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Dec 15, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘The Preston’

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

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Sneak Peek: The Chase Club in the Central West End

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

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The Chase Club, formerly Café Eau, debuts at The Chase Park Plaza tomorrow, March 31. The new concept features a new food and drink menu and revamped decor.

Executive chef Colin Smelser, chef de cuisine Theron Pajares and executive pastry chef Eric Phillips put together a menu that features favorites like burgers and flatbreads, along with creative twists on classics like the Shrimp St. Paul Sliders, served with spicy mayo and a selection of house pickles alongside.

“We have the same menu all day long now, and the food is geared toward the atmosphere we have now,” said Pajares.

Beverage manager Joshua Johnson created a locally focused beer list featuring 18 beers on tap and another 27 in bottles and cans. There’s also a selection of wine and a cocktail list that includes original creations and classics like the oft-overlooked Airmail, a refreshing combination of rum, honey, lime juice and sparkling wine.

The space itself is a combination of high-end sports bar and stately hotel bar. Tables have replaced booths, large-screen TVs surround the bar and the new billiards area, and the room is dotted with eclectic appointments from black-and-white photos of the hotel from years past to elegant, mismatched light fixtures dangling from the ceiling.

The Chase Club is open daily from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., and the kitchen closes at midnight. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect from The Chase Park Plaza’s newest dining option:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Photos by Michelle Volansky 

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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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Best New Restaurants: No. 7 – The Preston

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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Hotel bars aim for luxury and sophistication, but most miss the mark, landing in chintz and disappointment. The Preston at The Chase Park Plaza hits a rare bull’s-eye with stylish leather chairs, cool gray wainscoting and stiff drinks served in cut crystal glasses on a marble bar. The atmosphere is swanky, but still comfortable with a refined, masculine elegance.

Service at the bar and in the dining room strikes the sweet spot of being attentive without getting in the way of conversation, with a staff dressed as smartly as the room. Some original cocktails have a classic vibe, like Goodnight Mr. Preston, which stares you down with bourbon, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, Benedictine and bitters. But others, like Smokey and The Bandito, have more drama with hickory smoke and poblano-infused tequila.

Pecan-encrusted pork tenderloin may sound like boring hotel food, but one bite of the ultra tender meat glazed in barbecue jus and pulled through the bright orange and green swirls of carrot and pea purees, and you’ll want to check into The Chase and spend the whole night. Before you pick up your room key, order the salty-sweet pretzel croissants – at any time of day, at any point in the meal; just get them.

And take a moment, as you’re cozied into the rounded plaid banquettes in dim, flattering lighting, to appreciate how rare it is to realize the fantasy of accommodations that aren’t just expensive, but downright glamorous.

 

More about The Preston

• First Look: The Preston in the Central West End

• Hit List: 6 must-try restaurants in March

Nightlife: The Preston

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

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

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

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4. So Fresh and So Clean: We’ve had our eyes peeled for earthy, peppery turmeric, a rhizome or root-like stem that’s a relative of ginger, often found in Indian food. While we’re used to seeing turmeric in its powdered form, fresh turmeric is where it’s at. We’re seeing this antioxidant powerhouse root at newly opened Source Juicery in Edwardsville, in its Up Beet juice with beets, orange, carrot, apple, ginger and turmeric. It’s also found in Scratch Brewing Co.‘s Turmeric Braggot, a honey ale with a bright finish. Fresh turmeric was also spotted at Boundary, in a roasted leek and butternut squash curry. Local farmers are trying their hand at growing it, too: Gateway Garlic Urban Farm in St. Louis and River to River Farm in southern Illinois are both raising turmeric this year.

5. OK Poke: This cold, Hawaiian tuna dish is catching fire on the coasts and popping up here, too. Raw tuna is cut into chunks, then marinated in sauces like soy and ginger and served uncooked. Look for cool poke starters at the newly opened Boundary and both The Tavern Kitchen & Bar locations.

6. Romesco Renaissance: Romesco, a classic Spanish sauce made with almonds and red bell peppers, is traditionally served with seafood, but area chefs are slathering veggies with it, too. At Retreat Gastropub, the vibrant sauce adds brightness to Brussels sprouts, and it serves as a bed for bright roasted beets topped with pine nuts and cucumbers at Element. Over at The Preston, romesco sees its familiar fishy counterpoint (roasted bronzino here), but adds ancho chiles to the red bell peppers for a smokier take on the classic.

