You can’t miss BlackFinn American Grille. It takes up most of the north end of the Galleria, the space that used to house a Mark Shale store. The restaurant, which opened earlier this year, is one of three BlackFinns across the country and currently the only Midwest location.
Concept-wise, BlackFinn tries to offer something for everyone. The huge space, about 9,500 square feet in all, was split into what the marketing folks describe as “four distinct experiences:” The Grille Room, for more casual dining; the Dining Room, which offers a more traditional restaurant vibe; the Saloon, which has a sports bar bent; and the self-explanatory Patio. We didn’t make a specific request for any section and so were seated in the Grille Room, which consisted of booth seating with a bar as its centerpiece.
Despite the variety of dining areas, the menu was the same for the entire restaurant, and it was definitely expansive enough to cover pretty much anyone’s appetite. The chain tries to customize each location’s menu with some area-specific items, so for St. Louis there was the ubiquitous toasted ravioli as well as some Lou-themed cocktails like the Stan The ManHattan ($9), which we opted to imbibe while perusing the menu. The choice of bourbon for the drink—Makers Mark—was just fine, but it came in a glass filled with ice, a definite no-no, and could’ve used an extra shot of bitters.
For starters, we went with the Tuna Poke ($14), and it turned out to be the favorite dish of the night. Cubes of beautiful deep red sushi-grade ahi, seasoned with green onions, sesame and citrus soy with a nice ginger bite, surrounded by a fanned complement of crispy wonton chips. Like the best apps, it was just enough of a taste to peak the appetite but not kill it off.
Next up was a cup of the soup of the day ($5), chicken and rice, and the BlackFinn Salad ($7) from the Small Salads selection. The soup was plenty flavorful, with tons of rice—a few chunks of andouille and it would’ve been on its way to being a gumbo. The salad was a mix of crisp field greens, olives, grape tomatoes among other ingredients, with a buttermilk parmesan dressing.
For mains, we chose the Chopped Seafood ($15) from Large Salads and the Lime Seared Salmon ($19) from Entrees. The salad was large indeed, and had a plethora of jumbo lump crab and shrimp tossed in with celery, jicama, carrots and other veggie goodness. The lemon basil vinaigrette, though, didn’t have much bite and was lost in the mix. The salmon came with a tasty pico de gallo, a side of rice pilaf and some asparagus. While the fish was flaky and well-cooked, there were some salty patches on the crust that startled the taste buds some.
For dessert, the Fruit Crisp—apple during our visit—($7) proved to be a fine finish, topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel.
The menu also had burgers, sandwiches flatbreads, pastas and more, making BlackFinn a good choice to feed a group of picky eaters.
BlackFinn American Grille, The Galleria Mall/1147 Saint Louis Galleria, 314-726-5300, blackfinnamericangrille.com