Tuesday, September 24, 2013


A couple of weeks ago we ventured into St Charles to try a new restaurant Prasino.
It is located right past the bridge off i70West where the old Noah's Arc used to be located, but now is a huge modern complex of offices, condos and stores.

The restaurant is extremely attractive with a large outdoor dining patio and a beautiful dining room and bar whose scale you need to see to believe, but is designed into very comfortable spaces.
We opted for a booth as it gave us a great view of the room, the wine cellar, and it was quieter.

Our waiter was knowledgable and informative and service was very good.

This is the kind of restaurant that has become very popular as the menu has selections of small plates, tacos, flat breads, sushi rolls, big plates, salads, sandwiches ( called" hands-on") and sides plus desserts.

The crowd was young and attractive and the music was not to my liking, but I'm into classical and jazz, so never mind.

All the selections made me want to come back and try them. That night I had a Polar Bear "Roll" which consisted of crab, white tuna, avocado, wasabi mayo, cucumber, unagi sauce, and wasabi tobiko. I'm not sure what wasabi tobiko is but that sushi roll was Heaven, and it was BIG! All the "rolls" as they are listed on the menu look fabulous.

I also had trout, wood grilled with succotash, bacon confit and sage butter. I had to take half of it home but it was delicious ( the next day too).

No room for dessert that night, but you can be sure I'm returning to try again.

According to St Louis Magazine Prasino means green in Greek and is pronounced PRAHS-UH-NO.

1520 South Fifth Street
St Charles,MO

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Well, if you haven't tried THE LIBERTINE in Clayton you need to do so ASAP.  This is a real winner. The owners, which includes the chef, Josh Galliano, have done a great job remodeling the restaurant and creating a very exciting menu.
We have been delighted with our every visit. 
The concept is fresh and easy.  The menu is simple to understand but the food is extraordinary.  Here's the concept.
There are four columns.  One for Vegetable, one for Meat, one for Seafood, and one for Dessert. OK, you say, what's so different? What is so different is that most of these items are small plates and the selections under each are creative and delicious. Let me give you some examples.

Under Vegetables you have:

Illinois Asparagus with Black Garlic,Midwest Caviar, Fried Potatoes, Boiled Fried Egg

Scorched Twisted Peppers with Molasses Bacon, Cherry Tomato,  Opal Basil, Benne Seeds

Ash Roasted Carrots with Pea Cavatelli, Miso Carrot Puree, Dashi Broth, Radish

and that's less than half the Vegetable offerings.

Under Meat you have:

Crispy Pig Tails "Buffalo Style" Whipped Gorgonzola, Brown Butter Polenta

Diner Burger  Double Patty of Local Beef, Molasses Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Cheese "Whiz" on a Bacon Bun with Fried Mashed Potatoes

Three Little Birds a Trio of Roasted Game Hen, Chicken and Quail with Rice Grits, blistered Tomato, PattyPan and Fava Succotash

That's only 3 of the 9 items that were offered under Meat 

Under Seafood

She Crab Soup with Blue Crab Spring Roll, Sherry Pearls and Marash Chile

Frog Legs English Peas, Green Garlic Vichysoise, Fresh Hummus, Socca Flatbread

Deep Water Hake Gnudi Ricotta Dumpling, Artichoke Barigoule, Charred Cucumber, Caramelized Yogurt

See what I mean?


The Libertine Candy Bar Salted Caramel Semi-Freddo, Hazelnuts, Ganache, Chocolate Ganache

TCHO Chocolate sauce, Herb and Spring Flower Crumble,Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Basil Paper

This is what I've tried so far.  The Ash Carrots are fabulous. A carrot never tasted so new, so great. the Crispy Pigs Tails, don't be frightened about this-it's delicious, crunchy and yummy.  The Diner Burger does not have regular Cheese Whiz on it, it has a cheese that Josh has created and boy is it good.  The Three Little Birds is a gorgeous dish, beautiful and absolutely wonderful tasting.  My husband adores the She Crab Soup and orders it every time we go there. We used to live in Maryland and he thought that was the ONLY place to get good She Crab Soup until he tasted Josh's.  The Deep Water Hake, when it's available is a must.
I've never made it to Dessert, but that Candy Bar is calling to me.

