from left, moqueca seafood stew, feijoada and coxinha photo by greg rannells

2018 Best New Restaurants // No. 7 Cinder House

Cinder House is what happens when one of St. Louis’ swankiest hotels partners with one of the city’s top chefs. The new restaurant at Four Seasons St. Louis opened in August under the guidance of Niche Food Group chef-owner Gerard Craft. He and executive chef Michael Fricker lean heavily on a wood-fired grill to turn out South American fare inspired by Craft’s childhood nanny, Dia Assuñçao. Here are five reasons we love Cinder House.

the dining room at cinder house // photo by michelle volansky

1. That space. A Four Seasons renovation budget means Cinder House oozes luxury with soft leather banquettes, sculptural light fixtures and a ’gram-worthy herringbone floor.

2. Those vegetables. Cinder House takes the time to elevate even the humblest veg to all-star status – like the hen of the woods mushrooms, which are basted like steak with chorizo spice-seasoned butter, or the side of whole heirloom carrots, grilled and soused in a complex aji panca mole and topped with crunchy smoked hazelnuts.

3. The feijoada. To really witness the kitchen’s skill with meat, order Craft’s take on this Brazilian classic. Tender beef oxtail, pork cheek, ham hock, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, house-made sausage and two meaty smoked pork ribs are all perfectly prepared and served atop a bed of rice, beans and greens. You know, for balance.

4. Special sauces. From the piquant cilantro-aji amarillo aioli that accompanies the coxinha to the delayed heat of the piri piri sauce slathered on grilled chicken, Cinder House’s sauce game is strong.

churro ice cream sandwich at cinder house // photo by greg rannells

5. Dreamy desserts. Promise us you will save room. Crunchy churro discs provide the perfect textural contrast on a decadent ice cream sandwich, and an unassuming rice pudding is the sleeper on the menu. Decorate the sweet, creamy bowl liberally with caramel sauce, cinnamon streusel, toasted almonds and fresh berries, then devour. You promised. 

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine.