4 new St. Louis restaurants to try in February
2704 Sutton Blvd., Maplewood, elmwoodstl.com
If there was any question, Maplewood is definitely one of the best restaurant neighborhoods in the area with the addition of Elmwood, a sleek new spot from Niche alumni Adam Altnether and Chris Kelling.
The menu revolves around a charcoal-burning oven and grill from Spain, clearly the VIP in dishes like the creamy, rustic charred sweet potato and the grilled broccoli, which is electrified by a cayenne-tinged tahini dressing.
We were crazy about the Mafalda, which marries house-made noodles with grilled vegetable bolognese. And the hot fried chicken liver avoids heaviness when dipped in house ranch. We’re happy to report Elmwood was worth the wait.
2. Union 30
705 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.241.4300, hotelsaintlouis.com/union30
Union 30 inside Hotel Saint Louis offers what hotel dining should: a crowd-pleasing menu in a luxe space. Soaring carved ceilings, a herringbone marble tile floor and gold accents are softened by leather and velvet furniture, along with a comfort-food menu.
With executive chef Matt Birkenmeier (previously of Quincy Street Bistro) at the helm, you can trust the lunch menu of sandwiches and burgers, and dinner entrees like the mac and cheese. The more delicate seared turbot with risotto and saffron broth was also perfectly cooked and beautifully seasoned.
And don’t miss the smoker specials, like Friday’s featured 36-hour smoked beef short rib, which comes out meltingly tender on a hulking bone with garlic baby spinach over mashed potatoes.
3.Sultān Mediterranean Restaurant
4200 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.390.2020
In the same week we grieved the loss of University City’s Shawarma King, we tried Sultān Mediterranean Restaurant in The Grove, and it restored our faith in humanity. The smoky, creamy baba ghanoush and impeccably charred naan proved to be a beautiful combo, while the rustic dolma – served warm and rolled with tangy grape leaves – was an eye-opening rendition of an often basic dish.
We adored the Sultan Pilau, a phyllo dough pocket filled with peppery, juicy lamb shank, basmati rice, nuts and raisins. The munto (steamed dumplings) were topped with garlic yogurt sauce, mint and parsley, lending this hearty meal a note of buoyancy.
4. Old Herald Brewery and Distillery
115 E. Clay St., Collinsville, 618.855.8027, oldheraldbrewing.com
Over the river and through the woods is Old Herald Brewery and Distillery, Collinsville’s newest restaurant. The drinks are worth the journey – the Printer’s Ink stout is rich and deliciously earthy, while the Dear Abby cocktail, which comprises in-house Ardent Spirits vodka, orange zest syrup, cranberry juice and lime, is refreshing.
Are you skeptical when you see poutine on a menu in the Midwest? Don’t be. The Old Herald Fries starter nailed its balance of creamy cheese curds, savory gravy and flavorful beef cheek. We also enjoyed the Short Rib Burger, an 8-ounce patty served with American cheese, pickle, onion and subtle smoked ketchup.
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