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.
1634 TOWER GROVE AVENUE