rise coffee house in the grove photo by izaiah johnson

Review: Rise Coffee House in The Grove

Rise Coffee House in The Grove is one of those spots it simply feels good to be in. You step in the door and … exhale. What sets its quietly buzzing coffee shop vibe apart, however, are the brilliant dishes coming out of chef Scott Davis’ kitchen. Previously of Brasserie by Niche, Elaia and Three Flags Tavern, Davis has created a deceptively simple menu of familiar cafe fare infused with fresh, bright flavors and unexpected textures. Although Rise is consistently busy, orders fly out of the kitchen for both dine-in and to-go.

The Lunch Sandwich
Even die-hard meat lovers will adore this vegetarian sandwich. Layers of crunchy, flavorful giardiniera, zesty arugula and clean cucumber rest between two pieces of crusty Union Loafers Light and Mild, a levain bread that’s slathered with a creamy cheddar spread – the perfect yin to the yang of the vinegary vegetables. Sky-high sandwiches too mammoth to eat are a pet peeve of mine, but this is perfectly portioned with no element overshadowing another.

avocado toast at rise coffee house // photo by izaiah johnson

Avocado Toast
As a stereotypical millennial, avocado toast is one of my favorite things, but I hardly order it out because, hello: toast bread, smash avocado, sprinkle salt. However, this is not your typical toast. Smooth avocado is layered on Light and Mild and topped with a soft poached egg and a veritable garden of fresh herbs, peppery radishes, crunchy cucumber and a whisper of pickled white onion that provides an unexpected pop of sweetness. I would eat this every day if I could.

turmeric and ginger rice bowl at rise coffee house // photo by izaiah johnson

Turmeric and Ginger Rice Bowl
This rice bowl brings together a lot of elements, but the result is a layered, textured dish bursting with complementary flavors. Topped with an oozy poached egg, it’s somehow both nuanced and comforting, warming and refreshing. The heat comes from turmeric- and ginger-infused rice, while crisp, crunchy veggies and kale add a cooling riff. A note of warning: I adored this dish, but I also love turmeric. If you’re less keen on the spice, go with another option.

The BLT is a deceptively simple sandwich. Requiring only a few ingredients, it’s all too easy for things to go wrong. In the best versions, each ingredient, flavorful enough to stand on its own, enhances every other element. At Rise, the bacon is perfectly crisp, but there’s not so much that you can’t taste and appreciate the other ingredients. Plenty of arugula lends a fresh note, while creamy mayo plays off the salty bacon. But the real star of the show is thick, juicy, vibrant heirloom tomato. This is, without a doubt, one of the best BLTs in town.

coconut cookies at rise coffee house // photo by izaiah johnson

Coconut Cookie
No doubt you’ll save room for dessert when Rise’s delectable baked goods catch your eye. The coconut cookie in particular is sigh-out-loud good. Its texture achieves the perfect balance between soft and chewy, and it isn’t shy with the toasted coconut flavor. Close your eyes, take a bite and pretend you’re on an island.

The Downside
The portion sizes at Rise will delight fellow light lunchers, but if you’re used to loading up midday, you might leave feeling less than full. For instance, the kale salad, while delicious, is truly a side salad portion. But this problem is easily fixed by topping off your meal with a treat from the bakery case.

Rise Coffee House
4180 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.405.8171, risecoffeestl.com

Tags : Places, Reviews, Nonalcoholic, Restaurants