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Dec 13, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Kounter Kulture’

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Sauce restaurant critic Michael Renner has tasted his fair share of St. Louis cuisine. All year, he shared his thoughts on New and Notable restaurants. Here, he shares his top five dishes of 2016:

 

5. Hakka Stir Fry at Tai Ke
In a single mouthful, this Taiwanese dish, consisting of matchstick slivers of pork, squid and dried tofu tossed with celery and garlic, managed to defy simplicity with a brilliant concatenation of complex flavors and textures.

 

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4. Brodetto at Parigi
This tomato-based fish stew was a picture-perfect bowl of snow-white fish, clams, mussels and head-on shrimp in a broth redolent with red wine vinegar and lemon zest. I did not come up for air until each shell was picked clean and every drop of intoxicating broth was sopped up with yeasty, crusty bread.

3. Potpie at Olive & Oak
Puncturing the buttery, flakey robe of crust revealed a treasure of mushrooms, kale, butternut squash and cauliflower through puffs of fragrant steam. The earthy roasted leek gravy proved that not every potpie requires chicken or beef.

 

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2. Vegetable Ramen at Vista Ramen
My veggie ramen at Vista was chock-full of cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms and carrots, though yours may vary. What won’t change is the broth’s deep, funky umami, so rich it seems like a liqueur.

 

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And the No. 1 Dish of the Year…
Catfish Po’ Boy Steamed Bun at Kounter Kulture
A dark-hued, crackling fried coating framed the natural succulence and fresh taste of catfish, all topped with an unforgettable sprinkle of spicy togarashi and douse of creamy shishito pepper-cherry tomato remoulade.

Parigi and Vista Ramen photos by Jonathan Gayman

Related Content
10 Best New Restaurants of 2016

New & Notable: Kounter Kulture

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2015

 

 

Best New Restaurants: No. 4 – Kounter Kulture

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened: St. Louis’ 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016.

 

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{ khao soi }

A carryout-only restaurant this high on our list will only surprise those unfamiliar with Kitchen Kulture from co-owners Christine Meyer and chef Michael Miller. The fine dining veterans make the foreign local and the local foreign at their first brick-and-mortar with a tight, rotating menu of Asian-inspired dishes.

“Using ingredients that people are familiar with – sourcing locally – is a great way to introduce people to things,” Miller said. The same goes for familiar dishes, which can help expose diners to new flavors. Take, for example, the shrimp and grits currently on the menu, made with coconut milk grits, lemongrass-marinated shrimp and a peanut-pepper relish. “I get that by nature [shrimp and grits] is not an Asian dish, but it’s one of those things that brings people in on a comfort level,” he said. “It’s a great gateway dish.

“That’s why we play a lot with our amuse-bouche,” he said. “Because it’s something that people might not order, but they’ll try because it’s free. There’s no risk.” Yes, Kounter Kulture offers complimentary, intricately composed bites for those waiting to pick up to-go orders. Not something you’d expect at a counter service spot with zero elbowroom on Watson Road.

“We’re trying to jam two hours worth of service into five or six minutes,” Meyer said. Servers at a sit-down restaurant can see if diners enjoy their meals or not, but the team at Kounter Kulture has to get more creative. “Having that customer contact every day has been fabulous,” she said. “It allows you to build better relationships, and the feedback is so important.”

But let’s be clear: We don’t go to Kounter Kulture for an education. We go for the food. We go for the khao soi. Miller’s version of the northern Thai soup starts with his house-made curry paste, which he cooks in schmaltz and simmers in stock. The bowl full of shredded Buttonwood Farms chicken, Midwest Pasta Co. egg noodles, pickled greens, lime juice, cilantro and burnt chile oil takes more than four hours to make. “It’s worth the time,” Miller said.

Like Kounter Kulture itself, the khao soi fits more in a small package than should be possible. It’s spicy, smooth, sweet, savory, bright, rich and piquant. “Asian food is a balancing act, because there are so many flavor notes,” Miller said. “It’s like a symphony – you can have something that’s really balanced but still has so much going on.” Consider this our standing ovation.

 

More about Kounter Kulture

• The Scoop: Kitchen Kulture to open brick and mortar, Kounter Kulture

• Sneak Peek: Kounter Kulture in Lindenwood Park

• Hit List: 4 restaurants you must try this August

New and Notable: Kounter Kulture

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Hit List: 4 restaurants you must try this August

Monday, August 1st, 2016

House-made pizzas from the kitchen at Start Bar: veggie, with roasted grape tomato, basil and mozzarella (left), and a rotating specialty pizza, shown here with chicken, artichoke, spinach and white sauce.

