Cravings � 8149 Big Bend Blvd. � 961-3534

Nestled in a fairly anonymous storefront in the Old Orchard area of Webster Groves, Cravings has steadily built a stellar reputation locally and across the country as the place to go for decadent desserts. Because of its reputation as a purveyor of sweets, it’s often forgotten that this award-winning eatery also has a menu of fine food available. We’ve indulged in Cravings’ delicious confections many a time, but had never dined there, so we decided to rectify that recently and headed to Webster to try out the savory side of the menu.

Cravings is open daily Tuesday through Saturday for lunch from 10:30 a.m until 2:30 p.m. The restaurant then shifts to desserts-only mode until closing time at 6 p.m. Dinner service is only offered on Friday and Saturday, when Cravings stays open until 10:30 p.m. While the dinner hours might be abbreviated, the selections aren’t, with five appetizers, four salads and eight entrees available. We started with an order of Thai Pot Stickers ($9) as an appetizer. The wontons were tender and the homemade ginger soy sauce provided a nice salty/sweet, tangy accent. However, we found the ground beef and pork filling to be a bit lacking in spice.

We proceeded with the Roasted Eggplant Salad ($11) and a cup of the Soup of the Day ($4, also available by the bowl for $6), which was tomato red pepper on the evening we visited. It was surprisingly mild, with the peppers adding just a touch of roasted smokiness. Think of a slightly more complex version of the tomato soup your mom made for you on cold winter days. The eggplant on the salad was oven-roasted and was a nice counterpoint to the crisp greens.

For entrees, we chose the Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Risotto ($17) and the Linguini with Wild Mushrooms ($15, with the option to add chicken for an additional $2). The chicken was mentioned ahead of the risotto in the menu entry for good reason. The dish came topped with generous slices of white meat that almost completely obscured the rest of the plate. Hardly a problem, though! The risotto was made sans cream, but had a rich and creamy consistency that rivaled many traditional preparations we’ve had. The linguini was cooked perfectly al dente and tossed with plenty of wild mushrooms, Roma tomatoes and scallions in a mushroom sauce and topped with Asiago cheese.

As expected, the dessert menu featured the most selections, including Cravings’ famous Hazelnut Zucotto, which won a James Beard award in the early 1990s. We opted for the Turtle Cheese Cake Brownie ($4), an ultra-rich brownie featuring caramel, pecans and a fudge frosting, as well as said cheesecake. Diners shouldn’t be put off by the fairly small size of this dessert; it was dense and heavy, more than filling and perfect for sharing.

We don’t know why Cravings only serves dinner so selectively, but we bet there are plenty of fans out there who wish they could indulge in its dinner menu during the rest of the week!

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