Dolce' aims high -- but does it hit Ian's sweet spot?

Appearance ain't everything at this downtown restaurant/club.

At any rate, that poor lobster certainly fared better than the one that gave its life for a cup of thin, foul lobster bisque. Other appetizers included the hoisin-roasted pork ribs, which were quite tasty — slow roasted and then grilled to order, resulting in tender meat and a crisp skin. Two medium-size crab cakes were sweetly tasty, if a little mayonnaise-heavy. They were served with basil aïoli and tomato concassé, which didn't do much for the crab cakes (except maybe nudge them closer to Italian cuisine).

Carpaccio was properly paper-thin and a brilliant red. It came heaped with mesclun greens, dusted with capers and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and drizzled with white truffle oil and mustard. If that sounds like overkill, it was; there was too much going on here. (I have no idea when greens became a carpaccio standard.) But the carpaccio on its own was so richly flavored that I didn't mind.

Fittingly, given its name, Dolce' shone brightest at dessert. Sicilian cheesecake was much lighter than traditional "New York" cheesecake — our waiter described the texture as "fluffy," and I can't think of a better term — and had the mildly sweet flavor of ricotta cheese. Bread pudding with apples and raisins was excellent, the soft, hot bread all but melting into a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Only vanilla crème brûlée proved a flop, its surface torched a few seconds too long so that the burnt sugar imparted an unpleasantly bitter note.

Eye candy: Dolce' is sleekly chic — but the food doesn't always impress.
Jennifer Silverberg
Eye candy: Dolce' is sleekly chic — but the food doesn't always impress.

Location Info

Map

Dolche Bistro & Lounge

200 N. Broadway
St Louis, MO 63102-2730

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Downtown

Details

Dolce'
200 North Broadway; 314-621-0407. Hours: Lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Fri., Dinner 5-10 p.m. Wed.-Sat. (Lounge open till 3 a.m. Thu.- Sat.)

Carpaccio $10
Filet Gorgonzola $23
Osso buco $28
Cheesecake $6

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At 10 p.m. Dolce' begins its transition from restaurant to nightclub, culminating in the removal of the dinner tables. (The restaurant doesn't accept reservations past 8 p.m., although during one of my visits late walk-ins were seated.) Of course, you could decide to linger at the bar or move upstairs to the lounge. The eye candy's worth the time investment, a parade of designer outfits and haircuts that look like a million bucks — at least until the lights go up. Dolce'"Asian Ribs"$9 Have a suggestion for a restaurant the Riverfront Times should review? E-mail ian.froeb@riverfronttimes.com.

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