When was the last time you tried Sidney Street Cafe'? My answer until last year was maybe 15 years. Why was that? Sidney Street had consistently been on the top favorite restaurant lists in St Louis publications, yet it wasn't on mine. Then one night a year ago last April, Chuck and I decided to try it again. We walked in without a reservation, sat in the bar, luckily found a table and were blown away by the food, and the service.
What had changed? Well, for one thing the restaurant had been sold to Kevin Nashan, a young chef with ambitious plans. Those plans were to keep the best of this popular place, like the menu favorites, the professional wait staff that had been with the restaurant for years and years, and then gradually add his own touches in the daily specials, but to do so slowly; to wait and watch.
When Chuck and I walked in that first night, Kevin had owned the restaurant five years and his touch was already working. Since then he has added a vegetable garden in raised beds at the edge of his parking lot that he planted with the aid of his Sidney Street neighbors, whom he enlisted in the project. They even helped him weed, pinch, and harvest, which helped keep those beds from being vandalized. Kevin has also remodeled the kitchen and added a smoke room in the basement so he can smoke his own meats and make his own sausages.
We've been back many times since. Sometimes we make reservations, sometimes we take our chances in the bar. I love the bar area; it's a great people watching area, the light is a bit higher and the noise level most nights is lower.
We went again last night and here's my report. This is a must-go-to place. Not only is the food outstanding but the wait staff is amazing. These are dedicated people, not people who are waiting tables until something better comes along. You only see this kind of devotion to the philosophy of a restaurant very rarely.
I was very hungry last night, Chuck had a late lunch and he was not, so he had an appetizer for dinner. His was a Confit of Sweetbreads on a Bed of Celery Root Puree' with Apple Cider reduction, Spiced Pecans on Swiss Chard greens.
I had Grilled Honey Mustard Shrimp consisting of 5 bacon wrapped shrimp and a yummy honey mustard dipping sauce. My Honey had a couple of those and we both loved them. Instead of the usual bread basket, they serve a basket of hot beignets that are addictive.
My main dish was Pecan Encrusted Rabbit and Rabbit Sausage on a bed of the most incredible Farm Vegetables; Brussell Sprouts, carrots, radishes, turnips, etc., in a delicious au jus with micro greens from Claverach Farms on top. This was a remarkable dish. I've never had better rabbit.
I'm perfectly aware that there are folks who cannot tolerate the thought of eating rabbit, so allow me to assure you that there are many, many more scrumptious dishes to be enjoyed at Sidney Street Cafe'.
Take a look at the menu on their website which you will find at the end of this entry; you won't be disappointed.
For dessert we opted for the Maple Flan with Chestnut Blini, Bourbon Pecan Compote, Apples and Maple Sugar. a perfect Fall dessert.
This is a special place. Kevin's wife, Mina, who is lovely, is there every night to see that everything runs smoothly. His brother, Chris, is the manager, and we've only had the most friendly and accomplished waiters and waitresses.
So, if, like us, you haven't been there in a while please give it a try. Let me know what you think.
The Sidney Street Cafe'
2000 Sidney Street