St. Louis Bounty

Is An American Place worthy of its buzz? In a word: absolutely.

But there's small, and then there's small. Forget the stereotype of the all-you-can-eat Midwesterner in search of mammoth slabs of food. It's just that when you order, say, a lobster martini appetizer -- Maine lobster salad served in a martini glass, drizzled with a dressing of lemongrass and sake that's poured from a martini shaker -- you want to see lobster, not go foraging through tufts of microgreens to find it. You want to be able to enjoy a few bites of your course, let your dining mates try a bit as well, and maybe even relish one more mouthful before surrendering your cleaned plate to the attentive (but unobtrusive) server. Likewise, when the "pork and beans" appetizer adorably pairs a quartet of unsmoked bacon stubs with a teeny-weeny cast iron skilletful of baked butterscotch beans, sweet onion purée and sweet potato sauce -- let's just say sometimes more is, well, more.

The wine list embodies more-is-more. It's about 150 selections strong and all-American, almost exclusively from California. It's also less intimidating than you might imagine, neither boutiquey nor maundering, just straightforward and chockablock with solid, workhorse labels, from Iron Horse to Stag's Leap to Trefethen, Rombauer, etc. Prices are relatively merciful, with a good number of bottles priced under $50.

Desserts are both fun and refined, steering clear of chocolate-kamikaze overkill. Witness the root beer float, a creamy, fizzy, laughing-gas glass of perfection complemented by a gorgeous sugar doughnut, or the pleasing-yet-subdued apple crêpe with crème anglaise, or the trio of homemade ice creams or raw-fruit sorbets served alongside sweet little homemade cookies.

Larry Forgione raises the bar for local culinary 
Jennifer Silverberg
Larry Forgione raises the bar for local culinary excellence.

Location Info


An American Place-Indigo Lounge

822 Washington Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63101

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: St. Louis - Washington Avenue


Lobster martini $12.50
Mignon of elk $28.50
Pappardelle with veal ragout (entrée) $17.50
Root beer float $7.50

314-418-5800. Hours: 5-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 5-11 p.m. Fri.- Sat.

800 Washington Avenue (in the Renaissance Grand)

Participating in An American Place's cheese course is ritualistic, a kind of cheese worship. Forgione procures his array of triple creams, double creams, blues and Camemberts from near (Goatsbeard Farm, available at the Clayton and Maplewood farmer's markets) and far (New York's Old Chatham Sheepherding Company and California's Cowgirl Creamery, two of the best in the nation). Individually or combined, they taste like the earth and the sea, the moon and the stars, like heaven and earth.

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