchThere are a lot of wonderful surprises awaiting those guests who will be attending Monarch’s grand-reopening this Saturday, July 31. Sauce will leave the big reveal to owners Aaron Teitelbaum and Jeff Orbin, exec chef Josh Galliano and his culinary team, but we will give you a heads-up on other happenings at the Maplewood restaurant:

Space: “Every floor, ceiling and wall has been touched or changed in some form or fashion,” said Teitelbaum. Most diners don’t see the frenzy in the kitchen, so just appreciate that they doubled the size of the line and added a custom chef’s pass-thru so they can serve you better.

Art: Before you walk into the elegant main dining room, look at the artwork positioned at the entrance. It aligns beautifully with the restaurant’s theme. And even the kitchen’s gone glam as food photographs by local artist Greg Stroube hang high along walls at the back of the house.

Drinks: Still a craft-cocktail program? Yep, and the menu features all southern-inspired drinks. But plenty of approachable items now also fill the bar including draft beer (a total of five on tap, including Schlafly and A-B products living in harmony), canned beer (Ska Brewing True Blonde Ale, Big Sky’s Moose Drool Brown Ale), an expanded bottled beer list, 24 wines by the glass and…did we mention that Galliano is making root beer that’ll be on tap?

People: They’ve tripled in staff. Sauce visited on a training day, as Galliano was giving final instructions on how to make the flavors of his native NOLA come alive at the revamped bistro. The bar has doubled the amount of employees; cocktail lovers will also be pleased to know that Atomic Cowboy’s knowledgeable mixer Matt Obermark will be behind Monarch’s bar a few nights a week.

Food: C’mon. It’s Nola-inspired. Galliano’s at the helm. You know it’s going to be good. Crawfish étouffée, shrimp and grits, po’ boys. ‘Nuf said.

Want to be among the first to see the transformed Monarch? Nab a ticket to the sneak-peek fundraiser to benefit the National Children’s Cancer Society here.

Have scoop on restaurants opening, closing or changing their menu in the St. Louis area? Email us at Scoop@saucemagazine.com.

The Scoop: Webster Groves wine bar is robust with new hires

Monday, July 26th, 2010

072610_robustRobust Wine Bar announced today that Kris Janik will be joining the Robust team as executive chef and that Frank Romano will take over as general manager of the Webster Groves restaurant beginning Aug. 2.

Janik has worked at numerous fine-dining restaurants in St. Louis, including Mirasol, Savor, Monarch, Niche and, most recently, Franco. Janik attended Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Ore., and interned at Paley’s Place, one of that’s city’s upscale French restaurants.

Frank Romano’s restaurant management experience includes his tenure as general manager and part owner of Jazz at the Bistro, running the front and back of the house at An American Place, and as part owner and GM of Araka, where he managed a staff of 50 employees and created a wine program that sports more than 300 wines.

In a press release, owner Stanley Browne stated: “We are very pleased and excited about the continued growth of Robust and believe that with the new leadership of Kris and Frank, we will bring Robust to the next level. We will continue to develop and strengthen our concept as well as create other locations in the area.”

The Scoop: Cielo gets new exec chef

Monday, July 26th, 2010

072610_FabrizioThe Four Seasons St. Louis has announced Fabrizio Schenardi as the hotel’s new executive chef. Effective Aug. 23, Schenardi will be leading the culinary team at the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Cielo.

Fabrizio joins the organization from Pelagia Trattoria in the Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza, where he has worked as executive chef since 2004. In 2008, Schenardi was named Executive Chef of the Year, selected from the more than 140 Renaissance properties in 28 countries. Prior to his tenure in Tampa, Schenardi was the executive sous chef at the AAA Five Diamond St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa in Dana Point, Calif.

Fabrizio is no stranger to the Four Seasons. From 1997 to 2000, he was the specialty restaurant chef at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, before transferring to the Regent Beverly Wilshire, where he served as the senior chef. Schenardi has also worked in restaurants in his native Italy, Washington D.C., Jamaica and New York City. Schenardi earned his culinary arts diploma from Istituto Alberghiero Ravizza in Torino, Italy.

Chef Schenardi is the permanent replacement for Karen Hoffman, who left Cielo in April to return to her hometown of San Francisco.

Have scoop on restaurants opening, closing or changing their menu in the St. Louis area? Email us at Scoop@saucemagazine.com.

The Scoop: Brasserie bids cordial bienvenue, adieu to cocktailians

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

072310_brasserieA Saucy welcome to Ted Charak, Brasserie’s new bar manager. Charak has been tending bar since 1993, primarily in San Francisco and Portland, Ore., and has recently returned to his native St. Louis.

