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Oct 21, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Hiro Asian Kitchen’

What I Do: Bernie Lee of Hiro Asian Kitchen

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

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Leaving everyone and everything you know to come to the United States and pursue a dream is the quintessential immigrant experience. Hiro Asian Kitchen owner Bernie Lee’s story is no different. After leaving Malaysia to study, learn the culture and improve his English in St. Louis, Lee seized the opportunity to open his own restaurant (609 Restaurant & U Lounge).

Now Lee serves some of the city’s best Asian fusion at Hiro, where he has slowly added Malaysian dishes he grew up eating. At first, he wanted to have a business that welcomed all people. Now, it’s become a place where he can share his culture.

 

“You just have to learn how to survive. When I was in [college], one of my classmates told me I spoke the worst English he ever heard in his life. It was so embarrassing. I didn’t know how to express myself. In my class, I was always the last pick [in a group presentation] because they thought I didn’t speak well. I spoke six other languages they didn’t even understand. But it forced me to be better.”

“I’m Malaysian-Chinese. My parents are first-generation Malaysian-Chinese. My grandparents in the 1940s were refugees. They escaped from China, from the revolution, very young – 15, 16, 17. They were very poor, and as refugees, what do they know? They worked. They had tons of babies – work, have a baby, work, have a baby. Refugees, they all have to go through the same things. It’s never easy.”

“The motivation behind 609 was I was not treated nicely at a bar one day. I was bullied in public. I told myself someday I need to create a place where everybody is welcome. Two years later, I had an opportunity to open my own place. To be honest, I was 27, I was young. I said, ‘Screw it, let’s do it! If I fail, I fail.’”

“Americans only eat fish fillet. No bone! No skin! No head! No tail! Nothing! So that’s what I had been taught. Only fillet. So, this is what I know. I had opened 609 and one day I thought, ‘Why don’t we do whole fish?’ People said, ‘No, no, no. Nobody will touch that!’ All right. One day I went to [a local restaurant], and it’s all white folks, and they tell me, ‘Our most famous dish is a red snapper.’ I said, ‘OK, let’s order that.’ It came out whole fried red snapper! Everyone was ordering it, loving it, no problem. You go to this restaurant, pay $30 for a whole crispy fish – it’s just salt, pepper that’s it – you think it’s a great dish. The whole fish in an Asian restaurant, people say, ‘Oh, hell no.’ And I bet they would not even pay $15 for it. It drives me nuts. That’s why for Malaysian Week we [had] whole fish. Head, tail, bone, everything. This is how we eat it back home and that’s how it should be.”

“Just cook it the way you want it. I tell the kitchen, don’t worry how people will like it or not like it. If they don’t like it? Fine! Sorry! Pick another one. I’m very proud of them.”

“Even though the plate is nice, it still has the flavor that reminds them of home. The chicken clay pot [at Hiro], the origin is from Taiwan; we cook it Taiwanese style. This is a dish like meatball pasta – everybody makes good meatball pasta, but when you eat it you go, ‘Oh, my mom’s is better.’ One woman ordered it, and I saw she was crying. I asked if she was OK, I thought she maybe burned herself. She said, ‘No, this dish reminds me of my mom.’ Her mom had passed away. She said, ‘We ate this when we were kids, this is exactly what my mom would cook.’”

“You have to trust yourself. You have to believe in your culture. If you believe, you can deliver. If you don’t believe, there’s no point.”

Photo by Ashley Gieseking

Meera Nagarajan is art director at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: October 2017 

• Best of Brunch 2017

• What I Do: Alisha Blackwell-Calvert of Reeds American Table

 

Trendwatch: What’s on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

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1. Proof in the Pudding
We’ve come a long way since Snack Packs – like the butterscotch pot de crème at Olive & Oak, a rich caramel pudding capped with salted caramel and whipped cream. At Pint Size Bakery, occasionally available Yum Cups are filled with rotating pudding flavors. But we all know chocolate reigns supreme, like the blend of milk and dark chocolate pudding with a black cocoa brownie, Thai basil ice cream and fresh blackberries currently on the menu at Taste. Retreat Gastropub recently offered an orange- and lemon-scented chocolate pudding served with toasted marshmallows and almond biscotti, while ClevelandHeath serves its version with Chantilly whipped cream and chocolate-dipped puffed rice.

