Jim Fiala’s restaurants have long been high-water marks on the St. Louis dining scene, combining fine fare and superior service. We were reminded of this during our most recent visit to his Clayton eatery, The Crossing.
The Lobby Lounge of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis has expanded its bar menu: In addition to some 200 martinis and signature beverages, there are six new summer libations and a decadent Cake Martini inspired by the hotel's recently-launched Ritz-Carlton Cake, that includes vodka, chocolate and orange liqueurs, and a fresh orange twist. The seasonal drink offerings coincide with the debut of the hotel’s new Martini Club. Members of the club can enjoy their journey through the hotel’s impressive menu and qualify for complimentary hotel experiences—from drinks or dinner for two at The Grill, to engraved martini glasses and overnight stays at the property. Members also receive exclusive invitations to club events, tastings and cocktail-crafting parties. Membership is complimentary, and is open to the public and hotel guests.
It's springtime, and that means area restaurants are starting to unveil their new seasonal menus. U. City fave Blueberry Hill has announced four new specialty sandwiches, a Western Wagyu Burger, and a Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake to its menu; and also has re-introduced its popular Gazpacho. Modesto Tapas Bar & Restaurant has debuted some new items for spring, as well. The menu now has four new small bites, including the Fritada (a fried shrimp and scallop skewer) and the Banderilla (an anchovy, artichoke and olive skewer), as well as the return of the Judias Verdes, sauteed green beans with onions and sherry.
Chill Cool Frozen Yogurt in Clayton will be celebrating its third anniversary on Friday, April 19. At 3:30 p.m. that day, Fredbird will make an appearance to hand out limited-edition Chill batting-helmet bowls with frozen yogurt purchases. The store also will present its third annual donation to Friends of Kids With Cancer during the celebration. By the way, Chill has some new spring flavors on the menu: Root Beer Float, Mango Sorbet and Pina Colada.
Bogart's Smokehouse in Soulard has garnered a spot in Zagat's 2013 America's Top Restaurants guide. Zagat's also named its top 10 STL restaurants: Acero; Anthony's; Blues City Deli; Bogart's Smokehouse; Citizen Kane's; Niche; Pappy's Smokehouse; Sidney Street Cafe; The Crossing; and Tony's.
There's finally a chill in the air, signaling that fall is upon us. In addition to better weather and some glorious foliage, the shift in seasons also brings a changing of the menu at many local eateries.
This summer, the Clayton Farmer’s Market has been hosting a series of cooking demos, where area chefs browse the market, pick out ingredients and come up with a dish to prepare. This Saturday, Aug. 18, chef CASSY VIRES of Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood will be the featured culinarian. Stop by the market and see what Chef Cassy comes up with!
We’ve been eating our way around Maplewood as of late, and finally made our way recently to an old favorite, Acero. We’re happy to report the eatery was every bit as good as we remembered it.
The Chase Park Plaza has announced KYLE LIPETZKY as its new executive chef. He’ll oversee all of the hotel’s restaurants (Eau Bistro and Café Eau), the catering division and outlets. Lipetzky previously held leadership positions at The Phoenician and Camelback Inn, a JW Marriott Resort and Spa, both in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The landscape of St. Louis high school sports will have a new look in the fall. For reasons that are coincidental, cosmic or both, there will be a slew of new faces in athletics director (AD) positions throughout West County. Among those schools that have announced changes are CBC, De Smet, Vianney, Kirkwood, Priory and Bishop DuBourg.
◆JIM FIALA is in the process of shuttering The Terrace View restaurant at City Garden downtown. The restaurant will go to lunch-only service in October from Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fiala says he won’t renew the lease once it expires at the end of the year, indicating that the main reason for the closure is that he just wasn’t able to attract enough folks downtown for dinner.
◆ Looks like the sale of the former Busch’s Grove property to a partnership that includes Il Bel Lago owners FRANK and CARMELO GABRIELE is still pending. Carmelo Gabriele tells us that the hope is to close on the property by the end of September, with the restaurant opening sometime in early January. Originally, the restaurant was set to debut Nov. 1.
> Chef BILL OSLOOND, executive chef at 1904 Steak House at River City Casino, is putting on a special grilling class exclusively for Ladue News readers Saturday, July 23, at the restaurant. The class will cover all of the fine points of cooking on a grill, and participants will get to try their hand at grilling a steak, two sides and dessert. Osloond knows a thing or two about cooking with fire: Before landing at 1904 in January, he worked in the kitchen at Kevin Costner’s Jake’s Fine Dining in South Dakota, served as the executive sous chef at Elway’s Steak House in Denver, and was executive chef at the Boulder Chophouse and Tavern in Boulder, Colo. For details, call 1904 manager Derrick Colquitt at 388-7630 or email email@example.com. LN also is giving away two sets of four admissions to the class on our Facebook page, facebook.com/laduenews, so go online and ‘like’ us for your chance to win!
