What are you having? We put that question to some of St. Louis’ top chefs and asked them about their favorite menu item.
Chef Todd Lough BIXBY'S
Since Bixby’s opened at the Missouri History Museum in March 2010, the smoked salmon has been a fixture on the menu. Flown in from Scotland, the Shetland salmon is cured, smoked and sliced in-house, then served in a classic niçoise salad with local greens, kalamata olives, hardboiled egg, French green beans, radish, red potatoes and a roasted shallot vinaigrette.
“I’m just a fishmonger from Florida and I love fresh fish,” Chef Todd Lough says. “Using the refined artisan technique and making it from scratch from a whole salmon is a much better product than what you can buy commercially.”
On Sundays, the smoked salmon also is available at brunch with bagels, cream cheese and traditional condiments, like capers, onion and chopped egg.
Chef Bill Osloond 1904 STEAKHOUSE
As the chef at a steakhouse, Bill Osloond’s favorite dish naturally involves meat, but the 44 oz. tomahawk bone-in ribeye at 1904 Steakhouse dwarfs all other options.
“It creates a nice buzz when we take one out to the dining room,” Oslood says. “People like to take a photo with the steak to show their friends.”
An off-menu item that is served to VIPs or upon request, the ribeye is dry-aged for 28 days and seasoned simply with porcini powder, salt and pepper. The steak is carved tableside to complete the impressive presentation, and served with Murray River sea salt and a black pepper horseradish aioli.
“The earthy flavors go along with the dry-aging process and the aioli complements the steak,” Osloond says. “It’s a special, insider item for our patrons.”
Josh Galliano MONARCH
With an insatiable sweet tooth, Chef Josh Galliano passes by the savory items on Monarch’s menu in favor of sugary ones. His favorite dish is a recently added dessert—a play on a red velvet cake with Southern influences.
“It’s visually striking,” Galliano says. “It takes a lot of components of a red velvet cake and makes it different and interesting.”
A slice of cake with strawberry preserves is accompanied by a cream cheese parfait, chocolate crumbs and Galliano’s favorite element, Barq’s Red Creme Soda sorbet. A New Orleans and Southern staple, the lesser-distributed soda was transformed into a sorbet when Galliano’s friend challenged him to make a tasty dish out of conflicting ingredients.
“The idea started as a joke, but turned into a really good sorbet.”
Vince Bommarito Jr. TONY'S
Chef Vince Bommarito Jr. couldn’t narrow his favorite item down to just one, so he chose both the linguine with lobster and shrimp, and the veal rib chop.
“If I had my choice, I’d have the linguine for a first course and the veal rib chop for my main course—and I’d be the happiest person around,” Bommarito says.
The pasta dish, available at the restaurant for about 20 years, is prepared in a tomato butter sauce with a slight spicy kick to it. The veal rib chop is pounded thin, then baked with slices of eggplant, tomato, basil and Parmigiano Reggiano, Bommarito notes. “Those dishes are just comfort food to me.”
Stephen Komorek TRATTORIA MARCELLA
In 2006, Chef Stephen Komorek traveled to Italy to study Italian cuisine. He came back with many new dish ideas for Trattoria Marcella, including his current favorite, Agnolotti Del Plin. Translating to ‘pinched ravioli,’ the egg-based pasta is filled with braised beef, spinach, red wine, Parmigiano Reggiano and risotto, then served with truffle butter and sautéed spinach.
“I like the little packages of pasta, it goes well with red wine, and it’s unique and different,” Komorek says.
With rave reviews from both customers and staff, Komorek plans to keep the new pasta on his menu for quite awhile. “It’s a traditional, truly peasant style of cooking. Everyone’s had ravioli, so they’re familiar with it. I just put a new twist on it.” LN