 

2. Activate
Charcoal has made the move from face masks to the table. Gaining popularity as a detox ingredient at California juice shops like Pressed Juicery and Juice Served Here in recent years, activated charcoal has been making an appearance in cocktails like the inky mezcal-based Moonwalk at New York’s Mission Chinese Food. Closer to home, the black-hearted ingredient showed up for brunch in a chocolate-charcoal waffle at Hiro Asian Kitchen. Try a taste of the darkness at Clementine’s Creamery, where the black cherry ice cream is made with activated charcoal.

 

3. Bring in the Funk
Savory caramels are currently lending a sweet, funky accent to all manner of cuisine in St. Louis. The Copper Pig and Juniper have both combined fish sauce and caramel to great effect – the former on chicken wings and the latter on chicken and waffles. At Vista Ramen, crab caramel brings subtle sweetness and an unctuous umami pop to a tender pork rib dish. A little funk works just as well in cocktails, like The Sound of One Hand Clapping recently at Planter’s House, which combined tequila and mezcal with a miso-caramel syrup. On a more vegetal note, a beet caramel adds earthy sweetness to roasted beets, charred carrots and whipped herbed goat cheese at Boundary, while Vicia recently offered hazelnut financiers with an onion caramel sauce.

 

4. Get Crackin’
Pistachios have been lending their mild, nutty flavor to a variety of cocktail menus around town. The Lights Down, Music Up at ClevelandHeath uses Dumante Verdenoce, an Italian pistachio liqueur, to complement apricot and lemon in the rum-based drink. At The Preston, The Lady of Kildare, a unique tiki cocktail with Irish whiskey instead of the usual rum, includes a house-made pistachio syrup that plays well with tropical flavors like coconut and pineapple. And the Garden of Forking Paths at Taste utilizes the nut itself – ground and rimming a Collins glass.

 

5. The Big Cheese
Grilled cheese sandwiches have been subbing in for buns lately. Take The Big Lou special at The Corner Butcher in Fenton, where two of the sandwiches held two patties topped with nacho cheese. The Libertine appended GC to a classic BLT for a brunch special, and the ever-fluctuating menu at Shift: Test Kitchen recently experimented with The Sasquatch, pulled pork and cole slaw between two gooey sammies. Head to Festus for a Fatty Melt at Main & Mill Brewing Co., a classic patty melt with two grilled cheese sandwiches. And of course, Sugarfire Smoke House and Hi-Pointe Drive-In get in on the action with the Sweet Baby Cheesus special.

 

6. The Spice Route
Area bartenders are reaching into the spice cabinet for a taste of India on their cocktail menus. Retreat Gastropub mixes gin with coconut milk, turmeric and ginger in the curry leaf-topped Golden State, and combines rum, mango, vermouth and chai in its Cash Me Outside cocktail. Reeds American Table opts for yellow curry and coriander mixed with coconut milk in the Philosophical Zombie, while Planter’s House recently featured a chai five-spice syrup with bourbon, tequila and amaro in the Exit Stage Left. Polite Society’s arsenal of house-made tinctures and infusions includes a blood orange and cardamom gastrique featured in the Sanguine cocktail, made with vodka and coconut water. Frazer’s makes use of Desipop, a masala-cumin soda, in its rum-based Kama Sutra. Over at Eclipse, they’re shaking cardamom bitters into the Effervescent Love Machine, while just down the street, the team at Randolfi’s also added cardamom bitters to Advice from a Fortune Cookie and curry bitters to A Rule of Plumb.

 

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Related Content
Sauce Magazine: June 2017

Trendwatch: 7 trends on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list now

Poke: The Hawaiian classic that’s having a big moment

Budget Crunch: 9 delicious deals to devour now

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Got $10 and a friend? Then contributor Kevin Korinek has 9 tasty deals you must try now.

 

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1. The new Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream in Maplewood is offering a special $9 chicken and waffle deal Thursdays from 4 p.m. until sold out. And yes, it will probably sell out, so make sure you’re first in line. While Boardwalk supplies the delectable waffle, the fried chicken slingers at Byrd & Barrel supply the Chicken Nugz. Adding hot sauce gets you to Flavortown fast, but a little maple syrup goes a long way.

2. A classic Italian bistro that is always adding good times and new flavors, Mangia Italiano might just be one of the best post-work spots for a good deal. Just in time for warm weather and patio dining on South Grand, you can get half off appetizers and a well-made $3 rail cocktail every weekday. Your best bet is the Honey-Cayenne Wings – a generous $5.50 pound of mouthwatering wings in Mangia’s signature sauce. They’re crunchy, spicy and oh, so satisfying.

