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Sep 30, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘Basso’

The Scoop: The Market at The Cheshire to close Sunday, Sept. 7

Friday, September 5th, 2014

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It’s the last weekend for breakfast sandwich fans to grab-and-go at The Market at The Cheshire; the restaurant’s last day for business is this Sunday, Sept. 7.

The Market, which originally opened in March 2013, will be replaced by a Starbucks in mid- to late-November, said Steve O’Loughlin, president of Lodging Hospitality Mangement. When The Restaurant at The Cheshire began serving lunch earlier this year, O’Loughlin said the two establishments were competing with each other for business.

“We want to narrow that focus,” he said. “The Starbucks will be a morning focus, The Restaurant will be lunch focus, and Basso will be night focus. We’re trying to create something where we don’t have redundancy.”

But The Market fans need not fear losing their favorite lunchtime treats; chef Rex Hale will continue to serve The Market’s entire menu of fresh salads and sandwiches at The Restaurant during lunch for dine-in or carry-out.

Georgia Kaye contributed to this report.

Budget Crunch: 10 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try right now

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Welcome to Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Byron Kerman offers 9 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.

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1. The new Happy Hour Menu at WildSmoke offers all the barbecue joint’s appetizers at half off from 2 to 6 p.m. daily. We’re talkin’ garlic barbecue delta shrimp over pepperjack grits ($5.50), smoked wings ($4), jumbo “doorknob” onion rings ($3.50), deviled eggs made with cheddar cheese and “pig candy” (brown sugar-roasted pork belly) ($3), a trio of sliders featuring brisket, smoked turkey and pulled pork ($4.25), and a half-dozen other choices.

2. Is Sauce on the Side poised to take over the world? That may be premature, but the newly opened second location of the calzone kitchen certainly has a hold on Clayton. The menu stars calzones like the Costanza, a dough pocket stuffed with pepperoni, eggplant, roasted garlic, basil, mozzarella and ricotta, brushed with garlic honey oil and served with red dipping sauce, as they say, on the side ($9).

 

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3. If you’re into fruit-infused, summertime beer, check out the Rubaeus Raspberry Ale by Founders Brewing Co. ($6), currently issuing from the tap at Basso. This sweet-tart double-fermented ale is made with raspberries introduced at multiple stages during fermentation. The bartenders there also offer their take on a snakebite, a “Black Raspberry” double-pour with Left Hand Chocolate Milk Stout on the bottom and Rubaeus on top to make a chocolate-raspberry beer ($7). Yummy.

4. Take away one of the five ingredients, and this dish falls apart. Put them together, and you get the winning gestalt of a classic app. The Bacon-Wrapped Dates ($7) at Joyia tapas restaurant are suitable for sharing, but you won’t want to. The dates are stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped with bacon, and roasted with tomato chutney and a red-wine reduction. Mmm…

 

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5. It’s tough to say but fun to eat at the new Sizzle, Swizzle & Swirl Happy Hour at Ruth’s Chris. Slide up to the bar in Clayton or downtown from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and order some of the steakhouse’s signature bites for almost half price. Dig into three crab BLT sliders, normally $12, with zucchini fries, a plate of beautifully seared ahi tuna (normally $17) or even a steak sandwich and fries, typically $13, all for $8. While you munch, sip a cosmo, blueberry mojito or Ruth’s Manhattan for $8 or a select beer for $3.

6. Carondelet burger palace Stacked STL has a cure for the Sunday-morning hangover: the $8 Sunday Morning Breakfast Buffet from 9 a.m. to noon. The spread features biscuits, gravy, eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, muffins and fruit, and once you find your seat, a server will take your order for French toast, pancakes or an omelet. Order up a mimosa, bloody mary or unlimited coffee and settle in for an easy morning.

 

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7. The All-Night Happy Hour at Modesto Tapas Bar & Restaurant wins our Inaugural Cuteness Award. Available from 5 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the promotion is a lineup of 15 adorable one-bite samples. Consider the cerdo, grilled pork with quince (75 cents); the alcachofa relleno, artichoke stuffed with chorizo and cheese ($1); the queso frito, fried goat cheese with cumin honey ($2.50); and many more.

8. Haggis is probably eaten on a dare at least as often as it’s eaten by choice. The infamous dish – organ meats and grains encased in tripe (stomach) – gets a modern makeover at The Scottish Arms. At the CWE gastropub, house-made haggis is breaded and fried to make Haggis Fritters, and served with a whiskey sauce. You don’t have to know what’s inside to enjoy them. The end result – additional hair on your chest – is just a bonus.

