Hit List: 4 places you must try this May
1. Polite Society 1923 Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.325.2553, politesocietystl.com
Class up your nights at Polite Society, an elegant new eatery in Lafayette Square. Relax in one of two cozy, brick-walled dining rooms or pull up a seat at the bar under the massive shelving unit suspended from the ceiling by black metal pipes. Start your meal with thick slices of meaty portobello mushrooms, tempura-battered, fried and served with a poblano pepper coulis. For a richer starter, try the blackened Gulf shrimp served atop cheese grits with a lime crema. Save room for entrees like the Chicken Duet, featuring a roasted chicken breast and confit leg served atop a sweet-savory johnnycake, or indulge with five fat diver scallops, seared and served with lemon-pepper butter and seasonal veggies.
2. Spice of India 10633 Page Ave., St. Louis County, 314.473.1803, spicestl.com
Spice of India, tucked away in a small strip mall on Page Avenue, is busy for a reason. Start with the street food (chaat) section of the menu and try the bhel puri, a crunchy mix of puffed rice, peanuts, chopped tomatoes, sweet tamarind chutney, a zippy mint chutney, onion and a sprinkle of cilantro to prepare your taste buds for an Indian meal. Next, order the butter chicken, where tender pieces of meat swim in a creamy tomato-based sauce flavored with chile powder, coriander and cumin. Order naan for dunking or try the puri, a puffy, South Indian fry bread made with wheat flour. The menu is huge, but for $9 you can try eight dishes in the daily lunch buffet.
3. Patois Eatery & Social Lounge 2617 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.696.2606, patoisstl.com
Goat is out and chicken is in at Patois Eatery & Social Lounge, the new restaurant and nightlife venue in the former Rustic Goat space. Start your meal with sweet, sticky corncakes slathered in rich honey butter, but resist the urge to order another round. You’ll need room for the jerk chicken, a tried-and-true recipe from Chicago-based Uncle Joe’s Jerk. Half a chicken is grilled until the skin is crisp and charred, then chopped into four pieces and served with a pungent jerk sauce packing allspice and a touch of sweet heat. Dig into the side of rice and peas, close your eyes and dream of Caribbean waters.
4. Sophie's Artist Lounge & Cocktail Club 3224 Locust St., St. Louis, 314.533.0367, sophiesstl.com
Walking into Sophie’s chandelier-drenched bar, you feel in on an elite secret. Hidden away on the second floor of the .ZACK building, this lavender and gold retreat is exactly what Grand Center needs: more cute, quiet places to grab a drink and a snack before a show. Try the bright, Aperol-heavy Ingenue from the short list of house cocktails or peruse the bar’s extensive collection of spirits. There’s also a short list of draft beers, and the wine list, managed by The Dark Room, is good down to the happy hour malbec.
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