You can be sure that the menu changes with the Seasons and availability plus on the second Sunday of every month Josh fries his famous chicken that is three days in preparation and is amazing; deep mahogany brown crisp, crisp crust with yummy mashed potatoes, and fresh corn. Oh boy!

Please do yourself a favor. Walk in to The Libertine and let them take care of you. The staff is great and the kitchen deserves many stars.

The Libertine
7927 Forsyth

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


If you haven't yet been to Ben Poremba's  ELAIA, I would suggest that you do so at your earliest convenience. It is a culinary experience not to be missed.

You enter ELAIA by going into OLIO  where you ascend a chalk white stairway ( that reminds one of the islands of Greece ) into a second floor dining room with a huge chandelier made of cooking utensils that has to be seen to be believed, and some amazing art, some done by Ben himself, and some paintings collected by his family. The space is intimate and sophisticated with amazing wooden chairs which are surprisingly comfortable.

I will be describing the dinner we enjoyed, however, it will not be the one you will have, as the menu changes every day, or so it seems.

The menu is printed daily. It has four courses, with four choices in each category. You may order a la carte or you may opt for the Tasting Menu of all four courses. The night we were there the First course was $10, the Second was $12, the Third was $30 and the Fourth was $8. All Four Courses was $55 a person.  My advice, go for the Tasting Menu, the selections are wonderful, the portions are small so you won't feel stuffed, and it's part of the experience.

Chuck chose the CHILLED SUNCHOKE SOUP with APPLE and VERMOUTH for his first course. It came in a beautiful pitcher which was emptied into a lovely soup bowl. The texture was like velvet, and the flavor was lovely.  I chose PARFAIT of FOIS GRAS with RHUBARB, STRAWBERRIES,  and CELERY. The plate was a work of art, an egg shaped scoop of luscious Fois Gras Mousse, with the fruit artistically arranged in a tiny mosaic. It was memorable from every angle.

For his Second Course, CJC chose SPRING SALAD, which consisted of Arugula, Speck, Green Almonds and Marconas. He loved it.  I had POACHED HEN EGG with FREGOLA, GUANCIALE, and SWEET PEAS.  Fregola is a pasta similar to couscous and Guanciale is unsmoked pig jowl bacon.  It was a fabulous dish.

We both had the STURGEON with FAVA BEANS, CAULIFLOWER, CARROT and WHITE GAZPACHO for our Fourth course. It was everything a Spring dish should be. Crispy skin on the Sturgeon, creamy cauliflower, fava beans are one of the jewels of the Spring, brilliant green in color and a flavor that is so fabulous that no one can resist it. It is my all time favorite bean.  The entire dish was perfect.

The Fourth Course, naturally, was dessert. We opted for BAR MARSEILLE made with DULCE DE LECHE and COFFEE. A beautiful bar of cake, cream, and icing. Zowee.

As I mentioned there are at least four selections for each course, so you have many choices, and I bet they are all superb.

The wine stewart has won many awards, so be sure to let him choose your pairings, or, if you prefer, our bottles. You won't be sorry.



Last Friday Chuck and I went to see the new space on South Euclid near the Forest Park Parkway, Siteman Center and across the street from Tom's Bar and Grill.
We were alerted to its opening by both Sauce and Feast May issues. The official opening was April 30.

First of all, the 10,000 square feet of space is sophisticated and beautiful. Sauce Magazine says it is part cafeteria, part wine bar, part fine-dining restaurant. It's a bit early to characterize it as all those things yet, but I can add that it does have a coffee and "European" chocolate bar, plus a Market Place where you can pick up a few local vegetables, fancy condiments and take-out sandwiches and entrees.

The consulting chef is Cary Neff and the executive chef is Nick Martinkovic.  Open so far are the Deli Bar, where you can get very interesting salads and sandwiches, the Grill Bar, which the day we were there, was serving pastas and wood oven pizzas, that looked yummy, the afore mentioned Coffee and Chocolate Bar. In the works are an Oyster and Clam Raw Bar, and freshly rolled sushi from, according to Sauce Magazine,  "Chop Shop's own Eliott Harris".