> Salt, the highly anticipated new restaurant from chef WES JOHNSON, former chef de cuisine at Eclipse Restaurant in the Moonrise Hotel, officially opened its doors April 7 at 4356 Lindell Blvd. in the CWE. The menu features small plates, cheeses, charcuterie and other examples of farm-to-table goodness, plus great wine and cocktail selections.
> Restaurateurs PAUL and WENDY HAMILTON, owners of Eleven Eleven Mississippi, Vin de Set, Grand Petite Market, Malt House Cellar and Moulin Events are taking the plunge once again. The couple will be opening PW Pizza on the first floor of 2017 Chouteau Ave., the building that houses their other culinary venues. The new, 75-seat restaurant will have a seasonal focus and feature gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian menu options. BTW, ‘PW’ stands for ‘Paul and Wendy.‘ Opening should be early May; we’ll keep you updated.
> Mark your calendars, because the second annual Clayton Restaurant Week is coming up fast. From Monday, Jan. 24, through Sunday, Jan. 30, 19 of Clayton’s finest restaurants are offering a special three-course dinner for a fixed price of $25 per person. Diners also have the option of adding ‘extra credit’ donations to their bills to support KidSmart, which provides area students in need with school supplies. More info at claytonrestaurantweek.net.
> Central Cafe & Bakery opened quietly last month at 331 N. Euclid in the CWE. Specializing in food with a Lebanese focus, the menu includes Middle Eastern delights like shawarma beef and chicken, along with appetizers, salads, sandwiches and fresh-baked breads. We’ve been told there will be some new menu items soon, as well as some other attractions, like live music and an outdoor fire pit. The new eatery seats about 40.
> The Patio Cafe opened Oct. 18 at 7711 Bonhomme Ave. in Clayton, on the first floor of The Equity building. Co-owner BILLY CORRINGTON says the restaurant is open for lunch and breakfast Monday through Friday with a menu that includes some unique signature salads and a banh mi ga, a Vietnamese chicken sandwich. This isn’t Corrington’s first Clayton venture; he and partner MOLLY O’CONNOR also have Sweet Peas in The Sevens Building.
> The best chefs from St. Louis and the surrounding region will put their skills on the line to honor master chef and charcuterie expert FREDERIC ‘FRITZ’ SONNENSCHMIDT (dean emeritus of the CIA) and raise funds for Operation Food Search. Operation Charcuterie!, as it’s being called, will be held at Sidney Street Cafe in Benton Park Sept. 28. Teams will prepare a six-course charcuterie dinner, and the chef roster features a veritable Who’s Who of area culinary talent: GERARD CRAFT of Niche, ANTHONY DEVOTI of Five, JIM FIALA of The Crossing, JOSH GALLIANO of Monarch, STEVE GONTRAM of Harvest, CARY MCDOWELL of Winslow’s Home, KEVIN NASHAN of Sidney Street Cafe, LOU ROOK of Annie Gunn’s, KEVIN WILLMAN of Farmhaus, JONATHAN JUSTUS of Justus Drugstore Restaurant in Smithville, Mo., and MIKE ODETTE of Sycamore in Columbia, Mo. For reservations, contact Chris Valier at Sidney Street Cafe at 771-5777.
> Soul food fans will have a new place to frequent this fall. ROBBIE MONTGOMERY, of Sweetie Pie’s fame, will be opening another eatery, Sweetie Pie’s Upper Crust, “sometime in September or October” at 3643 Delmar. Right now the building is being cleaned up and prepped for construction. In addition to current Sweetie Pie’s favorites, the Upper Crust menu will also offer salads, steaks and sandwiches. Robbie says the new place will feature a banquet room, bakery facility, bar and separate carry-out line. Look for culinary classes to be held there as well.
> Snooping for Space: Stanley Browne, owner of the popular Robust Wine Bar in Webster Groves, has been looking at sites in the CWE on a quest for a second location. Nadoz Café, likewise, is sniffing around to put location No. 3 in the West End (and last week, the Steven Becker eatery introduced a fancy nighttime menu at the Brentwood Boulevard location)…Simon Lehrer, cheesemonger at The Wine Merchant, recently checked out a farm in Festus with hopes of beginning his own cheese-making operation. “We will be doing sheep’s milk cheese and chickens, heritage pork and a veggie garden for ourselves,” tweeted wife Annie (aka chzmongerswife)…The rooftop bar at The Moonrise Hotel may turn into a four-season hangout. Owner Joe Edwards has been soliciting bids for a removable cover for Eclipse’s hip outdoor bar, which opens on April 1 (earlier, if weather permits). If all goes well, the cover would be completed by next winter. Plans to finish the eastern portion of the hotel’s roof are also in the preliminary stages.
It doesn’t really matter that we have reams of cookbooks at home. We want more. That is only natural when you consider that eating, like everything else, follows trends. There was a day (not that long ago) when the height of elegance could be found in dishes like shrimp Newburg, boeuf Bourguignon and crème brûlée. No self-respecting hostess today would serve her guests that much cream (or that many calories). So if you’re interested in new recipes for, say, Taleggio and Pear Panini or Turkey Osso Bucco, you need to refresh your cookbook library—no further justification needed!