Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mosaic Bistro/Market

My computer's hard drive crashed when we were in Vermont and it's taken me a bit of time to replace it and try to "pick up the pieces" of what I've lost.  Some things will never be found again, alas.

However, I'm happy to have a new computer now, so we can continue to let our friends know about restaurants that I feel deserve your patronage.

Mosaic Bistro/Market
14 North Central Avenue 
is such a place.  It is a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.

The decor is contemporary and very smart looking.  The walls are grey and orange.  There's a charcoal banquette with cheerful throw pillows in black, white, and orange (for those of us who are not so tall to put behind our backs) plus great looking chairs.  The bar is very attractive and has about a dozen black stools.  The kitchen is open at the back of the restaurant and is a hive of activity; really fun to watch.

There's also a Chef's Table in the front of the restaurant and on the other side of the front door is a seating area with comfortable chairs, a bookcase and a cowhide rug.  Behind the Chef's Table are shelves that had a few items for sale like white truffle oil and demi-tasse cups filled with chocolate espresso, when I was there last.  I understand that more items will be added soon.

The Bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  All three menus look delicious.  We've only had lunch and dinner there so I'll tell you about those.

The lunch menu has two soups and four salads.   Two of the salads are available in two sizes, the Caesar and the Bibb Lettuce Salad (which by the way is made with strawberries, goat cheese, candied walnuts and white balsamic dressing). The other two salads are more entree sized.  Salad Lyonnaise has curly endive, radicchio, bacon lardons, chilled asparagus, and a soft boiled egg with mustard seed vinaigrette and Seared Salmon Nicoise with arugula, fingerling potatoes, haricot vertes, olives, toasted fennel and blood orange vinagrette.

There are five sandwiches that are served with a choice of salad or locally made chips. They run from a special BLT that has avocado, French brie, and a smoked garlic aioli in addition to the normal bacon, lettuce and tomato, to paninis that all sound terrific.

Then there are regular entrees; Dry Aged Strip Steak, a Wild Mushroom Ravioli, a Goat Cheese Tart, and Prince Edward Island Mussels.

I had the Bistro BLT.  It is a huge sandwich.  It could easily be shared. My Honey had the Pressed Croque Monsieur with Black Forest ham, Gruyere cheese, and Dijon Mustard.  He was a happy camper.
We both had the Bibb Lettuce Salad as our side.

Dinner was really special. I started with the Goat Cheese Tart with caramelized onions, goat cheese, olives and arugula salad and then had Chilean Sea Bass with a roasted red pepper puree, beluga lentils, baby spinach and a parsley emulsion. Everything was delicious and attractively served. My husband had the Prince Edward Mussels and then he had Day Boat Scallops with bacon,spring pea and rosemary puree, baby carrots and apple saba.  I'm not sure what apple saba is, but he liked his dinner a lot.

The rest of the menu looked equally delicious, so you must go in and check it out yourselves.

Mosaic Bistro is owned and operated by the Schmitz clan, Ellen, Frank and Claus. They also have Mosaic Restaurant downtown, BARcelona almost next door to Mosaic Bistro/Market in Clayton, and I believe they're opening a steak place also in the downtown area, plus they have plans for a restaurant in the Centenne complex.

My good friend, Gretchen Morfogen, is directing things in the kitchen, which makes me very happy.  She's a special lady.

Be sure to visit Mosaic Bistro/Market soon.

Take a look at their website:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Crossing

Last night my husband and a dear friend, Catherine Neville, met for dinner at The Crossing.  It was a Monday night, mind you, and I am happy to announce that The Crossing was very busy; every table was full.  There's a good reason that this is a popular restaurant.  The wait staff is very knowledgable, the kitchen is excellent, and the menu is not only good, but intelligent as well.
Here you can order a la carte, or a four course tasting menu for $32, or a more elaborate tasting menu  for $45, or a Chef's Tasting Menu, consisting of 9 courses, for $75.

I just love the blue cheese souffle' with the warm crisp homemade toasts that is waiting for you as you sit down at your table and start to peruse the wine list.  It never disappoints.

 Cat and I chose the $32 tasting menu.  We both started with their famous Beet Salad; tiny cubes of perfectly cooked beets combined with puffs of goat cheese, sprinkled with pine nuts.  It's a winner every time.  We followed that with Spaghetti alla Chitarra.  This was a lovely course with basil, tomato and pine nuts in the perfect portion; small yet choice.

At this point Jim Fiala, who is a good friend, brought out a plate with two incredible pastas for us to try.  One was a large garganelli pasta tube filled with creamy ricotta with a roasted tomato and butter sauce. The other pasta was a mini garganelli noodle with Moroccan spiced lamb ragu.  They were yummy.

Catherine had the Tilapia entree with Carrot Puree', Spinach, Mushrooms with a Beurre Blanc Sauce.  I had the Braised Missouri Lamb, Crushed Potatoes and Pea Shoots. 

My husband elected to have a small cup of Sausage Gumbo and the Amish Free Range Chicken with Shitake Mushrooms, Crushed Potatoes, with Roasted Jus.

We were all "happy campers". Then, as a special treat, Jimmy brought out a sample of Roasted Mangalitsa Pork.  This pork comes from the "Wooly Pig" that Jim says will not win any beauty contests, but has a flavor like no other.  It was imported to this country by Heath Putnam, and is processed in Illinois by Swiss Meat Processors.  What we sampled was remarkable.  There's a sweet, buttery flavor to this meat with a rich undertone, hard to describe, but absolutely delicious. I will definitely have this the next time we have dinner at The Crossing.

I love this restaurant.  The atmosphere is warm and friendly.  One can feel equally comfortable going there casually or for a special occasion.  Jim Fiala has a philosophy of using local purveyors for the highest quality products available in portions that are sensible for today's living style, and hiring dedicated personnel both in the kitchen and in the dining room.  

Take a look at  you won't be disappointed.