In 2006, Charak and a business partner opened craft cocktail bar Teardrop Lounge, which remains a popular bar in Portland. The concept for Teardrop, said Charak, was “to bring the kitchen to the bar,” and included making numerous products in-house such as tonic water, ginger beer, grenadine, bitters, liqueurs, vermouth and Falernum. Charak is also a founding member of the Oregon Bartender’s Guild.

Among his many duties behind the bar, Charak will be responsible for writing Brasserie’s cocktail menu. When the new menu goes up in September, look for interesting French spins on vintage cocktails, playful homemade ingredients like Mexican pineapple soda and the use of a few new-to-the-market liquors.

Charak replaces Michelle Bildner, who is leaving the CWE bistro to attend graduate school. Bildner has been tending bar for the last 10 years. She worked at Monarch prior to coming on board at Brassiere when the restaurant opened last year.

Sneak a peek at Monarch’s new menu

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

072310_monarchHabitués of Maplewood’s Monarch are dying to know what the new dishes will taste like and what the new atmosphere will feel like when the popular bistro reopens with a Southern-inspired menu and ambiance this summer.

Well wait no longer. The National Children’s Cancer Society is hosting a sneak-peek fundraiser at Monarch on Saturday, July 31, that will satisfy the curious and benefit the charity.

The party will show off the new, more casual portion of the elegant restaurant. Monarch executive chef Josh Galliano, a New Orleans native, took a team of employees to his hometown for what must have been some tasty R&D sessions to plan the new menu. Look for a raw bar, crawfish étouffée, shrimp and grits, po’ boys, cocktails and live jazz on two stages.

You can preview the regional specialties at the benefit by reserving a spot at 314-446-5227, or clicking here.

La Dolce Via expands breakfast

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

072210_ladolceviaDon’t you just love the weekend brunch at La Dolce Via Bakery and Cafe? Those biscuits and gravy made with local lamb sausage gravy, ladled over a house-made cheese scone and topped with a fried, local-farm egg? Light and fluffy pancakes (owner Marcia Sindel’s father’s special recipe), with house-made maple syrup? And those egg scramblers and omelets, loaded with seasonal sensations? Not to mention fresh-fruit scones, quiches, bakery goods, fresh squeezed juices and good coffee.

Yeah, brunch is pretty sweet. We could eat there almost every day. Good thing we just got word that, in addition to the weekend brunch, Sindel and company now serve breakfast during the week, Wed. to Fri. – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Now we have a real reason to be late for work.

- Michael Renner

The Scoop: Imagine brings interactive sports – and food – experience to downtown

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

072110_imagineWishing there was a place downtown where you could shoot some pool, play some Wii and nosh on your favorite bar grub just the way you like it? Imagine no longer: Imagine, the ultimate sports game house and eatery, is coming to the Washington loft district.

Located at 1931 Washington Ave., next to Pour House, Imagine will be what owner Julian Grimes referred to as a “Downtown Dave and Busters.” For those that prefer to enjoy sports from a seated position, Imagine will be the place to go to try your luck on the latest tabletop touch video games while keeping your eyes on the big game.

And the interactive concept doesn’t stop with games. Until the kitchen closes at midnight, customers can create their own pizza, build their own burger and even concoct their own libation from the “You-call-it” liquor list. Grimes’ wife Kesha will run the kitchen and his sister-in-law Tiffany Tidwell will manage the bar. The three partners also own KG Catering and Event Planning. The target opening for the dining-with-diversions place is Labor Day weekend.

The Scoop: More to munch at new Colleen’s Cookies location

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

072110_colleensWhen Colleen Thompson realized that the grand opening of her new Colleen’s Cookies retail shop would fall on Friday the 13th, she improvised. The decorated-shortbread-cookie maven has prepared special cookies for the Aug. 13 gala that feature broken mirrors, ladders and black cats.

Visitors to the new sweet shop, on the border of Clayton and University City at 7337 Forsyth Blvd., will experience the sugary, pshaw-to-superstition fun and have a chance to try Colleen’s other cookies, in such flavors as peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip, Death by Chocolate, Scottish shortbread and fruit-pie. She also carries the sinful whoopie pie cookie sandwiches in such flavors as the Elvis, a peanut butter cookie with banana cream; and the Gingerbread Man, a gingerbread cookie with lemon cream.

Colleen’s Cookies will open bright and early at 7 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and serve scones, muffins and coffee for breakfast (although cookies for breakfast sounds perfectly acceptable, too). Thompson plans to eventually expand the menu to include other goodies including tarts, quick breads and caramel buns.

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