CITY COFFEEHOUSE & CRÉPERIE
36 N. Brentwood Blvd., 862-2489
The Scene: Your first challenge is deciding what to order from the very cool chalkboard menu, offering crêpe creations with international accents like Brittany, Mont Blanc and Florentine. Or maybe Provence, created with French brie, sliced apples and walnuts, then garnished with red grapes. Sit inside or out and enjoy people watching par excellence.
Don’t Miss: The ultimate in comfort food? Chocolate Nutella Crepes with strawberries and bananas. Crunch it up with almonds, pecans, walnuts or coconut.
7624 Wydown Blvd., 727-7901
The Scene: Italian worth searching for. Tuckedaway and intimate, the restaurant makes you forget it’s a workday with a lunch menu offering tagliatelle, lobster ravioli and pistachio-encrusted trout. The dinner menu will lure you back with grilled duck breast with caramelized nectarines and parsnip puree, or perhaps grilled monkfish wrapped in prosciutto and topped with a lemon thyme sauce.
Don’t Miss: Spaghetti with guanciale made with local ingredients is a favorite, and rumor has it that Tom Cruise was a big fan of the sausage lasagna.
DEMUN OYSTER BAR
740 Demun Ave., 725-0322
The Scene: Oyster fan or oyster-averse, seafood fans will find something to love—even without a view of the coast. (But outside tables do offer a nice panorama of Concordia Park.) And every libation is more heady at the fabulous half-moon bar.
Don’t Miss: Always interesting specials, like pan-seared escolar with a mushroom jus, served with lemon pomme puree and sautéed spinach. And the signature dish, Seascape—steamed mussels and clams in cream broth with shrimp, scallops and oysters.
44 N. Brentwood Blvd., 721-9400
The Scene: International meets local, with fresh fish from around the world and the best of locally grown produce, artfully combined to take advantage of the season. Halibut is now at its peak and wild salmon has arrived, fresh from Copper River.
Don’t Miss: Brunch beyond the omelet, with Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Jonah Crab, and Tomato Frittata and Pan Roasted Freshwater Prawns.
WASABI SUSHI BAR
16 S. Central Ave., 721-9970
The Scene: The menu claims that Wasabi is the place where “sushi enthusiasts and anti-sushi-ists unite!” and that might just be true, with a creative list of specialties for just about any palette. Newest menu additions include Taraba Gani Salad, Shogun Roll and Gindara Toban Yaki. For the more adventurous diner, Fried Squid Ring & Leg or Green Mussels. Baby octopus, anyone?
Don’t Miss: The playful Batman roll, complete with bat ears, and the Rasta roll—a flavor explosion with smoked salmon, avocado, mango and jalapeño.
MOSAIC BISTRO MARKET
14 N. Central Ave., 932-7377
The Scene: Continental modern bistro invites browsing of the latest international cookbooks and the Mosaic ‘lifestyle product wall.’ If you’d rather indulge than prepare, let executive chef Ben Lester show you how it’s done, with entrees like Olive Oil Poached New Zealand Rack of Lamb or Lobster and Shrimp Risotto with roasted corn and applewood bacon.
Don’t Miss: Fine cheese almost a religious experience? Cheese board selections include Cambanzola (Germany), Iberico (Spain), Delice De Bourgogne (France) and Cotswold from...where else?
7823 Forsyth Blvd., 721-7375
The Scene: A cozy, two-level setting that feels intimate even if you’re not seated in one of the romantic curtained booths. Part of the Fiala team of restaurants (Liluma, Acero, the Terrace View), the menu features farm-to-table dishes created from Missouri and Illinois farms. The four-course tasting menu will have you making your next reservation long before you dig into the Warm Chocolate Torte.
Don’t Miss: The Crossing’s Beet Salad with goat cheese, mascarpone, pine nuts, shallots and sherry.
HALF & HALF
8135 Maryland Ave., 725-0719
The Scene: Custom-brewed coffee is just one reason to try this new breakfast-and-lunch spot. After one visit, you’ll discover more, like baked oatmeal with maple syrup and berries, or blackberry French toast with mascarpone. Décor is simple and casual to match the atmosphere and the menu.
Don’t Miss: Best bets? It’s a toss-up between the grapefruit with vanilla sugar or the fried egg sandwich.
J. BUCK’S CLAYTON
101 S. Hanley Rd., 725-4700
The Scene: Sometimes lunch needs to be elegant and this Clayton favorite answers the call, with a sophisticated, not-quite-noir ambiance just right for the game-changing business conversation. American cuisine in generous portions and specials worthy of the name.
Don’t Miss: It’s an old favorite, but worthy of the long moniker: J. Buck’s Award Winning Spinach Artichoke Dip.
8127 Maryland Ave., 725-1019
The Scene: White-tablecloth elegant with a casual and welcoming atmosphere that reflects the Southern heritage of owner and chef Tony Almond and his wife Kelli. Come on, you know you’ve been craving Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, or grilled-toperfection salmon. A wood-fired oven serves pizzas and quesadillas to customers who’ve made them a favorite choice.
Don’t Miss: The website instructions on appropriate dress: “Please wear clothes.”
131 Ritz Carlton Dr., 725-6777
The Scene: Meat and fish, plus expansive vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free selections all created with market-fresh ingredients from the kitchen of executive chef Michael Burnau and chef de cuisine Ryan Cooper. Prince Edward Island mussels and Bourbon-Coke Braised Pulled Pork will make any lunch hour more enchanting. Check out the wine list and the dinner menu and you’ll be back.
Don’t Miss: Bring them your hungry, your intrepid, your brave, for the Cast Iron Seared T-Bone 20 oz. Steak.
8000 Carondelet Ave., 932-5733
The Scene: Organic, sustainable, Italian. Any other questions? This new must-try-it eatery is getting rave reviews for cuisine, atmosphere and attitude: Working to operate with the smallest possible carbon footprint and a humanitarian approach. The ‘Communal Table’ works on a simple premise: For groups of 10 to12 people who reserve the table, the restaurant donates a percentage of sales to charity.
Don’t Miss: If you’re thinking pasta, try Maccheroni Larghi-Pork Rib Ragu.