casa de tres reyes photo by michelle volansky

First Look: Casa de Tres Reyes in Des Peres

Casa de Tres Reyes, a Mexican restaurant from the owners of Three Kings Public House, opened on Nov. 1 at 1181 Colonnade Center in Des Peres. The restaurant features a menu created by consultant chef Andrew Cisneros, chef-owner of Jalea, and chef Marcos Godinez.

Co-owners Derek Deaver and Ryan Pinkston took the Des Peres space over “without even knowing what we were going to do,” Deaver said. After throwing ideas around, they decided on a Mexican concept, but things didn’t really take shape until Deaver got together with Cisneros to talk about fleshing out the menu. “I went out there [to St. Charles], stalked him for like a week, and then I talked him into coming out here and consulting,” Deaver said. 

Cisneros agreed to help develop the menu, but with his schedule already packed with Jalea and the launch of Sanguchitos by Brasas inside Perennial Artisan Ales, Casa de Tres Reyes needed to bring a full-time chef in to run the kitchen. Marcos Godinez was the final piece of the puzzle, a chef with experience working under Mike Randolph at the now-closed Publico in St. Louis as well as with Rick Bayless in Chicago. “Once I got those two guys, I’m just like, ‘Oh, my God,’ I just felt really great,” Deaver said.

The 3,000-square-foot restaurant seats 96 diners, including nearly 10 at the bar. Derek's wife Kasey Deaver did the interior design for the space, which is dotted with colorful trinkets, tiled inlays and succulents. 

Deaver said he’s delighted with the way Cisneros and Godinez collaborated on the menu, and believes customers will taste the difference that a little extra attention to detail makes. “We’re brining all of our brisket; we have a smoker attached to the back of the restaurant,” he said. “We still have nachos and chicken quesadillas and all those things that people like. I hate to see when menus are really good but it’s not approachable to the customer. I want to still be approachable.”

One detail Deaver was adamant on was that there would be no charge for chips and salsa, though customers can pay to add dips like queso, guacamole and queso fundido. The appetizers also include fire-roasted street corn (elote), plated beautifully with queso, Tajin, cotija, cilantro and garlic aioli, and chorizo empanadas drizzled with aji verde and garlic aioli.

Customers can choose from five taco options – pork belly carnitas, Baja fish, smoked brisket, tinga chicken and cauliflower al pastor. Deaver said the brisket tacos have sold well in the first week, partially thanks to the depth of flavor imparted by Godinez’ recipes. “He’s making this tomato jam and this roasted poblano salsa,” he said. “He’s putting that on there with some cilantro and a little bit of his homemade queso – that’s Marco’s family recipe from Mexico.” 

The list of entrees includes a huge A La Plancha fajita plate of chicken, carne asada or blackened shrimp (or a combination of all the above) with tortillas, sofrito rice, black beans, and sauteed peppers and onions. Among the other entrees are chicken enchiladas, a build-your-own rice bowl, and a Cisneros signature pops up with the chicken salad sanguchitos (slider-sized sandwiches) served with Jalea’s yuca fries and aji verde. 

The drink list includes a selection of cocktails, mostly tequila based, including various spins on the margarita. There are a handful of red, white, sparkling or rosé wines by the glass, as well as five draft beers and a larger range of bottled brews. 

Casa de Tres Reyes also operates a location at Terminal 2 of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, but the airport location offers a significantly simplified menu. “You’ve got your tacos, your burritos, your bowls,” Deaver said. “There’s 10 menu items, it’s grab and go … it’s more built up for speed and execution.”

Casa de Tres Reyes is currently open five days a week for dinner service only. Current opening hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, and 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. While the restaurant is settling in, takeout orders are not available. However, Deaver said the restaurant will eventually open seven days a week, and intends to offer lunch and takeout services by Jan. 1.