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Apr 23, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Mona’s’

Extra Sauce: Three new brunches to try this month

Friday, March 10th, 2017

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{ Okonomiyaki from Vista Ramen }

This town loves a good brunch, and three restaurants have recently debuted new, diverse offerings for our weekend noshing.

“Brunch was never really part of the original plan,” said Monas owner Brendan Marsden. But after hearing that customers wanted more brunch options on The Hill, Marsden decided to oblige on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mona’s brunch menu includes breakfast pizza with potato, bacon, salsa verde and sunny side up eggs, and a skillet hash with fingerling potatoes, baby carrots, peppers, onions, kale and two eggs, topped with a white cheddar sauce.

From Nutella risotto balls to cured salmon eggs benedict, Sardella is covering all the sweet and savory bases on its new brunch menu, offered Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “It’s not a 20-page brunch list,” said chef-owner Gerard Craft. “It’s maybe food you’ve seen before, but from our perspective.” Try Craft’s current favorite – the umami bomb Parmesan French toast, served with mascarpone and maple syrup.

Beginning March 19, Vista Ramen will also be in on the brunch game on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “I felt like there was a gap we could fill,” said chef-co-owner Chris Bork. “We offer a little something different.” Look for Asian-inspired dishes like grits with smoked shrimp XO sauce, shiro dashi, poached eggs, bacon and furikake, and a Reuben-inspired okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) piled with corned beef, white kimchi, house-made pickles, dollops of thousand island dressing and a sunny side up egg.

Mona’s, 5257 Shaw Ave., St. Louis, 314.772.8272, monasjoint.com; Sardella, 7734 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.773.7755, sardellastl.com; Vista Ramen, 2609 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.797.8250, vistaramen

- photo by Michelle Volansky

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

Friday, January 13th, 2017

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1. Smash and Grab
St. Louisans don’t have to wait until Shake Shack opens later this year to get their griddle burger fix of thin patties smashed on a flattop. Get a taste at Reeds American Table, where two patties are smothered with Swiss cheese and tallow aioli, or head to Olive & Oak in Webster Groves, where the kitchen keeps it classic with American cheese and dill pickles. The smashed Farmhouse Burger has been a fixture at Retreat Gastropub since it opened in October 2015, and The Dam in Tower Grove South does smashed patties – though the burgers are stacked so high with fixins, it’s hard to tell. Find griddled burgers at Brasserie, Local Chef Kitchen and Baileys’ Range, too.

2. Drinking like a Vegan
Aquafaba, aka the cloudy liquid in a can of chickpeas that usually goes down the drain, has seen new life as a vegan egg replacer in baked goods. Now it’s found its way behind the bar and into Pisco Sours at Los Angeles establishments like Birch and Gracias Madre. Small Batch pulled a similar move in its Cicer Sour with aquafaba, smoked almond Pisco and dry curacao. Bengelina Hospitality bar manager Drew Lucido shakes it with Old Tom Gin, Becherovka and lemon juice in The Walden at Olio, while the team across the street at Nixta uses a cream whipper to add a foamy, egg-free head to the No. 3.

3. Kung Pao That
The Chinese staple is popping up outside the takeout box these days at restaurants like Mission Chinese in San Francisco, which has a kung pao pastrami we hope someone in town will replicate. Chefs at Cleveland-Heath were inspired by a celery dish at Mission’s NYC location to create a shaved raw beef and celery kung pao special for St. Louisans to enjoy last summer. The Preston swaps in calamari for a sophisticated take on the dish, and the pop-up and future restaurant Good Fortune is crazy about kung pao. It incorporated the flavors into a bratwurst made for a collaboration with Brasserie, and made a kung pao pizza for an event with Delicious Pizza in Los Angeles.

 

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4. Rise and Shine
The Egg McMuffin will always hold a special greasy place in our hearts, but area restaurants are taking breakfast more seriously these days. Whole concepts, like Egg on Gravois Avenue and Yolklore in Crestwood, are devoted to breakfast beyond the standard flapjacks, eggs and bacon. Quick counter-service options at newly opened eateries like Sardella and The Garden on Grand mean we’re setting our weekday alarms a few minutes earlier. Even pop-up eateries are getting in on the action: Revel Kitchen chef-owner Simon Lusky and chef Adam Altnether recently hosted the breakfast-themed Waffle Nut Pop-up, serving sweet and savory waffle combos and cereal milk coffee beverages.

5. Lightning in a Mug
Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and a large dose of caffeine, yerba mate is a light, herbaceous tea that’s creeping its way into local spots like SweetArt, where it’s served hot, and Comet Coffee, where it’s found in two forms: as hot tea and as a mocha-nut mate made with toasted mate leaves, chocolate, hazelnut and marigold flowers for a sweet treat. Pick up some of the loose-leaf tea to brew at home from international grocers like Global Foods Market or United Provisions.

6. Meat Lollipops
Some St. Louis chefs are frenching chicken drumettes, trimming classic wings into little meat lollipops. The trend has a confusing extra-work-for-less-meat quality, but we’ve bought jeans with holes in the knees, so we’re not here to judge. Try the lollies at Mona’s, where they’re smoked and served with a creamy giardiniera sauce and salsa verde, or at Copper Pig with a Vietnamese fish sauce caramel or a sweet chile basil sauce. Scapegoat offers a more traditional Buffalo version.

