Thursday night after being dug out of a snow clogged driveway we were at least a half hour late for our reservation. We had called and let the restaurant know we were having difficulty and they were most understanding. We happened to choose the first night they were open after the Holiday break. The snow was still a factor as many streets had not yet been cleared, so I am sure that all restaurants in our snowy area were experiencing a lower client rate.
We had been reading about Element in both the Post-Dispatch and St Louis Magazine which gave the restaurant very good reviews so we were really looking forward to having dinner there.
The reviewers were right on. Everything we had that night was excellent and the restaurant itself is handsome, with a huge open kitchen. We had a table overlooking the kitchen, which is really a wonderful opportunity to see the chefs in action and, in this case, how close the servers are to the action so they are truly well informed.
We wanted to try the Pork Belly with French Prunes, Walnuts and Blue Cheese, but our server told us they had already sold out of that, however, a new batch would be available in about a half hour. We had just ordered our drinks, so we decided to wait so we could have it. One of our party ordered the Fried Oysters with Tomatillo Aioli, Chorizo, Green Apple,with Barbecue Spices, and another ordered the Bone Marrow, with Smoked Pears, Bacon, Herbs and Grilled Bread. As it turned out the Pork Belly was ready sooner and it was absolutely delicious. The Fried Oysters were perhaps the best ever, and the Bone Marrow was guiltily yummy, all that fabulous fat, but there's not that much to clog your veins, so feel free to order it! The plating for all of these small plates was lovely.
For our main courses two of us had the special Salmon served with the skin over Roasted Vegetables, which got raves, and two of us ordered the Duck Breast with Scrapple, Brussels Sprouts, and Apple Butter. Our other choices were Fish Stew with Potato, Cabbage, Fennel and Kielbasa in a Fish Broth, Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato, Leek, Peppercorn Chutney, Lardo Vinaigrette, or Mussels in a Miso Broth, Shiso Leaves, Thai Chili, Ginger and Lime, and a vegetarian Polenta, Tapenade,Arugula, Blood Orange, Herbs, Goat Cheese Crema.
Why we weren't more adventuresome and tried more of the selections is pretty silly, but it does give us good reasons to return.
I spoke briefly with Brian Hardesty, the executive chef to thank him for the amazing food and his idea of having collaborative chefs as a team. As of this writing they include Sam Boettler, Brinn Coltrane and Chris Dimercurlo.
I heartily encourage you to go to this exciting addition to our city's excellent dining and drinking experiences.
1419 Carroll Street