 

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9. One way to try the fried fantasies at Vincent Van Doughnut is to track down “Clyde,” the vintage van converted to a doughnut food truck. Another way is to order them at Sunday Brunch at Atomic Cowboy. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Sunday, the Grove restaurant offers a rotation of two or three different varieties of Vincent Van Doughnut. Recent flavors have included Rumchata, maple bacon, salted caramel, turtle, Highlander (made with Highlander Grogg coffee), and Tuxedo (a doughnut with a vanilla glaze, chocolate-covered nuts, chocolate chips, and a drizzle of liquid chocolate). At the Cowboy, they serve the doughnuts with an ice-cold glass of milk for $5.

10. A single S’more is sold in a roast-it-yourself kit nightly at new pub Los Punk (which we told you about here). A mere two bucks gets you a pre-portioned packet of jumbo marshmallows, graham crackers and a single mini-candy bar, plus a wooden dowel conveniently soaked in water for roasting. After buying the kit, head out back to the fire pit to make your s’more. Los Punk is open every night but Tuesday and sells s’mores every night that weather permits.

The Scoop: Heritage BBQ by Cochon returns to St. Louis Sept. 14

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

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{From left, Blackberry Farm’s Michael Sullivan, 2013 Cochon competing chefs Fabrizio Schenardi, Gerard Craft, SPQR’s Matthew Accarrino, Kevin Willmann, Kevin Nashan and Cochon founder Brady Lowe}

 

Pork lovers, rejoice! Heritage BBQ by Cochon is returning to St. Louis this year. The national tour that celebrates heritage breed hogs will take place Sept. 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel-St. Louis. Cochon founder Brady Lowe brought his Heritage BBQ to town for the first time last year, and his 2014 ‘cue fest is set to be even bigger.

The main attraction at the event is a whole hog barbecue competition. Five area chefs will each cook up a 200-pound heritage breed swine to create six dishes judged by a panel of local industry professionals. The lineup of competing chefs is: Gian Nicola Colucci (executive chef, Four Seasons – St. Louis), Eric Heath (chef and co-owner, Cleveland-Heath), Patrick Connolly (executive chef, Basso), Josh Galliano (chef and co-owner, The Libertine) and Lou Rook III (executive chef, Annie Gunn’s).

But the pig-crazed can dine on more than competition barbecue. New this year is Barbecue Traditions, during which area meat moguls will serve a dish exemplifying their take on barbecue paired with wines, bbers or spirits. Look for Mike Emerson of Pappy’s Smokehouse and Chris Bolyard of soon-to-open Bolyard Meat & Provisions to be among those educating eaters on barbecue culture. Other food attractions will include a pop-up butcher shop featuring Andrew Jennrich of soon-to-open The Butchery, a tartare bar with edible delights by Creekstone Farms, a cheese spread by Rogue Creamery and ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

Even though there will be pound upon pound of tender, juicy meat prepared every which way, libations aren’t an afterthought. Festival-goers will can partake in top-tier bourbons, Crispin ciders, wines, mezcals and Goose Island beers, including its rare Bourbon County brews.

VIP tickets are $200 and include a 4 p.m. early admission, as well as access to reserve wines and spirits. General admission tickets are $100; tickets available online.

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of this event.

On the Line: Staci Powell of Basso

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

 

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Line cook Staci Powell started her career in corporate kitchens at P.F. Chang’s and The Cheesecake Factory. But when the she heard about an opportunity to work in at Basso under James Beard award-winning chef Patrick Connolly, she jumped at the chance. Today, you can find Powell at the pasta station, whipping out hand-made noodles, and often working at Connolly’s side during events like Taste of St. Louis and Sidney Street Cafe’s 10th anniversary dinner. Here, she shares her experience moving to an independent kitchen and impressing Connolly with her grandmother’s fried chicken and greens.

On moving from a corporate kitchen
“You can be a lot more creative. … We take a lot of [food] from local places. … [Chef Connolly] is really big on seeing that from us, and you don’t really get that at a corporate restaurant. We also have a lot of events outside the restaurant. You get to see a different side. To do stuff like [the Sidney Street 10th anniversary dinner] is one of the best parts of this job.”

On her go-to staff meal of fried chicken, mac-n-cheese, greens and cornbread
“At staff meal, he wants you to put a lot of love in. It’s your chance to be creative and try other things and kind of wow the other employees… Chef loves [when I make that meal] because he loves Southern food. He loves when I do greens. They’re his favorite.”

 

-photo by Michelle Volansky

 

Still Can’t Quit the Fish?

