3 new St. Louis restaurants to try in February
1. The Tenderloin Room
The Chase Park Plaza, 232 Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, 314.361.0900, tenderloinroom.com
The new Tenderloin Room in the Chase Park Plaza is everything a steakhouse should be: dry-aged steaks, suited up servers, seafood carts and tableside flambéed desserts. New owners Bob Brazell, Ben Strake and Rick DeStafane took over the restaurant from the Karagiannis family last year and have spruced it up without scrubbing out the St. Louis institution’s charm. The refinished space feels swanky and somehow manages to be professional and romantic at the same time.
Begin your meal with a Rat Pack cocktail made with Old Overholt rye, Luxardo amaro, Angostura bitters and a Laphroaig mist to get in the proper mood. Then stick to the classics: a cup of French onion soup, a properly cooked steak, a twice-baked potato, maybe something green and bananas Foster.
4500 Swan Ave., St. Louis, 314.818.9112, recessstl.com
Recess STL’s massive warehouse space is filled with games from bocce ball to air bowling (bowling with a football) to giant Connect Four. For a $10 cover on weekends ($5 on weekdays), you can access limitless pingpong matches, Jenga and bags competitions.
The bar is more shots and well drinks than high-end bottles and classic cocktails, but it is also stocked with quality local beer from places like 2nd Shift Brewing, along with canned wines and cocktails. The adults-only playhouse can get crowded, but the space is thoughtfully designed with lounge areas, picnic tables, nooks and nets to protect you from flying footballs. Check it out before it heads to a TBD permanent location later this year.
5105 Westwood Drive, St. Peters, 636.317.1143, notopizza.com
After three years as a wood-fired pizza trailer, Noto has found a permanent home. Every inch of its new brick and mortar is steeped in Italian culture, from the amaro cocktails to the rustic-yet-modern space. Start with an artichoke- and Parmesan-laden Noto salad and an order of fritte – fried pizza dough balls tossed in Pecorino Romano and served with marinara for dipping.
From the pasta menu, we liked the corzetti, a unique dish of coin-sized, stamped pasta rounds served with pesto, pine nuts and garlic. Using imported flour and long fermentation times, Noto has also mastered Neapolitan-style pizza. We liked the spicy ’nduja pizza, the eggplant and the simple Romano pie, made with just tomato, basil and Pecorino Romano. This St. Peters spot is worth the trip regardless of where you live.
Heather Hughes Huff is managing editor and Adam Rothbarth is the staff writer at Sauce Magazine.