Hit List: 5 new places you must try this October
From new restaurants in New Town to southern tradition in The Grove, here are five new restaurants you can't miss this month.
3245 Rue Royale, St. Charles, 636.757.3579, pangeaworldfusion.com
Chef Jessie Gilroy (Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2015 and former sous chef at Sidney Street Cafe) has brought her brand of culinary creativity to The New Town in St. Charles. The aptly named Pangea incorporates a wide swath of international ingredients and flavors. For starters, the ricotta gnudi, cooked in brown butter and accented with leeks and a variety of herbs, makes a rich and comforting appetizer. On the other side of the flavor spectrum, salmon crudo, topped with crisp pickled cucumber and radish, is a bright, fresh way to start things off. Mains run the gamut from a three-cheese risotto to a jerk-spiced chicken with cilantro-lime crema. Don’t miss the potato-crusted snapper, a melt-in-your-mouth preparation served with chunks of beets and a pea-herb puree. Then round out your meal with the lightly sweet macaroon, a wedge of almond cake topped with buttercream and strawberries.
2. West Port Social
910 Westport Plaza Drive, Maryland Heights, 314.548.2876, westportsocial-stl.com
Westport Social isn’t your typical sports bar. There are massive TVs everywhere, but the design is stylish and modern with muted colors, wood paneling and sleek leather furniture. You can watch sports or play them instead. Everything from pingpong to hoops to bocce ball is available to feed your competitive spirit. Since its best to play armed with a drink in hand, bar manager Kyle Mathis, formerly of Niche Food Group, developed a cocktail menu set for victory. Try the Spritz, layered with floral orange flower water, or the Frozen, an icy mix of Fernet Branca Menta, Genepy des Alps, ginger beer and lime. The wine list offers an interesting selection, like a furmint from Tokaji, Hungary, and if beer is your thing, local suds are sure to satisfy. Fuel the competition with shareable options like burnt-end nachos piled high with fresh wonton chips, or edamame – a surprisingly ideal bar snack with an added zip of lime. Even if you hate sports, you’ll enjoy hanging out at Westport Social.
3. Taco Buddha
7405 Pershing Ave., University City, 314.502.9951, tacobuddha.com
St. Louis taco lovers just got another spot in University City. Taco Buddha offers its international take on substantial rotating offerings – three of these tacos will sate the most ravenous appetite. Start your morning with breakfast tacos. We’re partial to the spinach, egg and cheese or the spicier chorizo, egg and cheese. Both offer generous helpings of fluffy scrambled eggs and gooey Monterey jack cheese, perfect for dipping into the smoky green chile sauce. When it’s available, snatch up a Thai Street Beef taco, which fills a flour tortilla with tender marinated beef topped with crunchy cabbage slaw, cotija cheese and a chile crema. The humble Veggie Saute taco won our hearts with a jumble of sauteed mushrooms, squash and green peppers wrapped in a flour tortilla and topped with that cabbage slaw and a crisp, creamy fried avocado wedge.
4. The Cut
2635 Cherokee Street, St. Louis, Facebook: The Cut
Chef Ari Jo Ellis (Sauce Ones To Watch class of 2016) made a name for herself working in such local establishments as Southern, Quincy Street Bistro, Bolyard’s Meats & Provisions and Kounter Kulture. Last month, she struck out on her own, opening The Cut inside The Fortune Teller Bar on Cherokee Street with a tight menu of artisan sausages and sides. Sausage choices range from The OG, a traditional bratwurst served up with house-made grain mustard and kraut (both available for purchase by the pint for home use), to the vegetarian Mofu Dawg topped with sunflower-arugula pesto, all on crusty Vitale’s Bakery buns. While the sausages are the main attraction, the sides are just as carefully crafted. Standouts include the sweet and meaty baked beans, spiced up with Red Hot Riplets Seasoning.
5. Grace Meat & Three
4270 Manchester Road, St. Louis, 314.533.2700, stlgrace.com
St. Louis first got a taste of Rick Lewis’ decadent comfort food at Quincy Street Bistro, then experienced his fiery way with fried chicken at Southern. Now he and wife Elisa Lewis bring their southern cuisine to The Grove with Grace Meat & Three. Of course, the menu boasts Rick’s Famous Fried Chicken (served hot or not) and his ever-present fried bologna sandwich, but the sleepers on this menu are worth notice. Starters like creamy white bean hummus spiked with harissa and crisp, succulent chicken livers on toast are worth saving room for, as is the heirloom tomato salad starring a generous dollop of quark farmers cheese and charred onion vinaigrette. Limiting yourself to just three sides could be a challenge; the earthy, sweet and sour greens, gooey mac and cheese, fluffy biscuits and sweet cornbread all deserve a taste. Whatever you choose, plan for a leisurely nap after lunch.
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