Panorama, the restaurant housed in the Saint Louis Art Museum's new East Building, opened in July under the auspices of the Bon Apetit Management Company. Since then, there has been a rapidly building buzz around town about the food, not to mention the view.
The space is minimal, almost stark, so there's nothing to distract guests from the beautiful view of the park and from savoring the creative cuisine. Panorama features seasonal menus incorporating as much local produce and products as possible, created by Chef Edward Farrow. The restaurant adheres to Bon Apetit's Farm To Fork initiative, where at least 20 percent of the products have to be sourced from within 150 miles, and Farrow and his staff put these local ingredients to good use.
We stopped by for dinner, which is only available on Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. And while there are separate menus for lunch and dinner, there is a bit of overlap, like An Ode To Summer ($9), a panoply of seasonal fruits and vegetables that changes frequently. Our plate had a gorgeous array that included thin slices of radish and beets, green beans, asparagus and chunks of yellow watermelon. The variety of tastes, textures and colors in this dish truly was a delicious homage to the bounty St. Louis has in its own backyard.
For mains, we tried the Roasted Local Heritage Pork with Summer Herbs ($19) and the Mushroom-Crusted Alaskan Halibut ($22). The pork, which couldn't have been more tender and juicy, was perched on a bed of creamy grits that were just the right consistency—thick and creamy, not watery as is so often the case. The dish also came with roasted beets--one of our summertime favorites--and the meat was prepared with a sweet and savory bacon-agave gastrique that nicely accented the mild flavor of the pork.
The fish was tender and flaky, served atop a delicious summer herb risotto and accompanied by an array of roasted vegetables, and plated with an understated sweet carrot-cumin coulis. The mushrooms didn't form an actual crust, per se, but were pressed together in a patty of sorts and served on top of the halibut. The earthiness of the mushrooms proved a subtle complement to the delicate flavor of the fish.
For dessert, we highly recommend the Warm Missouri Apple & Pecan Bread Pudding ($7). This thick loaf of bread pudding came plated with bits of peanut brittle, dollops of caramel and a roasted beet-agave sauce that added a delectable dark earthiness to the sweetness of the rest of the dish.
Panorama is open Tuesday through Thursday, and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Fridays, hours are 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., and Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Though dinner is only an option on Fridays, we've been told that dinner service may be expanded down the line. Don't forget, if you're a Museum member, show your membership card for 10 percent off.
For those who don't equate quality restaurants with a museum setting, Panorama will definitely change your mind.
-- One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park, 655-5490, slam.org.
Panorama’s Apple-Pecan Bread Pudding Recipe
Courtesy of exec. chef Edward Farrow
•1 loaf of bread, cubed
•1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
•2 cups medium apples, diced
•8 oz. organic butter
•1 1/2 cups brown sugar
•16 oz. whole milk
•2 t vanilla extract
•1 T cinnamon
•1 t nutmeg
•1 t ginger
•8 oz. heavy cream
•2 eggs, beaten
•2 egg yolks
•Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
•Dry the cubed bread in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Do not toast the bread.
•Mix the chopped and diced pecans, diced apples and dried bread in a large bowl. Set
•Heat the butter, sugar, whole milk, vanilla extract and spices in a pot until melted and
gooey. Pour over dried bread, apples and pecans. Mix them together well and let soak 1
•Once soaked, mix ingredients together very well with a whisk.
•Using your fingers, create ‘holes’ in the bread pudding. Tip: The movement needed is
similar to kneading bread with your hands
•Mix the heavy cream, beaten eggs and egg yolks together.
•Pour the heavy cream and egg mixture over the bread. After pouring, pat/push the
mixture into the bread pudding so the liquid is not sitting on top.
•Spread/pat flat so there are no lumps on top, as these can burn or dry up quickly.
•Cover it with foil, making sure the foil does not touch the top of the bread pudding.
•Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
•Turn and bake until the center is not moving or heavily wet. This may take 45 minutes
to 1 hour.
•1 large red beet
•1 vanilla bean
•1 to 2 T agave nectar
•1 to 2 T orange juice
•1/2 t orange zest
•3 T dryChampagne
•Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
•Roast beet over a bed of kosher salt until tender enough to blend. Let cool.
•Using a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean. Set aside the remaining pod.
•Using a high-powered blender, puree the roasted beet, vanilla bean seeds and agave nectar. The mixture will be thick; stir until thoroughly mixed.
•Add orange juice, orange zest and dryChampagne.
•Puree until it forms a smooth texture.
Vanilla Bean Salted Caramel Sauce
•1/3 cup corn syrup
• 3/4 cup and 2 T sugar
•1 scraped vanilla bean and pod
•3/4 oz. butter
•1 pinch kosher salt
• 2/3 cup and 1 T heavy cream
•In a medium pot, boil corn syrup on medium-high setting.
•Heat sugar together over medium-high setting, adding 1/3 of the mixture at a time to the boiled corn syrup.
•After the sugar has dissolved, add the scraped vanilla bean. Adjust heat to medium.
•Once big bubbles form and the mixture becomes an amber color, add butter.
•Add one pinch kosher salt.
•Warm up heavy cream and add it to the hot caramel.
•Stir to hot caramel until it reaches 245 degrees Fahrenheit. Once that temperature has
been reached, remove caramel from heat.
•Strain the vanilla bean from the mixture
•1/2 cup corn syrup
•1 cup sugar
•1/4 t salt
• 1/4 cup water
• 1 cup pecans
• 2 t vanilla extract
•1 oz. softened butter
•1 t baking soda
•Heat the corn syrup, sugar, salt and water together in a medium pot. Using a metal solid
spoon, stir until all the sugar is dissolved.
•When big bubbles arise, the temperature should be up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Using
a candy thermometer, try to maintain that temperature.
•Add pecans and vanilla extract to the mixture, keeping it at 300 degrees.
•Once big bubbles return, add the softened butter and baking soda at the same time and vigorously stir until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, then take it off the heat.
•Pour the mixture on to a 9-inch x 13-inch pan that’s lined with a non-stick/silicone mat or a very well-sprayed or buttered pan with a small lip.
•Spread the mixture lightly, without mounding.
•Set on a speed or cooling rack until hard.
•Once cooled/hardened, crack the peanut brittle apart.
•2 small apples
•Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
•Thinly slice apples.
•Place the apple slices on a sheet pan that has been lightly sprayed/buttered, or on a non-
stick silicone mat.
•Brush apple slices with lemon juice.
•Top with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar mixture, to taste.
•Bake for 1 to 2 hours, checking every 20 minutes after the first hour until the chips have a light tan color with a slightly crisp edge. Don’t cook them too long, because they will continue to cook even after they’ve been removed from the oven.