Monday, October 7th, 2013

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After reading about the allure of fly-fishing in Julie Cohen’s “Rite of the River”, wow your friends by preparing trout recipes from The Tavern Kitchen & Bar and Panorama. Still can’t quit the fish? Try these three fish finishing techniques inspired by some favorite trout dishes around town. And after that? Well, it’s time to go fishing.

1) Marinate a trout fillet with olive oil, toasted cracked fennel seed and thinly sliced oranges for 24 hours. Place fillet on a baking sheet and put in a 325 degree oven skin-side down. Bake for 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve on a plate brushed with almond butter.

– Inspired by chef Patrick Connolly’s red trout from Basso. For the exact recipe for this dish, including directions on how to make the accompanying green bean salad, click here.

Basso, 7036 Clayton Ave., Clayton, 314.932.7820, basso-stl.com 

2) Rub a trout fillet with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear for 2 minutes on either side. Put the fillet on a baking sheet and top with sauteed vegetables (minced garlic, julienned sun-dried tomatoes, quartered artichoke hearts and sliced asparagus). Put in a 350 degree oven for 3 minutes. Finish with a splash of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice.

– Inspired by chef Nathan Bennett’s grilled trout from Hendel’s Market Café & Piano Bar. For the exact recipe for this dish, click here.

Hendel’s Market Café & Piano Bar, 599 St. Denis St., Florissant, 314.837.2304, hendelsrestaurant.com 

3) Salt and pepper the inside of a clear-cut trout. Close the trout and dredge it in flour and then cook in a lightly oiled saute pan for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden. Top with a sauce of white wine, whole peppercorns, shallots, fish stock, butter, lemon juice, capers and dill.

– Inspired by chef Bryan Carr’s rainbow trout from Pomme Restaurant. For the exact recipe for this dish, click here.

Pomme Restaurant, 40 N. Central Ave., Clayton, 314.727.4141, pommerestaurants.com/restaurant 

-Photo by Greg Rannells

 

 

 

 

Nightlife: Basso

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

 {Second from left: Patrick Connolly, executive chef at Basso}

Wood-fired pizzas and bowls of steaming house-made pasta reinforce pseudo Italian-style cocktails at Basso, the boisterous and continuously packed gastropub burrowed below The Restaurant at The Cheshire. An upscale, casual spot where the flames of wall-mounted gas lamps crackle and illuminate an Old World charm, Basso is best enjoyed as a late-evening drinking and dining spot.

Read the rest of Matt Berkley’s Nightlife review of Basso here.

— Photo by Jonathan Gayman

The Scoop: Despite Dierdorf & Hart’s closing in Westport Plaza, LHM chairman is “excited about the future”

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

After nearly a 30 year-run, Dierdorf & Hart’s is closing its doors. As reported by St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe, the steakhouse, located at 323 Westport Plaza, made the announcement last week that doors would shutter after dinner service on May 18 (Lunch service has already ceased.).

Is Dierdorf & Hart’s closure an indication that Westport Plaza is in decline? The Scoop spoke earlier today with Bob O’Loughlin, chairman of Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM), which purchased Westport last year and has its corporate headquarters at the Maryland Heights development.

“When we took over in October, the whole complex was running at 72-percent occupancy,” O’Loughlin said of the 200,000 square feet of retail space and 500,000 square feet of office space. Occupancy has since increased to 74 percent on the retail side and 92 percent for office use, he noted.

Besides Dierdorf & Hart’s, the other restaurants, bars and food-related shops currently at Westport Plaza include: Drunken Fish, Family Nuts, Kobe Japanese Grill, McDonald’s, Patrick’s Bar & Grill, Paul Mineo’s Trattoria, Starbucks, St. Louis Bread Co., Subliminal Subs, Trainwreck Saloon and Westport Pizza Co. Subliminal Subs and Family Nuts are two recent additions to the complex.

O’Loughlin also noted that LHM is planning to open its own concept at Westport: a “hip Mexican” restaurant that will feature an indoor-outdoor bar. While no timeline has been set for the eatery, which will serve as a replacement to the Casa Gallardo that closed a few years ago, O’Loughlin stated that the project is “a definite go” and hopes that doors will open by late-fall. (LHM also owns the recently renovated The Cheshire, whose eating establishments include The Restaurant, Basso and The Market; and The Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, with its 360 lounge.) According to O’Loughlin, LHM has also spoken to such restaurants as locally owned chains Llywelyn’s Pub and Big Daddy’s, as well as a national chain called Park Tavern, about adding a location at Westport.

Landscaping enhancements and upcoming events such as Parties in the Plaza, an art fair, wine tastings and live music on Fridays during the summer will bring an even more enhanced experience to Westport, O’Loughlin hopes. “We see some momentum,” he said. “We’re excited about the future of it.”

