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Feb 05, 2016
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Posts Tagged ‘Clayton’

Hit List: 4 new must-try restaurants in February

Monday, February 1st, 2016

 

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1. Porano Pasta: 634 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.6414, poranopasta.com

After nearly a year of anticipation, James Beard Award-winning chef Gerard Craft opened doors at Porano Pasta, his first fast-casual venture and fifth restaurant. Step up to the counter in the bright, two-story space and mix and match from a plethora of bases like organic farro or house-made semolina pasta, 11 sauces from sugo to pumpkin seed and lime pesto, proteins including tender beef meatballs and slow-roasted pork or vegetables and toppings like crispy garlic and Pecorino Romano cheese. In additional to bowls, pick up an order of custom Companion foccacia bread with rotating toppings or a deep-fried Panzo – dough stuffed with anything from marinara and gooey mozzarella to meatballs and harissa, depending on the day’s special. And be sure to save room for a salted caramel gelato pop or a boozy frozen Negroni for dessert.

 

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2. Nami Ramen: 46 N. Central Ave., Clayton, 314.833.6264, namiramen.com

Ramen has made its way to Clayton with stylish, fast-casual Nami Ramen. Co-owner Jason Jan was a passionate ramen home cook before spending two months researching in Yokohama, Japan. Now Nami offers 10 styles of ramen in a cool, 50-seat space. Grab a seat at the bar overlooking the kitchen and snack on pan-fried gyoza filled with ground pork and vegetables or a tender pork belly steamed bun with house-made sweet soy glaze. Nami’s savory, satisfying signature tonkotsu ramen features tender char sui pork, wood-ear mushrooms and a marinated egg with a creamy yolk. Don’t fear the spice warning on the jigoku ramen either. Miso broth topped with ground pork and corn is amped up with a paste of tomatoes, chiles and shallots. This bowl is more flavorful than fiery, and it makes a tasty introduction to the classic Japanese comfort food.

 

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3. Moya Grill: 567A Melville Ave., University City, 314.833.6621, moyastl.com

The owners of South Grand’s Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant are adding to the fast-casual trend with their new concept, Moya Grill in University City. The small, contemporary space in The Loop offers a variety of wot (stew) and tibs (grilled) dishes with chicken, beef and a good number of vegetarian options. Start with the crispy sambusas – both the lentil and beef versions are worth a try. Meat lovers should order the beef tibs and appreciate the deep heat of the house berbere spice blend. For a veg-friendly option, the mixed vegetable wot features a satisfying, boldly spiced mix of cabbage, potato and carrot. Opt for the traditional, tangy injera instead of rice and enjoy the chance to eat with your hands, tearing off pieces of the spongy flatbread and wrapping each bite of tibs and wot.

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 4. Midtown Sushi & Ramen: 3647 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.328.2452, midtown-sushi.com 

Sushi rises again in Midtown. After the short-lived Flying Rolls shuttered last year, Midtown Sushi & Ramen took its place, offering everything from sushi rolls to ramen bowls. Start your meal with an appetizer of spicy kare-age, bite-sized pieces of fried chicken doused in a sweet-spicy house sauce and sprinkled with sesame. Share a sushi roll or two, like the well-composed Dragon Roll, featuring crab salad, cucumber and avocado topped with eel, eel sauce and threads of fried sweet potato, a light departure from the usual tempura crumbs. Complete your meal with a bowl of hakata ramen, featuring a custardy egg and smoked pork belly (thanks to neighbor Dixon’s Smokehouse) all swimming in a rich pork broth with all the ramen fixings.

-Porano photo by Greg Rannells, all others by Michelle Volansky 

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

From chef changes at The Scottish Arms to new eateries in Webster Groves, Midtown and Edwardsville, here’s a rundown of everything that went on last week in the STL food scene, ICYMI.

 

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1. Chef Will Volny now leads the kitchen staff at Bixby’s, the restaurant located on the second floor of the Missouri History Museum operated by Butler’s Pantry.

2. Executive chef Carl Hazel fired his final ticket at The Scottish Arms on Wednesday, Jan. 27. He worked at the Central West End restaurant since 2007, having left in 2012 and returned again in 2013.

 

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3. Webster Groves welcomed its newest restaurant when Olive & Oak fired up the burners Jan. 26 at 102 W. Lockwood Ave.

4. The tide has gone out for good as Coastal Bistro & Bar closed its doors Saturday, Jan. 23 after five years in business.

 

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5. It was out with the arcade and in with asada when Catrinas opened at 1027 Century Drive in Edwardsville.

6. A longtime Maplewood bar and grill is closing to make way for a new gastropub. The Muddled Pig is set to open doors in mid-February in the space currently occupied by The Wood at 2733 Sutton Blvd

 

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7. Pappo’s Pizzeria & Brew Co. opened doors in the former home of Six Row Brewing Co. in Midtown, serving up pizzas and house beer.