7. Torched: From trendy New Orleans watering holes like Compère Lapin to our hometown institutions, charred rosemary is the garnish of the moment. It made an appearance in the tequila-based Who is Dañejo Parseliti? at Randolfi’s, and it’s perched on The Muddled Pig’s namesake cocktail, which features an absinthe rinse and bacon-washed bourbon. You can also catch the torched branch stretched atop the Far and Away with apple-infused gin at Taste.

(Don’t miss Part 1 of Trendwatch here.)

Hit List: 6 must-try restaurants in March

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

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1. Olive & Oak: 102 W. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, 314.736.1370, oliveandoakstl.com

Webster Groves residents have been waiting for this restaurant – the time it takes to get a table makes that clear. Step up to the bar while you wait and order the No. 36 for a sweet-tart, herbal treat with Yellow Chartreuse, Amaro Nonino, lemon and cardamom. The menu is full of thoughtful, well-constructed dishes you’d expect from former members of the Annie Gunn’s team. Beef tenderloin, so yielding you won’t need your knife, is served on a pool of cracked pepper grits and rounded out with a simple arugula salad. Don’t miss the light, fluffy gnocchi resting in rich lamb ragu that’s cut through with the tart tang of herbed goat cheese. The flavors and textures of each element complement the others with a balance worthy of Michelangelo’s most daring contrapposto.

 

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2. The Muddled Pig Gastropub: 2733 Sutton Blvd., Maplewood, 314.781.4607, Facebook: The Muddled Pig

The Muddled Pig Gastropub has joined the ever-growing ranks of Maplewood restaurants. Start with a local craft brew or house cocktail like the boozy Cherry Rye-It, filled with Bone Snapper rye, vermouth and fernet, or a zippy Spice Trade, with gin, ginger shrub and pink peppercorns. Support your libations with a bar snack of Pork Wings (fried bits of pork shank tossed in a soy-whiskey or sweet and spicy glaze) or opt for a healthy starter of Missouri Mushroom Farro Salad, which sees a generous bowl of the toothsome grain mingled with roasted local mushrooms, pickled red onion, creme fraiche and crunchy popped farro. The juicy house-ground burger doesn’t hold back with peppery bacon, thick-cut cheddar and a house pickle. And dinner appetites can try one of six entrees like a tender beer-braised pork steak slathered in house barbecue sauce with mashed potatoes and a crisp apple-blue cheese slaw, or get your caffeine fix with a coffee-braised pork shank served with grits and shaved Brussels sprouts.

 

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3. Parigi: 8025 Bonhomme Ave., Clayton, 314.899.9767, parigistl.com

Experience a bit of Italy at Parigi, the newest restaurant from owner Ben Poremba. Start things off with the sweet and spicy Beauty School Dropout (a mix including vodka, local Big O ginger liqueur and orange bitters) and Parigi’s take on a grilled Caesar salad: lightly charred romaine lettuce topped with an oil-cured anchovy fillet and Parmesan. Other highlights include a New York strip – order it with a glossy red wine reduction. Red wine also serves as the braising liquid for rich veal plated with creamy mashed Japanese sweet potato. Desserts include a selection of ice creams from Clementine’s Creamery – we’re partial to the pistachio – and a cookie plate compliments of La Patisserie Chouquette.

 
4. Ol’ School Smokehouse: 7565 S. Lindbergh Blvd., Mehlville, 314.845.8585, olschoolsmokehouse.com 

Ol’ School Smokehouse aims to teach you a lesson about from-scratch barbecue. Start with tender wings, brined in beer, slow-smoked over apple wood, then fried; we opted for dry-rubbed to savor the tender, smoky bite. Most meats are available in smaller portions as sandwiches or larger plates. Order the charred, shredded pit beef or chopped chicken, which is soused in a house-made whiskey sauce, or slice into the house-made garlic-pepper Polish sausage studded with fresh garlic. Fluffy garlic biscuits and sweet cornbread assist with soaking up extra sauce. Toothsome Chuck Wagon beans are savory, not sweet, with bits of pulled pork, and house-cut french fries are crisp, well seasoned and thin enough to eat five at a time. Class dismissed.

 

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5. Boundary: 7036 Clayton Ave., St. Louis, 314.932.7818, boundary-stl.com

Boundary, formerly The Restaurant at The Cheshire, has opened after a conceptual overhaul. The new restaurant offers a variety of dishes to share. The mussels frites features the meaty shellfish nestled under a crown of crispy fries suitable for eating by themselves or sopping up the vermouth-based broth, studded with smoky bacon and sweet, subtle fennel. Spicy Peruvian ceviche is served in a coconut shell, each spoonful giving a quick hit of intense heat up front, cooled by chunks of creamy corvina whitefish. Buttery rainbow trout is served atop a roasted cauliflower steak and sunchoke puree with barely roasted leeks to provide a bright bite.