The Scoop: The Restaurant and Basso lose executive pastry chef

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Lisa Fernandez-Cruz has resigned as executive pastry chef at The Cheshire’s The Restaurant and Basso. Fernandez-Cruz left her post less than two weeks after her husband Wilfin Fernandez-Cruz resigned as the executive chef at The Restaurant. The Cheshire’s public relations firm Twist confirmed her resignation but has offered no comment. Lisa has not shared her future plans yet; more details as they come.

— photo by Ashley Gieseking

The Scoop: Wil Fernandez-Cruz has left The Restaurant

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Wilfrin Fernandez-Cruz has left his post as executive chef of The Cheshire’s The Restaurant. Fernandez-Cruz and his wife Lisa, executive pastry chef at The Restaurant and Basso, moved from New York City in late August and started preparing for The Restaurant’s opening in early September. Although Wil loved the large kitchen at The Restaurant and the massive smoker and rotisserie, reminiscent of Cookshop, where he worked as chef de cuisine in NYC, he told The Scoop that he “didn’t like the direction The Restaurant was moving.” According to Wil, he was unhappy that he wasn’t able to use enough seasonal ingredients and products coming from small local purveyors.

Wil plans on taking the next few weeks off to spend with his two young sons. While he and Lisa’s end goal (no timeline in sight) is to have their own restaurant, in the meantime, he hopes to work at another restaurant in the city. With his immediate start at The Restaurant, he hasn’t had time to explore St. Louis’ food scene, but he’s excited for the chance to finally see what the city has to offer. Compared to NYC, “St. Louis,” he said, “is a little city, but it has big industry.”

Lisa remains on as the executive pastry chef at The Cheshire’s The Restaurant and Basso.

UPDATE: In a statement issued by The Restaurant at The Cheshire, no plans have been reported as far as interviewing for a new executive chef.  The statement said, “We have an outstanding culinary team in place at The Restaurant, an excellent corporate chef in Rex Hale who has been involved from the start, and an amazing talent in Basso Executive Chef Patrick Connolly, a James Beard Award winner, who will take on a larger role.”

— photo by Michelle Volanksy

The Perfect Mix: An interview with Wil and Lisa Fernandez-Cruz

Friday, January 11th, 2013



We all know mixing business and pleasure can be a recipe for disaster, but for Wilfrin and Lisa Fernandez-Cruz, there’s never been a difference between the two. They met while working at 202, a now-closed restaurant in New York’s Chelsea Market. Wil, having emigrated from the Dominican Republic, had climbed the restaurant ladder to sous chef, and Lisa was making pastries. After marriage, two babies and a job change, the pair has been reunited in the kitchen at The Cheshire. He’s the executive chef for the newly opened The Restaurant, its catering arm and The Market (coming soon). She’s executive pastry chef for all of The Cheshire’s eating establishments. And thankfully for St. Louis diners, their recipe for making it work tastes just right.

What was the final impetus to leave NYC?

LF: It was always in the back of my head to bring the kids back. There are just so many more opportunities for them here. But one day, I had one of those days where your bag breaks on the subway, then you trip and fall and step into a huge puddle, and a man screams at you for no reason …

WF: And some guy is puking …

LF: Or pees on your shoe. And I’m like, am I in a movie? I called my sister crying, and the next day she sent me an email that said, “I found this ad on Craigslist and maybe you should apply; there’s a job for your husband at the same place.” We were here within three weeks of applying.

Did you start dating at 202?

WF: We met there – dated, got married; it was a beautiful time.

LF: Well, I didn’t talk to him at first. He didn’t speak any English! He was like, “Hola lady.”

You learned English to woo her?

WF: Pretty much.

LF: He slipped me his number one day.

WF: I was that creepy guy.

What’s your best tactic for working together?

LF: We’re brutally honest without hurting each other’s feelings.

WF: We work really well together. We knew that going in. We fell in love working in a kitchen. I look at Lisa as a business person. Outside, we’re married. Here, we’re co-workers. I’m not like, “Hey sweetie, can you do this for me?”

Your kids must have the most sophisticated palates in all of day care and kindergarten.

LF: George [the 3-year-old] has a 100-percent salt palate. Every single morning he wants eggs and bacon. “Did you put salt on this?” he’ll say.

WF: Then, “Can I just have the salt? I’ll salt it myself.”

LF: But Wil [the 5-year-old] is about the cakes, cookies and candy. Every day, he asks me, “Are you gong to make some cupcakes today? Do you want to bring some home?”

LF: Food; it’s pretty much our life.

WF: It is our life.

— photo by Ashley Gieseking

 

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