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Jan 21, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Eclipse Restaurant’

Readers’ Choice 2015: Bartender of the Year – Ted Kilgore

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015



{From left, Kyle Mathis, Seth Wahlman and Bess Kretsinger with Bartender of the Year Ted Kilgore}

Whether it’s serving up seasonal cocktails, perfecting the classics or putting new twists on old favorites, this year’s top bartenders won you over with their creativity and craftsmanship. Here’s what they want to mix most when you see them behind the stick this summer.

Bartender of the Year: Ted Kilgore at Planter’s House
The Drink: Gin Soaked Boy
What’s in it: Citadelle gin, Ransom Old Tom gin, Nolet’s gin, sloe gin, fino sherry, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice
Why it’s great: “It’s super refreshing, beautiful and quite boozy. Our bartender Mandi Kowalski actually came up with it, and I love the whole package. The name is also the name of a Tom Waits song, and I love Tom Waits. It also includes my favorite gins and looks phenomenal when you’re drinking it. It’s aromatic, beautiful and nostalgic.”

Second Place: Kyle Mathis at Taste
The Drink: Walla Walla Bing Bang
What’s in it: El Dorado spiced rum, North Shore Mighty gin, Smith & Cross Jamaica rum, passion fruit, cinnamon syrup, grapefruit and lime juices
Why it’s great: “It’s sweet and fruit-forward from passion fruit and house-made cinnamon syrup. I loved the challenge of putting gin and rum together – the botanical nature of gin and sweetness of rum are polar opposites.”

Third Place: Bess Kretsinger at Olio 
The Drink: Ramos Gin Fizz
What’s in it: Boodles gin, fresh squeezed lemon and lime juices, orange blossom water, egg whites, cream and sugar
Why it’s great: “This drink is in honor of Tennessee Williams. He was fond of the (Ramos) Gin Fizz. It’s not a super esoteric drink, but it’s based on his roots. It’s a simple but obscure cocktail.”

Honorable Mention: Seth Wahlman at Eclipse Restaurant
The Drink: Year Old Manhattan
What’s in it: Rittenhouse rye, Cocchi vermouth di Torino, Pierre Ferrand Dry curaçao and Angostura bitters
Why it’s great: “I started this project about four years ago. I batch a full glass bottle of Manhattans and rest them in our storage cellar for at least a year. The cocktail begins to take on sherry- and Madeira-like qualities. … I’m always surprised by flavors I hadn’t picked up in previous tastings.”

-photo by Emily Suzanne

Drink This Weekend Edition: Co-pilot

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Co-pilot at Eclipse Restaurant

Sitting next to him in a stool at Eclipse Restaurant’s bar, it wasn’t hard to get bar manager Seth Wahlman to chat about drink-making, especially the delicate strokes involved in making seasonal cocktails. For one thing, the ingredient list is constantly evolving: in vogue this fall are sage, rosemary, dark rum and anything that can be mulled. Wahlman and his team suffer no shortage of ideas on this stuff, and you can trace their thinking by perusing Eclipse’s fall cocktail menu.

If every good bartender has a theory (see the Kilgore method), Wahlman’s is a three-tiered rubric for a balanced beverage: At the bottom are dark, robust flavors – baking spices, honey and the like; those in the middle are bright and fruit-forward; floral and citrus flavors pop at the top.

“If you can fill in all three of these, you’ve got an interesting drink,” Wahlman explained. I strained to imagine what it looks like when the three flavor profiles work together. The rungs of a ladder, perhaps? A pyramid? A symphony?

The best illustration of Wahlman’s philosophy might be the Co-pilot, a variation of the sidecar. Shake together Aperol-flavored falernum, Calvados (apple brandy) and lemon juice, then garnish with a St. Germain-infused apple slice, which floats on top like a kind of capstone.

While Wahlman mixed one up he recited the lore surrounding the Calvados sidecar, an easy variant of the classic cocktail that is often “discovered” by novice bartenders taking their first steps with creative mixing.

“With newer bartenders, they always add Calvados and say, ‘Look what I made!’” Wahlman said. He wasn’t being condescending – another barkeep next to him even nodded knowingly. But it’s become a bit of an old saw in the industry, the bartender’s equivalent to, say, a guitarist’s learning to play “Stairway to Heaven” – not exactly a stroke of genius anymore, but a personal milestone, a leap forward.

The Co-pilot, then, is a stylized homage to the sidecar and the journeyman’s apple-brandied rendering of it. Take a taste, and here’s what happens: the moody notes of anise and molasses clash, then harmonize with the bright apple flavors of Calvados. The shrill taste of lemon arrives last, at the back of the tongue, to provide a bracing wave of tartness that refreshes the palate for the next sip. If it isn’t quite music, it’s certainly a pageant of unalike flavors that have reordered themselves, shrugged off their differences and linked elbows. Plus, the combination of apple and rum is a dead ringer for autumn.