 

 

 

The Scoop: Coastal Bistro & Bar closes in Clayton

Monday, January 25th, 2016

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The tide has gone out for good as Coastal Bistro & Bar closed its doors Saturday, Jan. 23 after five years in business, as reported by St. Louis Magazine.

Co-owner Frank Schmitz, who also owns Barcelona Tapas in Clayton and Indianapolis, cited the ownership’s desire to change direction and increasing competition from newly opened 801 Fish.

“My sister, Ellen (Schmitz), is the principle owner and ran the day-to-day operations. She got married, and she and her husband are looking to do something different,” Schmitz said. “Coastal has been popular and had a great reputation. Competing with seafood is difficult anyway. We wanted to end on a high note, so we did (Clayton) Restaurant Week and closed on Saturday night.”

Schmitz will continue to invest his time in Barcelona, which he said is “doing well as always and has a long life.”

Outstanding Coastal Bistro & Bar gift cards will be honored at full value at Barcelona. “We want to thank our customers that have supported us over the last five years and hope to see many of them back (at Ellen and her husband’s) new concept,” Schmitz said. He could not comment on the future plans at this time.

 

 

The Scoop: Hacienda to open fast-casual spot in Clayton

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

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Hacienda Mexican Restaurant, the 45-year-old Rock Hill institution, is stepping into the world of fast-casual this spring. Hacienda co-owner Alex Rodriguez de Torres announced plans to open Wet Burrito in Clayton at 7810 Forsyth Blvd. The restaurant will aim to serve the busy lunch crowd with a menu that will focus on fast, fresh, made-to-order fare. The 1,500-square-foot space will seat 17, plus a few seats on the sidewalk when it opens in April 2016.

Patrons will be able to choose from options like tacos, burritos, burrito bowls or the restaurant’s namesake, a wet burrito smothered in sauce. Customers can choose from a variety of proteins and toppings like house-made guacamole and mild, medium or hot salsas.

Rodriguez de Torres said Wet Burrito will strive to serve each customer in less than three minutes. “People love to customize,” said Rodriguez de Torres. “It gives us the opportunity to provide that, even better than we already do at Hacienda.”

Wet Burrito will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

 

Ones to Watch 2016: Ashley Shelton

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

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Title: Executive chef, Pastaria
Age: 26
Why Watch Her: Dreams and dreamy pasta – Shelton makes it all happen.

On a busy Saturday night, Ashley Shelton and her crew can serve up to 500 people in one shift. Instead of barking commands at her cooks, Shelton motivates them in her own way. “When it gets hard, I start singing. The dishes have their own songs,” she said. “And I hand out candy and Kool-Aid. I like to run a fun line.”

Shelton credited her mother, who passed away when she was only 14, for instilling a love of cooking. Three years later, as a high school junior aiming toward culinary school, Shelton landed a job on the line at the venerable Annie Gunn’s in Chesterfield. “That’s where I learned speed, discipline and how to clean a kitchen. … I learned from the best,” Shelton said.

Laser focus then propelled her to The Culinary Institute of America, where she first made bucatini all’a amatriciana, the traditional Italian entree that would become her calling. “That dish was so good, it made me want to study Italian food,” Shelton said. And so she did, moving to Florence to earn a Masters in Italian Cuisine from the Apicius International Hospitality Institute.

Shelton first met chef Gerard Craft in Italy, while he was on a research trip before opening Pastaria. “He interviewed me over dinner, and it was an awful meal. We joke about it now,” Shelton said, laughing. Craft hired her as Pastaria’s line cook before the restaurant even opened its doors, and then, in February last year, offered her the executive chef position.

Craft is proud and supportive of Shelton. “Ashley is a rare breed. She is able to lead a massive kitchen with a smile, a sense of humor and with a confidence usually found in much older chefs,” he said. “Ashley is quite simply the best, and I am guessing that this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

We agree. With her can-do attitude and passion for Italian cuisine, songs will be sung about Shelton – and her bucatini – for years to come.

 

This Friday on Sound Bites, The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.​ chef Jessie Gilroy, a member of the Ones to Watch class of 2015, and Pastaria chef Ashley Shelton join Sauce to discuss their leadership roles in some of St. Louis’ most prestigious kitchens. Tune in to St. Louis Public RadioFriday, Jan 8. at noon and 10 p.m. for Sound Bites on Cityscape.

– photo by Carmen Troesser

 

Sneak Peek: Nami Ramen in Clayton

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

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Clayton, get ready to slurp. Nami Ramen will open doors Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 46 N. Central Ave., in the former home of House of Wong. Jason Jan, who co-owns the restaurant with wife Yen Jan, took his passion for creating authentic ramen at home and launched it into a full-fledged business. He spent two months working in ramen shops in Yokohama, Japan, perfecting techniques and developing recipes before passing that knowledge on to chef Arron Syedullah.

