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St. Louis' New Classics

Sauce Magazine · Guide to St Louis · created over 6 years ago

Our fair city is chock-full of creative culinary minds whose passion for food and dedication to innovation has led to modern-day spins on some of your most treasured dishes. From beer soup to simple stew, bread pudding to plain old risotto, your go-to dishes have been re-imagined and reinvigorated and we're here to reveal all the delicious details. So dig into these tasty twists on old favorites, and let your palate experience all this city has to offer.

Just be sure to take a picture of it and add it to our guide so you can let us know what you think of today's new classics.

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    Cantaloupe Soup at Trattoria Marcella in St. Louis, Missouri

    Who doesn’t love prosciutto e melone? At Trattoria Marcella, chef and owner Steve Komorek takes the summer staple one step further, adding bright lime juice and rich cream to the sweetness of puréed cantaloupe. He tops it off with a sprinkle of crispy prosciutto, a crumble of blue cheese and a few liqueur-soaked raisins – which elevates this Italian classic from simple to sublime.

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    Mini Crab Cakes at Bixby's in the Missouri History Museum in St Louis, Missouri

    Crab cakes aren’t exactly seasonal, but they do make good warm weather fare: light enough for the heat, but substantial enough to leave you satisfied. Crab cakes aren’t exactly exciting, either, but they can be a great canvas for creative chefs willing to kick them up a notch. At Bixby’s, chef Todd Lough serves them in miniature form atop a flavorful black bean salsa whose earthiness is accentuated with pops of bright, sweet citrus, then adds a note of heat with a chipotle aïoli.

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    goat cheese tart at Brasserie By Niche in St. Louis, MO

    After months of freezing temps and hearty dishes, hail the arrival of spring with lighter fare. At Brasserie by Niche, chef Michael Petres does just that with a goat cheese tart, where a buttery, flaky crust and rich custard filling are lightened with the tang of goat cheese and the peppery freshness of a fennel salad.

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    Egg Raviolo at Acero Ristorante in Saint Louis, MO

    Jim Fiala’s egg raviolo – paper-thin pasta encasing a beautiful yellow egg yolk nestled in a bed of cheese – has become something of a legendary dish around town. If you’ve never had it before, the round yolk visible through the pasta is a delightful surprise when it arrives at the table; if you have, it’s likely become a dish you order again and again. You’ll find it on the menu at Acero, Fiala’s Maplewood enoteca, but it’ll be right at home on your spring table, too.

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    Warm Brioche Bread Pudding at Harvest Restaurant in St. Louis, MO

    Bread pudding’s got its fans, sure, but it’s not for everyone. Except this one; Harvest’s Warmed Brioche Bread Pudding is beloved by all who taste it. Maybe it’s the perfect balance of brioche to custard or (more likely) the bourbon in the sauce. Whatever the reason, it’s the one item that never comes off Harvest’s famously seasonal menu.

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    Caesar Fondue at Cielo in St. Louis, MO

    Caesar salad? At Cielo? Yep, but don’t pass over it, because what arrives at the table isn’t the same old tired salad served at every bar and grill in America. Executive chef Fabrizio Schenardi’s version features baby romaine, barely grilled for just a touch of smoke, with a lemony dressing served on the side for dipping (it’s meant to be eaten with your fingers). It’s elegant, playful and right at home alongside the sophisticated Italian fare on his new menu.

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    Bill's Burger Meister Burger at Cardwells At The Plaza

    Light your fires, grillers, it’s burger season. Everyone’s got a tried-and-true recipe, but the title of burger champ has to go to Bill Cardwell, whose famous Burger Meister Burger has graced Cardwell’s at the Plaza’s menu since 1994. Quality ingredients make the difference here – Niman Ranch beef, applewood-smoked bacon, buns from Companion and a homemade spiced tomato relish that’ll have you off ketchup forever. Happy grilling.

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    PBJ Blaster Pie at Iron Barley Eating Estblshmnt in Saint Louis, MO

    When the temperature spikes high and the humidity spikes higher, River City residents head to the South Side’s Iron Barley, where chef and owner Tom Coghill’s creamy, frozen Blaster Pie is the perfect mid-summer cooler. That’s not to say this pie doesn’t pack some heat; it does, thanks to a trio of sauces that feature jalapeño, habañero and chipotle peppers.

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    Lobster Risotto at Trattoria Marcella in St. Louis, Missouri

    You’ve got your toasted ravs, sure. Gooey butter cake, OK. But when it comes to St. Louis foods, Trattoria Marcella’s Lobster Risotto tops the list, hands down. What other dish has achieved such fame without once appearing on a menu? The Komorek brothers first ran this elegant twist on the Italian classic as a 1995 New Year’s Eve special; customers have been asking for – and talking about – it ever since. “It just snowballed,” Steve Komorek said, “so we’ve just always been prepared to make it.”

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    Cock A Leekie Pie at The Scottish Arms in Saint Louis, MO

    If ever a people knew how to make it through the cold winter months, it’s the Scots. And if ever there was a dish to chase away the chill, it’s the Cock-A-Leekie Pie at The Scottish Arms, where a few tweaks to owner Alastair Nisbet’s grandmother’s recipe (like swapping prunes and potatoes for cream and wine) resulted in a hearty chicken stew studded with leeks and capped with rich, flaky pastry – and transformed this Scottish classic into an STL standout.

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    Paella Mixta at Modesto in St. Louis, MO

    Escape the heat in landlocked St. Louis via the dinner table, where you can evoke the ocean breezes of the Mediterranean with paella. At Modesto on The Hill, chef Grace Dinsmoor conjures visions of warm and sunny Spain via the robust flavors of paella mixta, a coastal version of the classic dish that’s brimming with fresh seafood.

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    White Cheddar-APA Soup at Schlafly Bottleworks in St Louis, MO

    We like cheese. We like beer. We like soup. And we like the genius who first thought of putting these things together, because beer-cheese soup might just be the perfect fall comfort food. We’re partial to the version served at Schlafly Bottleworks, where chef Josh King blends the brewer’s hoppy APA with tangy sharp Cheddar for a rich and creamy soup with local flair.

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    Tuscan Seafood Stew at Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar in Saint Louis, MO

    Sometimes, dreary weather calls for a big pot of stew simmering on the stove, and Remy’s Kitchen and Wine Bar’s Tuscan Seafood Stew is just the thing: Seafood keeps things light, onion and garlic lend robust flavor, and a spicy tomato broth adds heat to chilly winter days.

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    Crawfish Bread at Monarch Restaurant in Maplewood, MO

    Celebrate Fat Tuesday any time of year with more than gumbo and jambalaya. Take a cue from Josh Galliano, the executive chef at Monarch and Louisiana native whose crawfish bread combines the icons of Cajun fare – holy trinity (celery, onion and bell pepper), crawfish and cayenne – with rich cream and melty cheese for a dish guaranteed to get your good times rolling.