Meaty in St. Louis

Of all the beef preparations, the Tellicherry tenderloin was the clear standout. Tellicherries are not cherries but peppercorns from India that are considered some of the world's finest. But mixed with pink peppercorns to encrust a tenderloin that's finished off with a Cognac-amplified Madeira sauce, they may as well be maraschinos, so sweet is the meat rendered. Still, this dish was by far Mihalis' most interesting entrée, the pepper's searing flavor cutting through the sweetness on every bite.

The best salad on the menu also makes use of beef tenderloin. The Mihalis Harvested Salad beds slices of tenderloin (grilled to order) upon simple field greens and delicious roasted beets, drizzled with a wild mushroom vinaigrette. A winner in every respect.

At this chophouse, the chops come with your choice of side dish. (Whoever came up with the steak-joint scam of making diners pay for their side dishes à la carte ought to be drawn, quartered and dry-aged.) A sweet potato, served in its jacket, was creamy and dreamy, almost as if it had been puréed. You could practically taste the iron and other nutritious elements steaming out of the vibrant sautéed spinach. The flash-fried spinach, on the other hand, was as ridiculous as that gimmicky preparation can possibly be. Deployed as a crisp, wafer-thin garnish, fried spinach can work. But a whole bowl of it is like eating cornflakes, without any milk. Asparagus was somewhat of another downer. The tops were fine, but too much pale, stringy bottom had been left on the stalks, rendering them as inedible as a splintered Popsicle stick.

Top dollar: Mihalis brings old-school elegance to its stretch of McCausland.
Jennifer Silverberg
Top dollar: Mihalis brings old-school elegance to its stretch of McCausland.

Location Info

Map

Mihalis Chophouse & Onyx Bar

1603 McCausland Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63117

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Richmond Heights

Details

Mihalis Chophouse and Onyx Bar
1603 McCausland Avenue; 314-333-3301. Hours: 5-11 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 5 p.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat., 5-11 p.m. Sun

Bouillabaisse $7.95
Mihalis Harvested Salad $10.95
Tellicherry beef tenderloin $23.95
Rack of lamb $29.95

The desserts at Mihalis reminded me of my not-so-auspicious entrance: a little awkward. Mocha brûlée, served in a cute cappuccino cup, looked and sounded good but was brought down a peg by a consistency reminiscent of cake frosting. "Chocolate spanakopita" is good, though not as good as the one they make at Momos in U. City, much as a "cinnamon fritter" would be welcomed by anyone who considers finishing off a pricey meal with what amounts to a state-fair funnel cake.

Which in turn brings us to the Eternal Steakhouse Conundrum: whether a hit-or-miss meal is worth the surefire financial outlay. I'll say this for Mihalis: The seductive environs (request a booth!), along with the amber-hued lighting, guarantee that you'll have fun and look good — even if your wallet takes a hit.

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