Nami offers 10 styles of ramen from traditional tonkotsu with braised pork belly to more Americanized Breakfast Ramen with a poached egg and thick-cut bacon. Each steaming bowl is filled with a house-made broth that simmers away in 120-quart stockpots for 12 to 15 hours until it reaches the ideal consistency. Customers can also choose from a small list of appetizers like kare-age chicken (bites of Japanese fried chicken), gyoza and soon-to-come steam buns, as well as rice bowls for those seeking a break from noodles.

Customers order at the counter and then grab one of 50 seats at the fast-casual eatery. While they slurp, they can sip bottled or canned local craft beer from Schlafly, 4 Hands or Urban Chestnut, or enjoy a glass of wine. True to ramen’s history in Japan as after-hours fare, Jan hopes to host late-night collaborations with local breweries in the future.

Nami Ramen will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s to come when doors open at Clayton’s new ramen shop:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

The Scoop: Pizzino to close Saturday

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

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Clayton will have one less pizza parlor as Pizzino announced it will close its doors on Saturday, Dec. 5 after a year in business. Owner Jim Zimmerman cited lack of revenue as the reason for the closure and said he will spend the next few months evaluating what to do next.

“There’s a possibility that this or parts of this may be resurrected, or maybe none of it,” Zimmerman said. “We had some great customers that we enjoyed dealing with on a regular basis. Many thanks to them.”

 

 

First Look: 801 Fish in Clayton

Friday, November 20th, 2015

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The surf joined the turf on Thursday, Nov. 19 when 801 Fish opened at 172 Carondelet Plaza across the street from its sister restaurant, 801 Chophouse, in Clayton. Seafood dominates the menu in the 210-seat, upscale establishment. More than 2,500 wine labels arrived earlier this week and were placed in the floor-to-ceiling wine case so tall that retrieving bottles on the top shelf requires a ladder.

Daily shipments of fish and other undersea ingredients feature in the menu from tartare and crudo to pasta and entrees. The expansive raw bar showcases fresh oysters, shrimp and fish, while the cocktail bar offers wine, spirits and beer including Civil Life and Modern Brewery options on tap. The dessert menu is exclusive to 801 Fish’s St. Louis location and is under the direction of former Farmhaus pastry chef, Sarah Mispagel.

801 Fish is open Tuesday through Saturday at 4 p.m. The restaurant will add lunch service next Tuesday, Nov. 24 p.m. Here’s a look at what to expect when you dive in:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

 

 

The Scoop: Louie’s Wine Dive to open location in Clayton

Monday, October 12th, 2015

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There’s a brand-new wine spot coming to Clayton. Louie’s Wine Dive will open in the old Tani Sushi Bistro location at 16 S. Bemiston Ave., as first reported by the St. Louis Business Journal. Owner Whitney VinZant said he’s looking at an early 2016 opening.

The 90-seat restaurant will be the seventh Louie’s location nationwide, the first of which opened in Des Moines, Iowa in April 2012, and the first St. Louis-area location. “We’ve wanted to be in St. Louis and have looked at real estate there for a long time,” VinZant said. “Traditionally, we built our company on being unique to the neighborhoods we serve. We plan on doing the same thing in Clayton.”

Because each location is set up to partially reflect the area it’s in, about half of the menu will be left to the chef. The other half of the menu will include tried and trues from Louie’s Wine Dive’s other locations. The Clayton location will also feature ingredients sourced from local farms, a weekly weekend prix fixe three-course dinner and various wine dinners

Louie’s Clayton location will also feature local Missouri wines on their extensive wine list. “We try to focus on smaller, more undiscovered vineyards, in general, with an emphasis always on quality,” VinZant said. “We seek to make wine accessible … We will also open any bottle if a table purchases two glasses.”

 

The Scoop: J. Buck’s and Joe Buck’s to close for good Oct. 30

Friday, October 9th, 2015

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As the post-season gets underway, a longtime Caridinals-themed eatery prepares to bid farewell. Owner Doug Albrecht has decided to shutter both J. Buck’s in Clayton and Joe Buck’s in downtown St. Louis at the end of October. Lunch and dinner will be served for the final time on Oct. 30.

Citing increased operational costs, spokesperson Courtney Muller said the leases at both locations were due for renewal at the beginning of November and would not be resigned. “It is a good time to move forward,” Mueller said. “(Albrecht) felt like this was a good time to go out on a high note with another Cardinals post-season.”

Buck’s opened in Clayton in 1999, while Joe Buck’s opened downtown in 2008, the same year Albrecht took ownership. “We’ve had an incredible run of providing a wonderful gathering place for families and visitors to enjoy a great meal and create memories,” Albrecht said in a press release.

Gift card holders are encouraged to visit during the baseball post-season to redeem remaining balances. Those who cannot will be able to receive a refund of the balance after Oct. 30.

Albrecht was not immediately available for additional comment.

 

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