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Fine Dining in St. Louis

Sauce Magazine · Guide to St Louis · created over 3 years ago

Whether it's a birthday or an anniversary, a new acquaintance or an old friend, we all have a reason to splurge on a great meal. These must-try plates are just a taste of St. Louis' fine dining scene, from Italian specialties to French delicacies to Mexican masterpieces and everything in between. With spot-on flavor and exquisite execution, these dishes are worth shelling out the extra bucks. So save up, chow down and let your next special occasion be as pleasing to the palate as it is to the man or woman of the hour.

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    Sea bass with corn and asparagus risotto at Oceano Bistro in Clayton, MO

    Basking in a buttery revelry was the sea bass over corn and asparagus risotto with smoked tomato butter. At first bite, butter, then flakey ocean flesh, then creamy risotto, sweetness from corn, and crisp-tender bites of asparagus. A nice citrus flavor tinged the whole dish, preventing it from entering “too much” territory.

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    Hamachi-Avocado Ceviche at Oceano Bistro in Clayton, MO

    A tour of the best offerings begins with the hamachi-avocado ceviche. Thinly sliced wisps of ever-so-delicate raw hamachi are drizzled with velvety Meyer lemon vinaigrette the shade of a pale yellow buttercup. Crescents of creamy avocado, dainty microsprouts and sweet green peas are layered and placed just so over the fish. The dish is light and bright yet luscious and inviting. By drizzling the acid over the fish instead of marinating it, the texture of the flesh remains tender, not “cooked” tough. It’s very pretty to look at, too.

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    Saganaki at Spiro's Restaurant in Saint Louis, MO

    The saganaki is the best I’ve had in town – and Spiro himself came out to our table to explain the history behind the pine resin notes in Greek wines Sea bass with corn and asparagus risotto. The hunk of Kasseri cheese, in its light coating, takes on a delicate, crisp crunch while sautéing on a hotplate beside the table. After a couple flips, then a dousing of brandy, the flame-kissed cheese is extinguished with a squeeze of lemon and rendered a gooey delight. It’s melty, crisp and has a subtle tartness.

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    Seared Scallop in Mustard Sauce at Salt in Saint Louis, MO

    From the small plates side of the menu, a single seared sea scallop in a mustard sauce with scallions sounds simple enough, until it arrives sealed in a tiny canning jar and you’re instructed to unscrew the top to release a puff of cedar smoke pumped into the jar by some kind of smoke gun contraption. Now that’s whimsy. It’s also delicious, though the impression of cedar was barely distinguishable.

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    Salmon en Papillote at Oak Barrel Bistro & Artisan Bakery in O'Fallon, MO

    Fresh Scottish salmon en papillote was delivered by the chef himself, who proceeded to slice open the parchment paper pouch, releasing a rush of fragrant steam from the slivered leeks and fennel, chopped tomato and sauce of white wine, lemon and olive oil. The whole dish was beautiful to behold, joyous to eat.

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    Tagliatelle at Via Vino in Saint Louis, MO

    A small plate of tagliatelle is in a porcini mushroom broth, aromatic with warm spice (nutmeg?) and made even earthier with healthy slices of truffles. Pair it with bruschetta and a salad for a well-rounded, lighter meal.

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    Foie Gras at Bistro 1130 in Town , MO

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    Duck Tostaditas at Milagro Modern Mexican in Webster Groves, MO

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    Daily Risotto at Cielo in St. Louis, MO

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    Steak at Prime 1000 in St. Louis, MO

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    Pomme à La Reine at Chez Leon in St Louis, Missouri

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    Mussels at Franco in St. Louis, MO

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    Ninja Bento Box at FIn Japanese Cuisine in Chesterfield, Missouri

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    House-Made Salumi at Truffles in St. Louis, MO