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October 19, 2009 11:49 AM   Subscribe

What is the best place fora foodie to eat in STL?

I grew up in STL. Haven't lived there for close to 10 years, but I'm going back soon for a family event. In the time I've been gone, I have to believe that some wonderful, modern restaurants have opened. I would like to eat at one.

Some guidelines:
* I am looking for new, creative, modern, etc.
* Local/fresh/organic and vegetarian options a huge bonus. I pray to the alter of Micheal Pollan and Alice Waters. I'm a card-carrying member of Slow Food.
* No regional cuisine, unless it's really new. This means no BBQ and no thin-crust pizza joints.
* No Italian. I've been everywhere on the hill. I've been to Tony's. I've been to Cafe Napoli.
* Good locations are anywhere along the central corridor: Washington, the Hill, UCity Loop, CWE, Clayton, etc. West county and Bridgeton is acceptable, since I'll be there too.
* Bad locations: Fenton, Ellisville, Wentzville, North Florrisent, Alton, etc.
* Please don't mention Ted Drewes.

E.g. something like Nopa.

posted by jeffamaphone to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I really recommend Harvest in Clayton. I don't live in Missouri anymore, but Harvest was always one of my favorites when I did. Nothing dazzling, just seasonal food done very well, (with lots of local fare.) It's not stupid expensive either, for a bonus.
posted by joechip at 12:21 PM on October 19, 2009

Best answer: I think Harvest fits all your criteria and more. I was just there on Saturday night, and it was wonderful (as always). If I think of others during class I'll add more this afternoon. In the meantime you may want to check out Slow Food St. Louis or for more options.
posted by Charlie Brown at 12:22 PM on October 19, 2009

Darn you joechip, darn you ::shakes fist::
posted by Charlie Brown at 12:22 PM on October 19, 2009

Well, at least we have good taste!
posted by joechip at 12:26 PM on October 19, 2009

Response by poster: Hmm, Harvest looks like a good candidate. From StreetView, I remember that place being something else... something more dessert-y.
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:38 PM on October 19, 2009

Onesto pizza is run by a guy who is in love with food. It's about 4 miles south of I64, off Hampton.

In the same neighborhood, on Hampton, is Pueblo Solis. Standard Mexican, done very very well. Their guac is the only specie my wife will admit is better than her own.
posted by notsnot at 1:27 PM on October 19, 2009

A friend of mine is a full-time food critic there and says Niche is where it's at now. The head chef/owner was nominated for a James Beard award this year.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 1:36 PM on October 19, 2009

Although I haven't been there, I second Niche. I remember reading about it in one of Esquire's best new restaurant issues. I want to get there next time I'm in St. Louis for a family event as well.
posted by brgale at 2:33 PM on October 19, 2009

Heh. I just fielded the same question from a friend a day or so ago. Niche and Harvest, definitely. Also on the list these days: Jim Fiala's Acero and/or the Crossing, Atlas, Franco, Sage, Vin de Set and/or 1111 Mississippi (same building), An American Place, , Monarch...
posted by limeonaire at 3:56 PM on October 19, 2009

Coming to nth Harvest.
Other places you might try:

Pi - pizza, but the anti-Imos! It's on the Loop pretty far East, I think past the Pageant. And Barack Obama loves it!
Riddle's Penultimate - it's on the Loop, all local food, and I've heard really good things about it!
Mango - a Peruvian place. There's one location out in Shrewsbury, but they just opened up another location downtown, around Washington. I've only had their flan, but it was wonderful.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:05 PM on October 19, 2009

If I remember correctly (and it has been 10+ years so I could be completely wrong), the dessert aspect of Harvest that you're thinking of may be Hank's cheesecakes. I seem to recall a yummy restaurant in St. Louis that was associated with the cheesecake place.
posted by echo0720 at 5:20 PM on October 19, 2009

Also (forgot earlier)'s down in South City off 55, but Iron Barley is really something to behold. The decoration is self-consciously "Country charm", everything is cooked in iron skillets, and almost every grain has been replaced with barley - ground barley flour pasta. Barley seafood paella (with 7 kinds of seafood). Risotto. The chef used to be a head chef for somewhere fancy, but now he's all into white-trash chic. He also smokes his own meat.
posted by notsnot at 5:40 PM on October 19, 2009

Yeah, I'd ditto Riddles (no apostrophe!), Pi (endorsed by the president!), and Iron Barley. Oh, also Stellina Pasta Café.
posted by limeonaire at 8:06 PM on October 19, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks all. I think we'll try Harvest due to its central location (and Mrs. Jeffamaphone liked the menu).

Riddle's has been around quite a while and I've been there many times. It's a great place, the food is pretty good, and I found the wine deal of the century there ('89 Jordan Cab for $80) but we'll probably not make it this trip.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:47 PM on October 19, 2009

Response by poster: Quick follow up: Harvest was pretty okay. The rabbit cannelloni was the highlight for me. The sweet potato soup was decent, and I really liked the apple muffin in it. The halibut was disappointing (but I told him not to order that). The hanger steak was a big crowd pleaser, and the kitchen cooked it correctly per temperature specifications (yay!). The sauce for the Calamari was outstanding.

We didn't stay for dessert; I was eyeing the bread pudding, but my family veto'd staying in favor of a trip to Ted Drewes. :P

Thanks all! Next time we'll try some other recommendations a little further out.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:18 PM on October 25, 2009

Way way way late here, but I can't resist an opportunity to mention the good folks at Local Harvest Cafe (and grocery!). They're incredibly local, vegetarian/vegan friendly, and all-around kickass people (and has been visited by Michael Pollan himself).
posted by slogger at 9:51 AM on September 14, 2010

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