We opted for salads and found the two we chose, a Caesar and a Farmhouse  with beets and goat cheese, to be fresh, ice cold and well prepared.  The service was unfailingly nice, courteous and welcoming.  We also had a brownie from the Coffee/Chocolate bar: don't miss it!

It's brand new, it's evolving , and it promises to be a terrific alternative Central West End eatery.
After 5PM we understand that plated service will be available.

Check it out.

23 South Euclid

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


It's been a year since I've entered anything on this blog! I cannot believe it, but it's true. Primarily it was because we keep going to our old favorites, and when we do go to a new restaurant, I feel as though I need to go back to it at least one or two more times to do it justice. Then, there were times when I was so busy eating, enjoying the people that we accompanied there, that I plain forgot to give the food the attention it deserved in order to report on it.

Ben Poremba has changed all that. He has opened two excellent eating places; one, Olio, is an informal, delightful small plate establishment in a former gasoline station, and the other is Elaia, a sophisticated, elegant and exploratory dining room that shows off his considerable talents.

Today I will only tell you of my experiences at Olio. It is located just 2 blocks north of the Missouri Botanical Garden on Tower Grove Ave and McCree Street. The transformation from a filling station to a charming eatery is absolutely wonderful. I can't wait until the weather is warm enough so the sliding overhead glass door that used to be used to bring the cars in for repairs, is opened for outdoor dining.
The space as it is right now, works beautifully. There's a bar area with great looking, very comfortable stools, where you can sample the amazing wines and cocktails that are available, as well as have your choices off the menu. The adjacent space has several ice-cream marble tables that seat 2-4 people each.
The prep space is small, but, wow, what comes out of that space is remarkable. In the evenings there is a rotisserie and every evening there is a different choice of a rotisserie item to be had.

These are some of the dishes I have sampled there.  CELERY ROOT REMOULADE, julienned celery root with a lovely, light creamy dressing. I am a big fan of celery root. It is a remarkable vegetable. It looks pretty rough when it comes out of the ground or when you find it at your grocer, but the flavor is spectacular. Julienned, the texture is crunchy and truly elegant. Do try it.

I've also had the KALE AND ANCHOVY SALAD. Tiny green ribbons of baby kale that are crunchy and never bitter, are married to a dressing that is made of anchovies and a very fine olive oil. Sharing is a must, and the portions allow you to do so handsomely. Even so, I wish I had had more to enjoy of that dish after my table mates  helped themselves.

The CHARRED EGGPLANT DIP is smokey and amazing. It is served with great bread. It's a true winner. 

Soups change daily and are only available at lunch. Most recently I had the CELERY SOUP which was thick with minced vegetables and came with a soft cooked egg in the center! Lovely, lovely.

In the sandwich department there's the "FAMOUS" EGG SALAD. It is better than your mama's, I promise. It is also huge, so plan on sharing. The bread it's served on is fabulous as well. I've also sampled the MORTADELLA, BUTTER AND PICKLED ONION sandwich. Yum.

The menu has CHEESE SELECTIONS that are very different from any selections I've seen on any menu around town. There's a VEGETABLE AND SALAD group, try the MARINATED BEETS AND RICOTTA. SPREADS AND DIPS are wonderful with your first glass of wine. SALUMI AND CHARCUTERIE are all home made and cured. Ben began his food adventures in St Louis with his Salumi Beddu, first at Farmers' Markets, and then at his first establishment on Hampton Avenue. All the selections in this category are worth your interest. There's FISH AND SEAFOOD and under this title I am anxious to try the OCTOPUS SALAD WITH CHICK PEAS AND EDAMAME.
As you can see there are plenty of choices for all kinds of appetites.  After 5:30PM there are selections by the day of HOT PLATES AND ROTISSERIE.  So come and try them out.

I have never made it to dessert yet...but one of these days. 

Take a look at the menu on line at oliostl.com.

1634 Tower Grove Ave