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6. The Preston: 212 N. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, 314.633.7800, theprestonstl.com 

It’s out with the Eau and in with The Preston as the newly renovated and rebranded eatery in The Chase Park Plaza. The Preston’s menu features a long list of shareable small plates like pillowy gnocchi with charred octopus or the sweet and meaty Pei mussels. Dessert takes the cake with the Melted Chocolate; served tableside, hot caramel is poured over a hollow sphere of chocolate that melts away to reveal salted peanut gelato and peanut brittle. Save room for the bread plate, especially when it comes with the ultra-flaky pretzel croissant. Order up a round of cocktails like the frothy, gin-based Mayfair or the boozy, bourbon-based Goodnight Mr. Preston, then pick a few plates and pass them around the table.

-photos by Michelle Volansky and Meera Nagarajan 

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

From sneak peeks of new restaurants to hometown beer victories to a mouth-watering new issue, here’s everything that went down in the STL culinary scene last week, in case you missed it.

 

1. Our February issue hit stands Monday, featuring everything we love right now from bread to Scandinavian spirits to a swoon-worthy triple-chocolate croissant from La Patisserie Chouquette. Click above to read online for free now.

 

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2. We shared 4 new restaurants you absolutely must try this month, including Porano Pasta, Moya Grill, Nami Ramen and Midtown Sushi & Ramen. Check out the Sauce Hit List.

 

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3. Companion has invited the public into its baking process on Feb. 2, when doors opened at its new Maryland Heights campus.

4. A taste of China, India and the Mediterranean is slated to open at the end of March when first-time restaurant owner Venkatesh Sattaru welcomes diners to Absolute BBQ – Indian Wish Grill.

 

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5. After four months of renovation, the space in The Chase Park Plaza that formerly housed Eau Bistro, which closed on Nov. 3, 2015, has been transformed into The Preston.

6. Meat lovers in Mehlville and beyond have a new place to get their fix. Co-owners Wes Smith, CJ Baerman and Shawn Orloski opened Ol’ School Smokehouse at 7565 S. Lindbergh Blvd., on Monday, Jan. 25.

 

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7.  True, St. Louis isn’t exactly in love with the NFL at the moment, but we’ll take any excuse to slather wings in hot sauce and eat with reckless, sloppy abandon. Here, 4 chicken wing recipes to win the Super Bowl spread.

8. McArthur’s Bakery Café will whip up a lot more frosting next month. The 60-year-old St. Louis institution announced Feb. 4 that it will add another bakery and cafe at 6630 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop.

 

 

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9. Meet Patrick Devine, assistant pastry chef of Simone Faure’s La Patisserie Chouquette in Botanical Heights and learn about his love of challenging technique and crowd-pleasing sweets.

10. It was a good start to February for the St. Louis beer scene as several breweries, restaurants and retailers took home RateBeer awards at the website’s annual festival and awards show last weekend, Jan. 30 and 31.

 

-Porano photo by Greg Rannells, Patrick Devine photo by Carmen Troesser, Companion photo by Meera Nagarajan, The Preston photo by Michelle Volansky 

First Look: The Preston in the Central West End

Friday, February 5th, 2016

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After four months of renovation, the space in The Chase Park Plaza that formerly housed Eau Bistro, which closed on Nov. 3, 2015, has been transformed into The Preston. The new space, freshly painted and completely renovated from floor to silverware, opened its doors Monday, Feb. 1 inside the hotel at 212 N. Kingshighway Blvd., in the Central West End. The bar was named for The Chase Park Plaza’s architect, Preston Bradshaw.

Up to 104 diners can order from more than 20 shareable small plates priced from around $6 (charred shishito peppers or citrus marinated olives) to $20 (bone-in short ribs or grilled lamb T-bone steak) from The Preston’s chef de cuisine, Collin Smelser. The hotel’s executive pastry chef, David Laufer and his team created four sweet endings: two citrus options and two chocolate options.The bar offers four signature cocktails and four modern classics, as well as red, white and sparkling wine by the glass and 12 bottled craft beers.

Food and drink menus will rotate seasonally. The Preston will also serve breakfast Monday to Saturday from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Regular evening hours are Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. Here’s a First Look at what’s in store at The Preston:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

-photos by Michelle Volansky 

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