 

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3. Every taqueria in St. Louis claims to have the best fish tacos, but The Red Shack in Dogtown may have the best monthly deal to prove it. Fridays during Lent, the Tex-Mex haven has a killer special of two, scrumptious salmon tacos with house-made chips and salsa for a mere $5.50.

4. Of course life isn’t all about tacos. It’s also about pizza. If you find yourself near Lafayette Square during the week, run (don’t walk) to happy hour at Eleven Eleven Mississippi, where you can snag a gorgeous, Tuscan-inspired flatbread for $6 to $7 each Monday to Thursday. Try the Italian sausage for authentic Old World flavor or the poached pear and fig if you’re feeling adventurous.

 

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5. Craft beer has turned a scientific corner, and we are now seeing an explosion of flavors that would make Eberhard Anheuser and Adolphus Busch do a double take. One of the more recent highlights to hit our beloved craft scene is sour beers. Retreat Gastropub in the CWE wants you to get more acquainted at its Thursday Sour Hours. In March, select sour beers are only $5 from 4 to 7 p.m., giving you the chance to pucker-up buttercup and experience some new flavors. Rest assured, the craft beer revolution carries on – what a time to be alive.

6. Back to tacos, because tacos. If you’re eating lunch in Brentwood and looking for a quick fix, Whole Foods kitchen now has you covered. The market recently opened up a lightning fast taqueria where you can grab a made-to-order burrito or three tacos for $8. Where else can you get Mexican food and finish grocery shopping on your lunch break?

 

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7. Copper Pig in beautiful Southampton has an amazing happy hour this month. Weekdays between 4:30 to 6 p.m., appetizers are $6 bucks and most drafts are a cool $3. The deal does not include its famous winter app, bacon jam and Brie (bummer!), but I’m sure you can find something to love between the General Tso’s cauliflower or the duck confit poutine.

8. Ramen is all the rage in St. Louis these days, and Hiro Asian Kitchen aims to keep it that way by offering a Ramen Happy Hour Tuesday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Sample from an assortment of ramen dishes that will make your head spin. If you miss the first window, don’t worry – the deal also happens for evening diners from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Two ramen happy hours in one day is one way to keep customers happy.

9. Again, life is nothing without damn good pizza, and Plank Road Pizza has them in spades. The Cottleville pizza den offers lunch special: an 8-inch pizza and side salad for $10. My go-to: the honey-bacon-chicken pizza. It’s a work of art – house-made crust topped with olive oil, brown sugar, roast chicken, bacon, honey, red onion and bubbling mozzarella. The lunch special is good from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and also comes with a side salad.

 

Kevin Korinek is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for making homemade pie.

Trendwatch: Guide to Drinking Edition (Part 2)

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

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{Vista Ramen’s Matcha Gonna Do For Me? cocktail} 

1. Go Green
Teatime and happy hour combine in green tea cocktails. Matcha is found in Retreat Gastropub’s Brainfreeze Culprit, which combines the vibrant green tea powder with rum, sherry, pineapple juice, cacao and coconut. We also spied it at Hiro Asian Kitchen, in a matcha mint julep. Green tea-infused vodka gets fresh at Rooster with apple, lime, pineapple and cucumber in the Green With Envy, while Water Street uses it in its Sweet Pea along with snap peas, dandelion liqueur, mint and lemon. Meanwhile, the drink team at Vista Ramen doubles down, using matcha and cold-brewed green tea stems in the gin-based Matcha Gonna Do For Me?

2. East-Coast Vibes
If intensely hopped IPAs blow your palate, head east. The East Coast IPA is a gentler, juicier IPA best identified by its murky, unfiltered appearance. Eastern breweries like Alchemist, Trillium and Tree House are known for these less bitter, slightly resinous beers, and up-and-coming hometown brewers are taking notice. Narrow Gauge Brewing, which recently opened inside Cugino’s in Florissant, is making waves with its cloudy, dry-hopped IPAs like Fallen Flag, and forthcoming Rockwell Beer Co. shared a taste of what’s to come at Heritage Festival with Major Key, an 8.5-percent East Coast-West Coast hybrid double IPA.