Elsewhere on the menu, similarly odd couplings abound – like gin and coffee, which are deftly united in The Ironic Tonic. The cocktail combines local Pinckney Bend gin with house-made coffee syrup, infused lemon juice and tonic water. The truly adventurous should observe the interplay between Amaro Nonino and a rolled slice of coppa (a meat garnish!) in the Chaz.

Can we call this fine lineup of reinvented drinks a symphony? Maybe. You’ll have to face the music and decide.

This week, Catherine Klene is obsessed with…

Thursday, November 21st, 2013



{Usually, one of my sushi cravings can be sated with a fresh spicy tuna roll and quality sashimi. But when I crave Cafe Mochi, nothing but a Volcano Roll will do. A shrimp tempura roll corrals a hot tangle of broiled crab, scallions and noodles in a spicy mayo. True, it deviates from the traditional definition of sushi, but after the first bite of warm, crunchy, crabby goodness, I couldn’t care less.}



{I never understood why my boyfriend, who is a Turkish citizen, was never satisfied with any restaurant’s baklava. Then he gave me a piece of Özel Kare Baklava from Aşina Baklava, a friend’s family shop in Turkey. A sweet, sticky layer of verdant ground pistachios is sandwiched between thin, buttery pastry that is so light, it melts the moment it touches my tongue. Since I can’t find Aşina in the U.S., I try to ration the pieces he brings back as long as possible. You know, like a day or two.}




{I keep claiming I’m not a fan of IPAs, but I may need to rethink my position. The “drink my words” moment came at Eclipse when I tried a sample of Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail. This unbelievably smooth American Double/Imperial IPA was bright with hops, but they didn’t assault my palate as I expected a strong IPA to do. Words of caution: At 13 percent ABV, this beer isn’t called a Molotov Cocktail for nothing.}

The Scoop: Moonrise Hotel goes cosmic with latest rooftop expansion

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Visitors to the Moonrise Hotel in The Loop will soon be able to choose between two dining destinations perched eight stories above Eclipse Restaurant at 6177 Delmar Blvd.

Situated on the east wing of the hotel, the new addition, called the New Moon Room, will house 2,100 square feet of lounge space that will open to the public on Wednesday, May 8. The space will also be available for private parties of up to 175 guests.

According to hotel owner Joe Edwards, the menu, which will focus on small plates created by executive chef Isaac Hardwict, is in the final stages of development. It will be distinct from the menu Hardwict offers downstairs at Eclipse. Edwards also noted that rooftop patrons will be able to move freely between the New Moon Room and the hotel’s other sky-high space, the Rooftop Terrace Bar.

The New Moon Room is more than just a rooftop hangout, however. It is the first restaurant roof in the U.S. made entirely of solar panels, according to a press release issued by St. Louis-based Microgrid Solar, the company that installed the panel canopy roof. “Unlike traditional solar modules, the glass panels that form the roof are frameless, translucent modules that take the place of a traditional roof, and which allow sunlight – and moonlight – to peek through,” said Microgrid Solar founder and CEO Rick Hunter.

The New Moon Room is water-tight and will be heated and cooled so that it can be enjoyed year-round. The new 25.6-kilowatt solar array is expected to produce approximately 33,000 kWh of electricity annually, enough to power the entire rooftop dining area and bar. This is the second solar application atop the Moonrise Hotel, as a 4kW solar awning was installed on the hotel’s original rooftop bar in 2011.

The Scoop: Eclipse’s Brendan Noonan headed to Harvest

Monday, June 7th, 2010

060710_harvestBrendan Noonan has left his post as executive sous chef at Eclipse Restaurant to assume a position as Harvest’s sous chef. Noonan, who shared the news last week with Sauce and St. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe, worked briefly with Harvest chef and owner Steve Gontram and executive chef Nick Miller between departing from The Shaved Duck when it temporarily closed in January 2009 and joining Eclipse in The Moonrise Hotel that April.

In an official statement released today, Noonan said: “I have enjoyed the process of opening Eclipse and helping to set standards that are bringing the establishment to the top of the game, but [I] am very excited to get back into the kitchen at one of the best established venues for American cuisine in St. Louis. … I am eager to delve deeper into the nightly doings at Harvest and get a chance to learn from and with the entire team there.”

The change also marks the end of a three-year close working relationship between Noonan and Eclipse’s chef de cuisine Wes Johnson. The pair first met in January of 2007 when they were hired at The Scottish Arms within a week of one another. A year later, they both left the CWE venue to open The Shaved Duck and have worked together at Eclipse for more than a year.

“We’ve created some great meals together,” Johnson said. “I will miss working with him on a daily basis. We’re a good fit – his strengths are my weaknesses and my strengths are his weaknesses.”

Noonan and Johnson do not expect the job switch to mean that they won’t join culinary forces again. Noonan said in his statement that he will continue to work with the Eclipse team “when the occasion arises” and that “Wes and I are always exploring the best way to get a stove between the two of us on our own terms.” Johnson echoed those sentiments: “I cannot wait till we work together again at another project down the road.”

