We recently got the chance to re-visit Truffles in Ladue for the first time in a good while. It was far too long between visits, but we're happy to report it's as every bit as good as we remembered it--maybe even a little bit better.

Truffles has a great intimate vibe, equal parts classy and comfortable, and a bar that has just a single TV with the volume turned mercifully low, perfect for laid-back pre-dinner drinking. It's definitely one of those places that can be a venue for a milestone anniversary or a last-minute office get-together. Plenty of adjacent parking also is a plus, especially in inclement weather.

For starters, we opted for equal measures of meat and greens with the Classic Prime Beef Tartar ($13) and the Wedge Salad ($12). The healthy portion of rich tartar was topped with cured egg yolk and micro greens and served with crostini. The salad really was a standout, augmented with battered Louisiana crawfish, roasted tomatoes, bacon lardons and egg, and dressed with a creamy cayenne-buttermilk dressing. It's always a pleasure to see a dish like this—which could definitely be an afterthought—have such attention given to each flavorful detail.

The menu at Truffles contains a wide range of dishes to please most any diner and any price point. We decided to sample both ends of the spectrum this time around with the Truffles Burger ($15) and the 16 oz, In-House Dry-Aged Double ‘R’ Ranch NY Strip ($54).

Gourmet burgers continue to be a going trend around town, and Truffles' entry is one of the better ones we've had. It's a seriously beastly burger, piled with aged cheddar, strips of bacon and caramelized onions, and served with some superlative herb-Parmesan fries on the side. The toppings work well together--the tangy cheese is complemented by the sweetness of the onions, and the bacon augments the beef without being too dominant in the flavor mix. This is one burger that requires a knife and fork to tame; and in our case, a take-home box, as well.

The steak was as much of a mouthful as the lengthy title on the menu would suggest. This behemoth was cooked a perfect mid-rare, with just a light crust of char gracing the exterior. Cooking a steak this big this well—especially considering all of the other items going through the kitchen at the same time—is quite a feat. Kudos to the staff on this dish! It came with the classic sides of roasted garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. This cut certainly has a steakhouse price, and it's worth every penny. Paired with a glass of bright, fruit-forward Beaujolais Nouveau ($12), it made for a most memorable repast.

Service at Truffles was as spot-on as we remembered. There always was someone nearby to fill our water or to field a question about the menu without being obtrusive. It certainly won't be as long between visits for us next time!

-- 9202 Clayton Road, 567-9100,

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