3. Concept Menus
Themed drink menus may seem like a marketing gimmick, but one sip of these exclusive cocktails will sell you. Pouring Ribbons in New York has been traveling with a themed menu series, hitting Route 66 and the Silk Road. Closer to home, Olive & Oak’s Gilligan’s Island-themed menu is a boozy voyage that includes a Three-Hour Tour, while sophisticated takes on college drinks were the star on Planter’s House’s spring break menu earlier this year. Recent menus at Blood & Sand have been based off everything from ninth-century Viking trade routes to popular music, and dedicated tiki menus have been found on bar menus from The Libertine to Taste to Retreat Gastropub.

4. Taste the Rainbow
Brewers are getting experimental, fermenting some of their classic base beers with fresh fruit. Side Project Brewing Co. has released raspberry, peach, blueberry and, most recently, apricot versions of its flagship Saison du Fermier. Over at Perennial Artisan Ales, Funky Wit has seen raspberry-rhubarb, raspberry, apricot and melon varieties, while fans of 2nd Shift Brewing’s Katy can try a veritable fruit salad of blackberry, peach, cherry and raspberry varieties. Looking for an insider taste? Rumor has it that 4 Hands Brewing Co. has quietly released infrequently available strawberry- and blueberry-inflected kegs of City Wide at its tasting room.

5. Basque Wine
Txakoli, a super dry, acidic white from Spain’s Basque region, has popped up on menus and in shops all summer. Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery offered the crisp 2014 Xarmant Txakolina with barely-there bubbles on its summer wine list, while Reeds American Table still has two Txakolis to try. 33 Wine Bar has three of these Basque beauties on its September wine list, including Gorrondona Txakolina.

Miss Part 1? Click here to find out what else in trending in the STL beverage scene. 

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Trendwatch: What’s trending now in the STL dining scene (Part 1)

Friday, August 5th, 2016

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1. A Better Swiss Cheese
You may not recognize the name, but you’ve probably seen raclette (a funky, nutty Swiss-French cow’s milk cheese that melts like a dream) on a BuzzFeed list or foodie Instagram account. You don’t have to go to Raclette NYC (Yes, a whole restaurant is named for the cheese.) to get it. Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. has topped winter veggies with the stuff on seasonal menus since it opened in The Grove. Larder & Cupboard has held fondue and raclette classes, and chef-owner Jim Fiala currently melts this gooey goodness over beef tenderloin at The Crossing. Chef-owner Bill Cawthon purchases whole wheels of the stuff and broils until molten, then scrapes it to order over a basket of fries at Frankly Sausages food truck.

2. Fit to Be Fried
It’s never too early for Chinese food – or completely bastardized, completely delicious American-Asian fusion. Places like The Rice House start mornings off with breakfast fried rice (fried rice with the addition of eggs and a breakfast meat). Half & Half offers a spicy version with scrambled eggs, sausage, jalapeno and grilled onion, while Cleveland-Heath goes with green onion, bacon, peas and sesame seeds topped with eggs any style.

 

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3. Get Lit
Neon isn’t just for dive bars anymore. The beer sign classic has a fancy new job as a fun design element lighting up a number of restaurants around town. It’s the red pulsing heart behind the bar at Olive & Oak. See neon inside Friendship Brewing Co. telling guests where to eat with bright pink letters. Vista Ramen took its name from the massive vintage sign that now glows green in its small Cherokee space.

4. Spotlight on Sambal
First there was Sriracha, then pungent gochujang. Now sambal is heating up plates around town. Planter’s House uses the spicy Southeast Asian chile paste to add heat to pickled eggs, as well as the cornbread crumbs scattered atop its summer salad. Seafood got sauced with the condiment at Hiro Asian Kitchen, where it graced the grilled whole squid, and at Guerrilla Street Food, where it livened up a recent pan-roasted salmon special. The Crossing drops the temp a few degrees, mixing sambal into a cooling aioli for its Maryland blue crabcake sandwich, and a house-made version snuck in with strawberries atop ricotta and fresh snap peas at a recent Sardella pop-up.

 

Ready for more? Click here for Part 2 of Trendwatch.  

Edible Weekend: 3 more food-filled events to extend the weekend

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Party on the pavement or dine on the bluffs this weekend, and save room for three more ways to eat your way through next week.