– Ligaya Figueras

Sunday Bloody (Mary) Sunday

Monday, November 16th, 2009

With two locals, a vacationing Texan won yesterday’s mix-your-own contest to inaugurate Eclipse’s lavish Sunday Bloody Mary bar. For their entries, the three – Caitlin Butler, Houstonite Sarah Lee and Jill Willending – each claimed a $20 gift card to the Moonrise Hotel’s restaurant.

The contest, masterminded by Eclipse general manager Sara Quiroz, drew 15 entrants in three categories: best overall, best presentation and most original.

Judge Liz Hoffner, the Moonrise’s so-called Manager of Desires, said Butler’s best-overall winner featured “complex flavors, but [was] something you could continue to drink during the day.” Lee’s best-presentation libation “looked like it was really thought-out,” Hoffner added, and Willending’s most-original entry boasted the best use of ingredients.

In addition to Hoffner, judging the entries were Caitlin Burbank, bartender at Eclipse; Ben Davison, chef at the Ritz-Carlton; and Tommy Schock, bar manager at Blueberry Hill.

Beyond preparing other fresh garnishes, Eclipse chef de cuisine Wes Johnson pickled everything from cauliflower to eggs, okra to asparagus, and crafted several house-made salts. The bar also supplemented standard tomato juice and dozens of bottled sauces with three house-made mixes (the scrumptious Steak in a Glass, Spicy Mexican and Wasabi Ginger). Johnson and Quiroz, moreover, plan to expand the offerings directly. In the meantime, the bar-unto-itself at Eclipse will continue to brighten gloomy Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Moonlit bill of fare changes at Eclipse

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Eclipse’s late-night menu (available till 2 a.m.) will become more experimental on Dec. 7, chef de cuisine Wes Johnson has informed us. Starting Pearl Harbor Day, Johnson hopes to tempt adventurous night owls with dishes revolving around bone marrow and similarly out-of-the-ordinary ingredients. Also, today Johnson’s adding another chef to his staff there in the restaurant on the first floor of the Moonrise Hotel. As always, the sun never sets on a Joe Edwards operation.

Drunk with the taste of blood, perhaps

Monday, October 26th, 2009

You might recall the plot of the ’90s film comedy The Freshman, in which Matthew Broderick stumbles upon a plot to import a Komodo dragon so an underground exotic-species eating club can barbecue the 6-foot lizard.

Eclipse chefs Wes Johnson and Brendan Noonan and bartender Patrick Thomas wouldn’t dream of such a thing. Right? Guys, am I right?

I mean, just because the trio has concocted something called Carnivorale, a one-night-only “seven-course meat-centric meal” on Nov. 9 offering a feast that could shame a Roman emperor doesn’t mean they’d … I mean they’d never.

But take, for example, the fourth course, Three Cheeks to the Wind. It’s a savory meat napoleon made from the choicest cuts of three beasts: veal, halibut and pork cheek.

That’s obscene. That’s the product of drunken chef talk, right? Just like the first course, the three-egg monstrosity: poached quail egg, duck-egg hollandaise, caviar and truffle on a bacon croissant.

Good night! One more course, and then hit the Web site (makeminemeat.com) for more gory details. The fifth, christened Beef, Bone and Bug, joins a braised short rib, bone marrow and crawfish boudin.

And here I thought turducken was an affront to the animal kingdom.

– Byron Kerman

Culinary arts

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Three area chefs squared off at yesterday’s Art in the Park in Highland, Ill. The debut food-as-art competition featured Joshua Galliano of Monarch Restaurant in Maplewood, Pat Jacoby of Patty-Cakes in Highland and Claire Robberson of Eclipse Restaurant in the East Loop.

Robberson stayed consistent with Eclipse’s outer space theme by creating a colorful rocket ship complete with alien aboard (pictured). Jacoby, recent winner of TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off, displayed three edible flowers so delicate and lifelike that they were encased in a glass viewing box. Jacoby then flexed her culinary muscle by sculpting and decorating a bass fish cake – complete with scales and gills – within 30 minutes. Galliano wowed onlookers by demonstrating the art of dessert plating. The executive chef at Monarch presented three desserts: soft chocolate fudge, pumpkin panna cotta and apple mille-feuille. (The latter two currently star on Monarch’s fall menu.)

Spectators voted for their favorite dessert by dropping spare change in jars. Although no winner was declared, Dueling Desserts raised more than $100. Proceeds will benefit the Highland Area Christian Service Ministry’s food pantry.

– Ligaya Figueras, who helped the Highland Arts Council organize Art in the Park

Party like it’s 1969

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Forty years ago today, Apollo 11 landed on the moon – and it was famously one small step for man, and one giant leap for Tang. Tank up on Tang-tinis and Blue Moon beer from 5 to 9 p.m. at Moon Fest, hosted by the Moonrise Hotel and Eclipse in the East Loop. The astronomical evening will also feature historical footage of the first manned moon landing along with space-gazing on the rooftop via two professional telescopes.

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