Short List: Foie gras

The holiday season encourages an almost insane level of decadence, and what could be more decadent than the fatted liver of a duck or goose? An almost stupidly rich, delicately sweet, thoroughly delicious bit of offal, foie gras can lend cheer to even the glummest December day, sometimes like a figurative punch in the face (sautéed) and sometimes with a touch more refinement (pâtés and terrines). In that light, here are three of the more refined selections in town.

1535 S. Eighth St., St. Louis, 314.436.2500

The foie gras mousse at Franco is almost ridiculously smooth. Marinated in Sauternes, it has a honeyed sweetness underlying the stupefying richness. The marinade plays an even more elegant role (is that even possible?) by tying into the candy-apple relish of honey, apple and pecan. Together, all elements create a depth of flavor that’s simply impossible to ignore. In fact, it may tempt you to dredge the sides of the ramekin with your finger, making sure not to miss a speck.

Monarch Restaurant & Wine Bar
7401 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.644.3995

With fig preserves and fig balsamic, as well as alternating layers of rich, silky foie gras and tender, sumptuous beef, Monarch’s foie first draws your notice with its balance between sweet and savory, then with the difference in textures. What brings everything together, what acts as the bridge to everywhere, is the red “sauerkraut”; it’s sweet and subtly tart, firm but yielding. This is a well-thought-out, truly elegant dish. And even at that, foie junkies may find themselves wondering just how awesome this all would be on top of an excellent burger.

Taste by Niche
1831 Sidney St., St. Louis, 314.773.7755

“It’s almost cheating. You take two delicious animals and grind them up into delicious toothpaste,” a fellow foie fan recently remarked. Perhaps no better description exists of Taste’s Pork and Foie Pâté, which begins with an homage to Braunschweiger, then just melts (literally) on your tongue into a pure foie experience. Coupled with fresh pickled ginger, it’s just sublime when the sweetness of ginger meets and equals the foie’s richness. After that, the heat of the ginger kicks in at the back of your throat, leaving you basking in a wonderfully executed evolution of flavor.