 

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{Sushi at SubZero Vodka Bar}

 

1. Wine Summer School: Terroir
Learn why dirt is just as important an ingredient in your favorite wine as the grapes.
June 13 – 6 to 7 p.m., Facebook: EdgeWild Restaurant & Winery 

2. Kamayan Night
No forks or knives needed at this Filipino-inspired dinner at Hiro Asian Kitchen.
June 14 – 7 to 9 p.m., brownpapertickets.com

3. Sushi School
Dine on a three-course meal with two drink pairings at this hands-on sushi experience at SubZero Vodka Bar.
June 14 – 7 to 9 p.m., subzerovodkabar.com 

Still hungry? Sign up for Edible Weekend and get the weekend’s top four foodie events delivered to your inbox every Wednesday. Click here to sign up!

Trendwatch: A look at what’s on our plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now (Part 2)

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Don’t miss Part 1 of Trendwatch here.

 

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4. Filipino food at the forefront: The flavors of the Phillippines are gaining traction across the country with big-name chefs like Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao in NYC, Christina Quackenbush of NOLA’s Milkfish and Paul Qui at Qui in Austin, Texas. It’s also finding footing in this town at places like Mandarin House in University City, where Sunday brunch turns into a Filipino fete. Its Kamayan buffet includes dozens of classic dishes with everything from tocino (Filipino-style sweet breakfast bacon) to lechon (roast suckling pig). Settle dinner pangs at Hiro Asian Kitchen Tuesdays and Wednesdays when chef Malou Perez-Nievera (know for her Filipino food blog Skip to Malou) prepares a menu of modern Filipino specials. And if you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon for Filipino fusion by mobile eatery Guerrilla Street Food, tuck in at its new brick-and-mortar restaurant near the corner of Arsenal Street and Grand Boulevard.

 

5. Dressed in meat: It’s no secret that bacon fat gives unctuous oomph to salad dressings, but chefs are picking other proteins to beef up their vinaigrettes. Missed the scallops swimming in chorizo dressing at Cleveland-Heath or the chicken fat vin on the salad lyonnaise at Old Standard? Experience an alt-meat salad dressing with Sidney Street Cafe’s bone marrow vin on its smoked brisket dish, or order the beet salad dressed in a fiery-hot Italian ’nduja vinaigrette at Reeds American Table in Maplewood when it opens later this month.

 

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6. Jewish deli dance: Quit kvetching about a lack of Jewish flavors in St. Louis; there are signs that Jewish noshes are seeing some chef love. Now, you can find house-made pastrami at places like Dalie’s Smokehouse, Bogart’s and Death in the Afternoon (whose exec chef David Rosenfeld also digs into his Jewish roots for inspiration on multiple dishes at sister restaurant Blood & Sand). Then there’s restaurateur Ben Poremba (Elaia, Olio, Old Standard Fried Chicken): The news about his upcoming Jewish deli in Clayton has us salivating for lox and bagels, chopped liver sandwiches, knishes and matzo ball soup. While we’re waiting, if someone would make avant garde Jewish-inflected fare like the octopus “pastrami” at Bâtard in NYC, we’d dance the hora.

 

-photos by Michelle Volansky

Extra Sauce: Team Sauce’s favorite chicken wings

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Chicken wings are ubiquitous on a Super Bowl spread. We’re all for making our own, but nothing can beat our favorite restaurants, bars and barbecue joints. Here’s where Team Sauce goes when we’re craving chicken wings:

 

 

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Did we pick one of your favorites? Are we out of our minds? Who did we miss? Tell us your go-to chicken wings in the comments below and find our favorites here: Three Kings Public House, Cleveland-Heath, Planter’s House, St. Louis Wing Co., Hiro Asian Kitchen and Bogart’s Smokehouse.

 

-Three Kings photo by Greg Rannells; Bogart’s photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

Just Five: Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

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Although pho ga is my go-to Asian dish in colder weather, I recently tried the ramen at Hiro Asian Kitchen, which is all about the porky goodness. Slices of pork belly float in a clear pork broth with bok choy and bits of the most delicious ground pork I’ve ever had. The excitement sent me home with inspiration.

It’s difficult to replicate Asian dishes with just five ingredients, but Chinese five-spice is a nice cheat. Made up of star anise, cinnamon, fennel, cloves and Szechwan pepper, it’s a powerhouse that’s heavy on the aromatics and offers a little bit of heat, too.

This simple lettuce wrap is a light and satisfying lunch or dinner, and it can be made with any ground protein: pork, beef, turkey or tofu. Try adding shredded carrots, cilantro, hot sauce or sesame oil for additional flavor and texture if you like. Cook up a little coconut rice to serve with it, and you’ll have dinner in 10 minutes or less.

