Twice Is Nice

Two restaurants in one storefront means double the food fun

Like the crab cakes and the salmon at Mira, Roxane's hearty spinach-and-artichoke dip reinvigorates an overplayed product. Loaded with big chunks of marinated artichoke hearts, broiled with Parmesan and finished off with a warm breadcrumb crust, it's got a pungent, roasted essence and is nicely complemented by plenty of tall, handsome lavosh stalks. That detour into bar food is matched by a pit stop in the Italian countryside, in the form of a vertically stacked Caprese salad that pairs rich house-made mozzarella with sunny red tomatoes and, disappointingly, a thin drizzle of basil "essence" rather than whole leaves. There's also a foray into, of all things, German pizzamaking: a Flammekuche pizzetta, rustically and robustly topped with bacon, onion, Gruyère and crème fraîche.

On both sides of this house divided lie a faltering dish or two. A bowl of sweet and spicy Thai calamari and rock shrimp, which Johnson cites as a top seller, is dragged way down by uninteresting, breaded pieces of seafood and a chile-garlic sauce that tastes as blunt and off-putting as the duck sauce that comes with your carry-out chop suey. Speaking of duck, Mira's Muscovy duck breast was such a disaster on one visit that I can only hope it owed to an off night in the kitchen. Ordered as the waiter suggested, medium-rare, it was served overdone but with its layer of fat intact beneath the skin, which tasted so awfully salty that the whole thing seemed like some caricature of medieval cured meat.

Mira: As you know, Mike Johnson owns Cyrano's, which is famous for its desserts. Mike wanted to import a little of Cyrano's presence, which is why most of my desserts come from there. Roxane's do, too.

Ooh la la! Roxane is one half of a fabulous new dining venture.
Jennifer Silverberg
Ooh la la! Roxane is one half of a fabulous new dining venture.

Location Info

Map

Roxane

12 N. Meramec Ave.
Clayton, MO 63105

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Clayton

Details

Mira
12 North Meramec Avenue, Clayton. Phone: 314 -721-6472. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 5-11 p.m. Sat., 5-10 p.m. Sun.

Crab cakes $8.95
Asparagus and goat cheese spring roll $7.95
Duck breast $21.95 Roxane
12 North Meramec Avenue, Clayton. Phone: 314 -721-7700. Hours: 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Mon.- Fri., 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Sat.-Sun.

Salade niçoise $8.95
Pizzas $9.50
Cleopatra $8.95

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Though Roxane's full menu is available until around midnight seven days a week, Johnson says the witching-hour crowd is in it strictly for the sweet stuff. So many dessert options are there at Roxane, they're categorized under two distinct headings: eight "Continental Pastries" (seven of which comprise Mira's entire dessert list), and five "Desserts," including the aforementioned fondue for two, plus three flambés à deux: cherries jubilee, bananas Foster and strawberries Cyrano's. I have yet to find the true sweet spot among that baker's dozen of treats, though I'm sure it's there to be found. A bowl of roasted summer fruits sprinkled with toasted almonds, misfiled with the pastries, cries out for a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The Cleopatra — vanilla ice cream topped with a huge cap of whipped cream, a few scraps of milk chocolate and not nearly enough slices of banana and strawberry — made me wonder why it's become famous at Cyrano's. But I instantly warmed up to Roxane's chocolate chip cookies, and especially to their nonsensical accompaniment: mini grape-soda floats served in shot glasses with mini straws — perfect for toasting Mike Johnson's unflappable sense of fun.

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