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Restaurant Mon Aug 04 2008

Road Trip Worthy

This past weekend while visiting St. Louis for a wedding, my husband and I had the pleasure of dining at Niche--a small, hip restaurant in the Benton Park neighborhood. It also happens to be the home of Gerard Craft, one of Food & Wine magazine's best new chefs of 2008. After reading about Craft and his restaurant a few months ago, I made a reservation. I'm glad I did.

While the whole experience was excellent, there were a few standouts to mention. My husband and I both ordered from the Prix-Fixe menu, which was only $35--an excellent price, especially on a Friday night. The options for the Prix-Fixe included 2 appetizers (mixed greens salad or roasted eggplant soup), 2 main courses (rib eye steak "medallions" or vegetable risotto) and 2 desserts (liquid chocolate cake or greek yogurt pudding).

In addition to the Prix-Fixe, we also ordered a starter of Pappardelle Pasta--homemade noodles tossed with smoked shredded pork, mascarpone, pears and lemon (click through for a version of the recipe as posted in Food & Wine). Each flavor stood out on its own, but when combined together created something that was insanely delicious. I would have licked the plate had I not been in public.

We each ordered the steak as part of the Prix-Fixe. The end cut of the rib eye was perfectly cooked, cut into slices and topped with a soy caramel sauce. It was served with a small arugula salad and whipped rosemary potatoes which my husband (the self-proclaimed "mashed potato expert") deemed the best he'd ever had.

Another menu item to mention was the Greek Yogurt Pudding dessert, which my husband got as part of the Prix-Fixe. It consisted of homemade Greek Yogurt (a mix of whole and goat milk, vanilla, and other flavorings) which was topped with a thick rhubarb jam and two pistachio shortbread cookies.

If your journeys ever send you down I-55 to visit our friends to the south, be sure to make a reservation at Niche. And while you're there, be sure to say hi to chef Craft--who is frequently seen serving items to restaurant patrons himself. A cool place with great character and even greater food makes Niche in St. Louis worth the trip.

1831 Sidney St.
St. Louis, MO 63104

Bob Skilnik / August 7, 2008 3:06 PM

I was in Saint Louis last month after a 5 year absence. Wow! What a difference.

My wife and I enjoyed a wonderful meal in the Benton Park area, the restaurant name already forgotten. I was impressed, as much with the restaurant and meal as I was with Saint Louis.

Their mayor has been in office for about 6 years now and he's managed to bring money and resultant businesses into the city.

I hope to be invited back next year; it was that nice.

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