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 www.fialafood.com. you won't be disappointed.