7. Taste the Magic
Magic Shell is making appearances outside grandma’s sundae bar these days. We noticed it with caramelized honey and honeycomb candy on soft serve at The Honey Paw in Portland, Maine, and over caramel corn and vanilla malted milk balls at Girl & the Goat in Chicago. But Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. has offered the topping on soft serve since it opened in 2014, and our favorite matcha-chocolate cookie gelato pop from Porano this summer was dipped in Magic Shell. Taste’s new brownie dessert with candy cap ice cream and toffee sauce lives in a Magic Shell house, too.

 

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Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Monday, October 31st, 2016

From Ben Poremba’s newest restaurant to a fire at Waterloo’s newest brewery, here’s what went down in the St. Louis restaurant scene last week, in case you missed it…

 

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1. Three months after closing Old Standard Fried Chicken, Ben Poremba has a new concept ready to debut: Nixta, a Mexican restaurant at 1621 Tower Grove Ave. A soft opening is slated for Nov. 11.

2. After nearly three years in business, Nathalie’s is closing doors at 4365 Lindell Blvd., in the Central West End. Owner Nathalie Pettus said the restaurant’s last day will be Saturday, Nov. 5.

 

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3. Cherokee Street has a new spot for cheap, late-night eats and just one more round. The B-Side hosted a soft opening on Friday, Oct. 21 at 2709 Cherokee St.

4. The former catering arm of Local Harvest Grocery is under new ownership, emerging as Seed Sprout Spoon. Erin Wiles and The Civil Life’s former chef Brendan Kirby quietly purchased the business in August, finishing up existing catering contracts before making the transition.

 

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5. Two months after closing doors at his Spanish tapas restaurant, owner Brendan Marsden opened doors at Mona’s, an American-Italian joint, on Oct. 19.

6. Just one month after opening, a fire broke out at Hopskeller Brewing Co. on Oct. 23. Owner Matt Schweizer said the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, and no one was injured.

 

 

 

First Look: Mona’s on The Hill

Monday, October 24th, 2016

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Two months after closing doors at his Spanish tapas restaurant, owner Brendan Marsden opened doors at Mona’s, an American-Italian joint, on Oct. 19. As The Scoop reported in August, Marsden closed Modesto after 15 years, announcing that it was time for a concept change at the space on 5257 Shaw Ave.

The Hill is known for Italian-American eateries, but Marsden has his own spin. Pizzas feature toppings inspired by different American culinary regions, like a smoked chicken pizza with corn, red onion and grilled red pepper. While the ultra-thin pizza crusts lean toward the lighter side, four pasta dishes offer heartier fare.

Marsden spent the last two months updating the interior, which now features white and blue walls. The space seats roughly 100 in bright yellow chairs. While the menu is new, loyal Modesto fans will find a pleasant surprise: the bacon-wrapped dates and bread pudding still make an appearance.

Mona’s is currently open Monday to Thursday from 5 to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10:30 p.m.; Marsden plans to add lunch service in the coming weeks. Here’s a first look at The Hill’s newest eatery:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Monday, September 12th, 2016

From new restaurant openings on South Grand to a new concept in a Hill institution, here’s what went down last week in the St. Louis food scene, ICYMI…

 

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1. Just north of the hustle and bustle on South Grand, The Garden on Grand has opened with limited hours at 2245 S. Grand Blvd. Owner Cevin Lee and executive chef Kore Wilbert hope to provide meals that are health-focused without sacrificing flavor.

2. Tapas are out and pizzas are in at 5257 Shaw Ave., the former home of Modesto. Owner Brendan Marsden plans to open Mona’s, an American-Italian restaurant, the first week of October.

 

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3. Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice opens doors at 3906 Laclede Ave., in Midtown Sept. 9, to serve its cocktail slushies to the thirsty masses. Co-owners Brad Merten and Brandon Holzhueter are opening the 1,900-square-foot space with a rotating menu focused on upscale frozen cocktails.

4. After a yearlong search for a suitable St. Louis location, The Blue Duck is building a new nest in Maplewood at 7401 Manchester Road. The restaurant is part of new development in the space that once housed Monarch Restaurant.

 

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5. You may not know Dan Brewer’s name, but you’ve seen his Missouri-sourced tofu on dishes from Revel Kitchen to Mission Taco Joint. However, producing Mofu is only part of his resume.

6. After four years at Niche Restaurant Group, Anne Croy has left her position as Pastaria’s executive pastry chef. Her last day was Thursday, Sept. 1.

 

 

 

The Scoop: Mona’s to open in former Modesto space

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

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Tapas are out and pizzas are in at 5257 Shaw Ave., the former home of Modesto. Owner Brendan Marsden plans to open Mona’s, an American-Italian restaurant, the first week of October, as reported by St. Louis Magazine. The restaurant is named for Marsden’s mother.

Don’t confuse American-Italian and Italian-American, though. “It’s regional American cuisine and ingredients presented in an Italian way,” Marsden said. Pizzas or pastas may feature toppings inspired by American regions, such as crawfish and andouille or pork paired with chiles and pineapple. Executive chef Carlos Hernandez will develop a menu centered around pizza with four or five pasta options and appetizers.

“We’re not really playing by the rules. We want people to know we’re not trying to be authentic in any way, but it’s all going to be high quality,” Marsden said.

Marsden, who also owns Whitebox Eatery in Clayton, closed Modesto on Aug. 20 after 15 years serving Spanish tapas. Customers can expect a new look to go with the new concept. “It’s a complete remodel,” he said. “We’re not removing walls, but it will look a lot different. Everything will be refinished or replaced.”

The beverage program will focus primarily on beer and wine with a limited selection of Italian-inspired cocktails like Negronis and spritzes. Marsden said fans of Modesto’s sangria need not worry; a version will still be available at Mona’s.

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