Let Them Eat Y2Cake

Dining out at the end of the millennium

And somewhat lost in the shuffle -- although a similar downgrade by the Mobil Guide made the front page of the local daily newspaper five years ago -- was the disturbing news that Tony's had been downgraded from five to four diamonds by AAA, leaving St. Louis and the state of Missouri without a single five-diamond restaurant. Couple this with the Zagat Guide's cancellations -- first of a St. Louis listing on its Web page and then of any St. Louis print guide whatsoever -- and I'm distressed at what appears to be a continuing marginalization of St. Louis' restaurant reputation in the eyes of the rest of America.

In the grand scheme of things, I doubt that many people make tourism or relocation decisions on the basis of the number of five-star or five-diamond restaurants in town. In addition, given Tony's reputation for consistency, you really have to wonder what happened between 1999 and 2000 to cause the downgrade.

Nonetheless, I think the bigger issue here is the continuing inability of anyone else to rise to the level that Tony's has long held. Part of the problem is the preferred style of restaurant in St. Louis -- you have places like Harvest, Annie Gunn's and the Crossing that offer some really superior food but don't have the multiple-waiter, formal-attire, grand-dining-room approach that seems to be de rigueur to earn five stars or five diamonds. But another problem is what I perceive as a lack of self-promotion by local restaurants of all types and prices. Granted, we're just a little ol' alternative weekly, but this column is also one of the few outlets in town for restaurant news, and it's hit-or-miss whether restaurants send us announcements of their grand openings, or changes of chefs, or new menus, or whatever. And if they're not sending them to the local papers, I bet they're not sending them to Gourmet (which listed only Tony's as a St. Louis choice among its "America's Top Restaurants" this year), Saveur, Bon Appétit or any of the other national mags.

Truffles drove our erstwhile colleague Jill Posey-Smith into "a wave of gushing hyperbole."
Truffles drove our erstwhile colleague Jill Posey-Smith into "a wave of gushing hyperbole."

Location Info


Eau Bistro

212 S. Kingshighway Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63108

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: St. Louis - Central West End

Still, as always, the new year -- and the new millennium, which, mathematically, starts for real on Sunday at midnight -- holds some interesting promise, because many of the new restaurants listed above have opened just within the past few weeks, and several more (including Zoe Houk's new place and a fish restaurant on the Landing) are scheduled for early 2001. We look forward to continuing our culinary odyssey.

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