First Look: 808 Maison in Soulard
808 Maison, St. Louis’ newest French offering, officially opened Wednesday, Jan. 9, after a weeklong soft open. Located at 808 Geyer Ave. in the heart of Soulard, the restaurant is the newest venture from Molly’s co-owners Luke Reynolds and John Rogers, who seek to fill the void left in the neighborhood when Franco closed in 2016.
Executive chef Jon Dreja, formerly of Franco, Vin De Set and Eleven Eleven Mississippi, conceptualized the classic French menu. Small plates include dishes like melted camembert (served in its original stapled wood container), tarte flambee with crème fraîche and bacon lardons, and escargots, while entrees comprise cassoulet with duck leg confit, panisse, pan-seared scallops with frog leg ragout, loup de mer, and more. In addition to the sides, soups and salads – including a colorful beet butternut chévre terrine – the restaurant has dishes that can be made both vegetarian and vegan. The menu will change seasonally and emphasizes local meat and produce.
Reynolds curated the wine list himself, with a little help from A. Bommarito Wines. The current list features about 20 options, mostly French and Californian. Rebecca Ward is heading up the cocktail menu, which is set to have around 10 drinks, including the 808 Manhattan (topped with a house-brandied cherry) and a Calvados-starring Negroni. The cocktail menu will officially launch on Monday, Jan. 14.
The owners bought Molly’s – located next door – in 2003, and the 808 Maison space, which used to be Norton’s, in 2009. Before becoming a restaurant hub, the building was residential. “It presented a unique set of challenges because it was never meant to be a restaurant,” Reynolds said. But the team has done a fine job of making the room comfortable, infusing it not only with a sense of modern French elegance, but some of St. Louis’ own DNA as well: The wood used in the main long table in the dining room was sourced from a tree from Reynolds’ friend’s yard in South City, the mahogany used in the bar was salvaged from Lafayette Square’s The Edge after it closed, and much of the marble used in the tables came from Reynolds’ own house.
Here's a look at Soulard's new French restaurant.
Adam Rothbarth is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine.
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