 

1. Start Bar: 1000 Spruce St., St. Louis, 314.376.4453, startbarstl.com

Reward your inner child with a trip to Start Bar for skee-ball and boozy snow cones. The surprisingly chic video game-themed space offers 19 arcade games with a variety of fighting, shooting, old-school and multiplayer options that will rotate based on popularity. (And yes, they’re getting Killer Queen, that 10-person game with a cult following.) Once you’ve OD’ed on treats like the Bacon Pancake Shake made with bacon-infused bourbon, pancake batter, maple syrup and vanilla ice cream, order a house-made Neopolitan-style pizza. The weekly specialty offering will please even those without an inner child; a recent version featured a house white sauce, roast chicken, artichokes and spinach with mozzarella cheese. There’s also a long canned craft beer list and a full bar for those committed to acting their age, but we’ll see you at the candy counter before we kick ass at Mario Kart in one of the four game lounges upstairs.

 

The cold ramen salad is made with Midwest Pasta Co. alkaline noodles; raw, pickled and fermented seasonal vegetables; marinated Mofu tofu; a slow-cooked egg and a ginger-scallion sauce.
 

2. Kounter Kulture: 3825 Watson Road, St. Louis, 314.781.4344, Facebook: Kounter Kulture

After popping up at Tower Grove Farmers Market, Local Harvest Cafe, Sump Coffee and others, Kitchen Kulture co-owners Christine Meyer and chef Mike Miller finally put down roots at Kounter Kulture. They revamped the former home of Pint Size Bakery, creating a primarily carryout spot with a small, frequently rotating roster of Asian-inspired dishes. Start with a large house-made steamed bun stuffed with breaded pork loin or crisp Mofu tofu. Grab larger entrees like the tender smoked trout on a bed of al dente wax beans; the cold ramen bowl packed with pickled veggies, tender marinated tofu and a perfectly soft-cooked egg; or spicy-savory khao soi with rich red curry, Buttonwood Farms chicken, egg noodles and pickled greens. Sharing with a friend? Load a pizza-sized okonomiyaki (an eggy Japanese pancake) with shrimp, bacon and kimchi.

3. Louie’s Wine Dive: 16 S. Bemiston Ave., Clayton, 314.875.9373, louieswinedive.com

Louie’s Wine Dive & Clayton Kitchen has won over Claytonites with its quirky decor, indulgent small plates and lively atmosphere. Start with the cheese curds: bits of breaded, fried cheese equally at home in the accompanying serrano dill aioli and classic marinara. Or go bigger with the bluefin-crab poutine, a pile of crab, mushrooms, cheese curds and seafood broth over a bed of crispy shoestring fries. The pork gnocchi is light and fluffy with chunks of tender braised pork swimming in a velvety red wine cream sauce. The wine list is expansive with interesting, unusual options available by the glass, but cocktail fans won’t be disappointed either. Try the refreshing Grandma’s Garden, where cucumber, mint and lime are muddled and mixed with gin and sauvignon blanc for a sweet summer sipper.

 

A variety of kababs are offered in different styles and proteins. Shown here: chicken.
 

4. Absolute BBQ Indian Wish Grill: 17409 Chesterfield Airport Road, Suite C, Chesterfield, 314.200.1111, abarbq.com

The name may confound, but those curious enough to stop at Absolute BBQ Indian Wish Grill in Chesterfield won’t be disappointed. Start with an order of plump vegetarian samosas or the bite-sized pieces of spicy ABQ chicken. Lamb, chicken, seafood and vegetable kebabs are offered with five different spice preparations. We fell hard for the succulent chicken kebab with hariyali tangdi, a blend of Indian spices including red chile and masala, served with a fiery mint dipping sauce. For less heat, opt for the goat haleem, a thick stew heady with savory and baking spices. Shredded goat meat and lentils are cooked down to a paste-like texture, perfect for scooping up with a side of naan.

 

-photos by Michelle Volansky

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

It’s been a busy week in the St. Louis’ food scene. Catch up, in case you missed it…

 

1. Our July issue hit stands, featuring our annual Readers’ Choice winners. Find out who you voted your favorite places to eat, drink and shop in St. Louis.

2. There will once again be a dining option at the corner of Lindbergh Boulevard and Watson Road when Twisted Tree Steakhouse opens July 14 in Sunset Hills.

 

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3. Ashley Shelton of Pastaria took the top prize in Eater’s Young Guns competition, becoming the first St. Louis chef to win. The winners were announced on June 28.

4. Thurman Grill owner Larry Weinles is selling the business to Doug Fowler, who is keeping tight-lipped about his plans for the restaurant. Fowler said he hopes to reopen on Aug. 1 as Thurman’s in Shaw.

 

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5. Pop-up eatery Kitchen Kulture has put down roots under the name Kounter Kulture. As The Scoop reported in March, co-owners Christine Meyer and chef Michael Miller are opening up shop on Tuesday, July 5 in the former Pint Size Bakery location at 3825 Watson Road.

6. St. Charles will have a new fast and easy taco joint this summer. Fort Taco, which opened July 1, is located at 3788 Elm St., in the old Daylight Donuts space.

 

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7. Hop heads will have a new hangout when Gezellig Taphouse & Bottleshop opens its doors in late September or early October at 4191 Manchester Road in The Grove.

8. A chic, new way to host an open bar at your next event has hit the pavement. The Wandering Sidecar Bar, brainchild of co-owners Tiffany and Dave Unger, is a souped-up camper customers can rent for beverage service at private event.

 

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9. Cottleville has a new place to get cool treats this summer. Andrew Brewer, who also owns neighboring Plank Road Pizza, opened Cottleville Cookies & Cream at 5525 Oak St., Thursday, June 23.

10. This weekend also marks the last meal at Winfield’s Gathering Place in Kirkwood and The Wheelhouse in Clayton.

 

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11. Fans of Hacienda Mexican Restaurant in Rock Hill can get a quick bite when its sister restaurant opens Mayana Mexican Kitchen at 7810 Forsyth Blvd., in Clayton on Friday, July 8.

 

 

 

Sneak Peek: Kounter Kulture in Lindenwood Park

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

SneakPeek_KounterKulture_04

 

Pop-up eatery Kitchen Kulture has put down roots under the name Kounter Kulture. As The Scoop reported in March, co-owners Christine Meyer and chef Michael Miller are opening up shop on Tuesday, July 5 in the former Pint Size Bakery location at 3825 Watson Road. They will post up at their regular spots at the Tower Grover Farmers Market, but they’re relieved to have a permanent location. “We’ve been mobile for so long,” Meyer said. “After a certain point you just want a home.”

The petite redesigned restaurant offers a full view of the open kitchen behind the walk-up service counter. “We treated this place like a submarine,” Meyer said. “Everything had to have a place and a purpose or it didn’t make it in.” Even the counter is on wheels and can separate into mobile prep stations when the restaurant isn’t open.

While business will be primarily carryout, Kounter Kulture offers around 20 seats outside at cafe tables. The menu features  a tight, rotating roster Asian-inspired dishes like spring rolls, okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes), steamed buns and noodle bowls like a cold ramen salad and a khao soi made with Midwest Pasta Co. noodles.

Open from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, here’s a sneak peek of Kounter Kulture’s open kitchen.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Our new issue hit stands this week, and we’ve got the hottest news and trends in our annual Sauce Guide to Beer. And from popups putting down roots to juicy new shops in Edwardsville, here’s what went down in the STL food scene this week, in case you missed it…

 

 

1. Our new issue featuring our annual Guide to Beer hit stands this week. Don’t miss a word. Click above to read it online now!

2.. Combining Asian culinary roots with love of the established Mexican food scene on Cherokee Street, Sue Wong-Shackelford and husband Mark Shackelford plan to open Kalbi Taco Shack in late spring or early summer at 2301 Cherokee St.

 

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3.. Everyone is movin’ on up on Watson Road. Kitchen Kulture’s Michael Miller and Christine Meyer announced March 3 that they will open Kounter Kulture in the space currently occupied by Pint Size Bakery.

4. Fresh juice and good vibes were flowing on Tuesday at Source Juicery in downtown Edwardsville as owners Michelle Motley, Lisa Hudson and Chrissy Stevens, formerly of the Cleveland-Heath kitchen, opened the doors of their healthy food-to-go concept at 220 N. Main St.

 

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5. A carryout taco joint and a recording studio walk into a bar … Rather, they share a space with one at 4916 Shaw Blvd., on The Hill, where patrons can now experience all three in one night at Cha Cha on Shaw, The Gaslight and Gaslight Studio.

 

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6. After 14 years at Schlafly, Troika Brodsky became a one-man PR machine for the Guild’s 40-plus area breweries. Find out his thoughts on the power of St. Louis beer.

 

 

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