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Hit List: 4 new restaurants you must try this July

July 1st 09:07am, 2016



1. Vista Ramen: 2609 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.797.8250, vistaramen.com

Style meets good tastes at Cherokee Street’s ultra-cool Vista Ramen. The relaxed, stylish interior sets the stage for approachable Asian-inspired food with a hint of fine-dining finesse. The menu of mostly small plates and ramen bowls comes courtesy of chef Chris Bork (formerly of Blood & Sand). Dishes rotate frequently; an artfully plated, unexpected starter featuring bites of beet and black sesame chiffon cake drizzled with charred lemon sauce and popcorn has already disappeared from the menu. However other dishes, like the small plate of Korean fried chicken sliders, are still available. Crisp chicken is tossed in a spicy gochujang-based sauce and topped with fish sauce pickles sandwiched between a sweet house-made Hawaiian roll. Among the ramen, we slurped up the veggie version with firm noodles swimming in a delicate broth alongside seasonal vegetables and the perfect egg with a yolk as thick as cold custard. Likewise, the well-rounded pozole hit all the right notes: spicy, savory, silky broth soaked pulled chicken with a fresh green hit of cilantro on top.




2. Scarlett’s Wine Bar: 4253 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.797.8223, Facebook: Scarlett’s Wine Bar

Fans of Sasha’s on Shaw should flock to sister restaurant, Scarlett’s Wine Bar. The Central West End counterpart is busy and cheerful, stylishly designed with a tinned ceiling and marble-topped bar. Glance over the iPad menu boasting dozens of wines, or take our sage advice and request a glass of Benton-Lane pinot noir, an easy red with dark berry notes. Enjoy a light meal with the fresh crab salad. Tender greens, lump crab, grilled asparagus and avocado are dressed in light white balsamic vinaigrette for an indulgent meal that won’t weigh you down. Though, you should probably round out your order with the sausage and pepper pizza. This memorable pie boasts wood-fired crust that bread aficionados will love, baked in an oven Italians would kill for.




3. Scapegoat Tavern & Courtyard: 52 Maryland Plaza, St. Louis, scapegoatstl.com

Scape’s sister space has switched to the night shift. The former home of Crepes, Etc. is now Scapegoat Tavern & Courtyard. The newly renovated space features a long L-shaped bar lined with sleek white subway tile and bottle after boozy bottle. Grab a seat inside (or on the secluded back patio it shares with Scape) and start with a classic cocktail like a summery mojito. For a snack as you sip, turn your attention to small plates like the G.O.A.T. Sliders: macadamia nut-crusted fried chicken topped with pepper jack cheese and a honey-mustardy sauce on a Hawaiian bun. You can also split a crisp flatbread slathered in arugula pesto, tart balsamic glaze, roasted peach slivers and melted burrata. Hungier patrons can opt for the entree-sized house-smoked pastrami melt stuffed with kraut, gooey Gruyere and Russian dressing. Scape’s little sister is all grown up.


4. Club Taco: 200 N. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, 314.858.1488, Facebook: Club Taco

Kirkwood has recently been granted a membership to Club Taco. Start with a West County Housewife, which weaves adobo-grilled beef tenderloin with portobello mushrooms, candied bacon and Gorgonzola on a house-made corn tortilla. The vegetarian Fun-Guy features those same portobellos and stout-braised black beans covered with roasted green chiles and topped with a slice of fried avocado. Break all the rules with the Deep South: fried chicken on a bed of mashed potatoes with corn relish and a spicy pepper sauce. Snag a side of Club Tots, too: crisp tater tots smothered in white cheddar, green chiles, chipotle crema and a sunny-side up egg.


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