 

Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps
2 to 3 servings

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. ground pork
1 Tbsp. Chinese five-spice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
6 leaves Boston or butter lettuce
¼ cup chopped green onion

• Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and break up with a wooden spoon and cook until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Season with the Chinese five spice and soy sauce and toss until the five spice is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
• Spoon about 1/3 cup of the pork into each lettuce leaf and top with chopped green onion. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

Best of Brunch: Hiro Asian Kitchen, Bixby’s, Half & Half

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

When the weekend rolls around, our minds are on one thing: brunch. We can’t wait to pass away a lazy Sunday at a spot where the people are friendly, the bloody marys are strong (and sometimes bottomless) and pretty much everything is crowned with a sunny egg or served with a short stack. That’s why our June issue celebrates the very Best of Brunch, our top 11 places to indulge in the best meal of the week.

Here, find out why Hiro Asian Kitchen, Bixby’s and Half & Half made our list:

 

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Hiro Asian Kitchen: 1405 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.4476,
hiroasiankitchen.com
Brunch: Sun. – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

When Asian flavors are on your mind, Hiro Asian Kitchen is the answer. Put a comb to that bed-head and hit up one of the most stylish brunches in town (with spectacularly snazzy décor to match). Hiro showcases contemporary interpretations of breakfast and lunch dishes from China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan and other Southeast Asian nations. You’ll also find familiar American a.m. fare reimagined with Pac Rim ingredients, like the parfait-esque sweet tofu pudding; the green tea waffle (pictured) drizzled with sake syrup and topped with vanilla ice cream, house-made coconut cream and fresh fruit; and the Kaya Toast, a Malaysian-style French toast with house-made sweet coconut egg jam and a fried egg on the side. Out late clubbing on Washington Avenue? Wake up with the Hiro Slinger, which features bulgogi beef, tater tots, chipotle mayo, spicy cheese sauce and an over-easy egg. From a pair of bloodies to the mimosa to the Lychee-lini, a modified bellini that subs puréed lychee for peach, the brunch cocktails here are filled to the brim with delicious Asian distinction. – L.F.

 

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Bixby’s: Missouri History Museum, 2nd floor, 5700 Lindell
Blvd., St. Louis, 314.361.7313, bixbys-mohistory.com
Brunch: Sun. – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bixby’s is practically a St. Louis institution, tucked in a natural-lit corner on the second floor of the Missouri History Museum. Floor-to-ceiling windows ensure an unimpeded view of Forest Park, and among the after-church crowd and small family gatherings you’ll dine in a quiet bustle of activity. You can either visit the buffet to fill your plate yourself, or order as much as you want from the restaurant’s a la carte menu, then settle in while the staff brings it straight from chef Callaghan Carter’s hands to yours. In either case, you’ll be handing over $25.75 – and that includes a glass of Champagne.

We recommend the eggs Benedict of the day. During our visit, the big B included rich slices of Black Forest ham, a poached egg and locally sourced sunflower sprouts delicately arranged on top. Save room for a heaping portion of the bread pudding with caramel sauce (pictured), the capstone to this delicious – if staidly traditional – brunch experience. – G.F.

 

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Half & Half: 8135 Maryland Ave., Clayton, 314.725.0719,
halfandhalfstl.com
Brunch: Sat. and Sun. – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Eggs and coffee are the heroes of brunch, and Half & Half knows how to do both equally well. On Saturdays and Sundays, it offers a special brunch menu of three items with fresh, seasonal ingredients and, as always, eggs. These, by the way, are executed with precision, whether they’re perfectly poached atop the Soft-Shelled Crab Benedict; scrambled to a golden fluff and stuffed in breakfast tacos with chorizo; or simply served sunny side up to finish The Mom Hash, an earthy mix of mushrooms, spinach, snow peas, prosciutto and carrots. Since the wait for a table can last up to an hour on weekends, pass the time by indulging in Half & Half’s excellent coffee program, which outstrips just about everyone else in town. The menu includes everything from pour-overs to cold brews to drip coffee to espresso drinks, all brewed from thoughtfully selected and delicious beans. Try the Rwandan Rulindo (pictured) from Handsome Coffee Roasters in a pour-over and you won’t be disappointed. – M.N.

-photos by Carmen Troesser

 

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