Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stone Soup Cottage Redux

We obviously can't stay away from this charming restaurant, plus we wanted to introduce some of our friends to this exciting establishment.

Tonight's menu did not disappoint

Our amuse bouche ( or a little taste present from the chef ) was a freshly picked squash blossom, stuffed with a blue cheese mousse, deep fried and served with a garlicky rouille (garlic, olive oil aioli ) that was absolutely delicious.  The wine served with it was fabulous; Aveleda Vino Verde from Portugal.  It was light with some tiny bubbles like Prosecco, and very little alcohol content that went beautifully with that squash blossom gem.

The first course was a Rabbit Consomme' with Smoked Rabbit Confit ( which means that the rabbit is slowly smoked and then poached gently in its own fat-but don't worry, it's not a bit fatty or oily, it's delicious)

This was followed by Butternut Squash Souffle' with Heirloom Micro-Greens and Hot Pancetta Vinaigrette. It was a masterpiece: fluffy, creamy and savory all at once with a crisp parmesan tuille stuck in the top of the souffle'.  A real winner.

Next came Grilled Alaskan Coho Salmon with a Ginger Buerre Blanc and Fresh English Peas.  Granted there's no salmon streams anywhere near St Louis, and this is not pea season, but the combination was wonderful none the less.  Living in the center of the country we have to be aware that locovare can only take us so far.

Dessert was an Apple Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Bean Gelato.  It came to the table pipping hot with the caramelized sugar just starting to set, then the vanilla gelato was spooned on top to cool the tart just enough so the sugar wouldn't burn our mouths.

Our friends were delighted with the meal, the ambiance and the McConnells, and you will be too. 
This place is truly special.

The four course Tasting Menu is $49.95, the six course is $69.95.

The menu changes bi-weekly.  Go to their website and make reservations.  You won't be sorry.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Remember that amazing meal you had in that tiny, dear country inn in Europe where the wife did the cooking and the husband was the host and served your meal? Will you ever forget it? Would you like to repeat it?

You are in luck!  Tonight we went to Stone Soup Cottage in Cottleville; just 35 minutes from downtown Clayton, and we were transported back to just such an ideal spot.

Owners Nancy and Carl McConnell have created this little piece of Heaven for us all.  Here Carl does the cooking and Nancy is the hostess in a charming stone cottage that they have made into a warm and welcoming place to dine.

Candlelight gives a soft glow to the diningroom that seats only 24 people.  The menu is seasonal and changes bi-weekly.  Norman and Ruth Wiese of the Farm Wiese Nursery grow the produce that Carl uses to create his garden to kitchen menus.

The tables are covered in damask tablecloths and the silver is lined up like soldiers; but since you have your choice of a four or six course chef's tasting menu, you will likely need to use every fork, knife and spoon.

Our dinner tonight started with an amuse bouche (a tidbit to enchant you for the meal that is coming) Steak Tartar with a Blue Cheese Vinagrette in a tiny puff pastry shell with lemon juice, sea salt, and oregano and micro-greens from the Wiese's garden. This was served with a glass of a 2007 Napolean champagne.

We opted for the four course tasting menu but if you belong to the "hates to miss club" you need to try the six course and in both instances there are wine pairing options.  The four flight wine pairing is very reasonable at $35.

Let me give you the menu we had tonight.  Remember that the menu changes often, so you might have a very different experience, but I promise it will be wonderful.

For the first course tonight we had Late Harvest Summer Squash Soup with Candied Squash Seeds and Creme Fraiche.  It was magnificent.  The soup was velvety with both sweet and salty tones thanks to those candied seeds and the perfect hand of the chef.

The next course was Seared Foie Gras with Elderberry Conserve and Micro-Greens, a melt in your mouth sensation; perfect in every way.

The third course was House Smoked Prawns with an Heirloom Tomatoe Coulis. I thought the prawns could have used another minute in the smoker, but the tomato coulis was delicious with a buttery, rich finish.

For dessert we had our choice of Jonathan Apple and Talagio Cheese Souffle with Cinnamon Creme Anglais or a Fromage Plate with Dried Fruit and Toasts.  Our table opted for the souffle.  It came in individual souffle cups buttered and sugared before baking so that the oozing souffle clung to the sides of the cups in the most appetizing manner.  Carl then came around and broke the quivering tops of the souffle with a large spoon and poured an ample amount of the warm cinnamon Creme Anglais into the center.  It was the perfect end to a lovely meal.

These two young people have created something unique and wonderful.  They are extremely personable and make you feel not only welcome, but a very valued guest.  The Stone Soup Cottage celebrated its one year anniversary in June. I predict they will celebrate many, many more.

The Stone Soup Cottage is open Thursday through Saturday with one seating at 6:30PM.  On Sundays they serve a Sit-Down Champagne Chef's Tasting Brunch at 12:30PM.

Check out their website for menus and reservations- and go soon, you'll love it.

Carl McConnell
Executive Chef, Owner