Stellina Pasta Café is perfectly delicious from start to finish.

(Now give us a bite of your sandwich.)

There are six sandwiches on the menu, including the "South Side Smoke." As regular readers know, I must order anything that uses two (or more) pork products. The "Hog Wild" offers shaved ham and bacon as well as thin, crisp slices of Granny Smith apple, white cheddar and a bright, somewhat spicy mustard grilled panini-style. Although the ham made up the bulk of the sandwich, I was taken with the interplay in flavors and textures between the bacon, apple slices and mustard. The "il Capo" includes both prosciutto and coppa. However, the substantial helping of garlicky roast beef, accented by fontina cheese and a little tapenade, was the dominant flavor here.

Sandwiches come with chips, homemade potato salad or (during my visits) a salad of mandarin oranges and chilled steamed broccoli lightly dressed with sesame oil. I liked this last salad very much, and I also enjoyed the house salad, which offered a few welcome variations from your usual, greens-heavy house salad: garbanzo beans, beets, very good feta cheese and sunflower seeds.

From Lisa Tochtrop's selection of desserts, I tried the chocolate-peanut butter bombe, a decadent scoop of Bavarian chocolate mousse with peanut butter served atop devil's food cake, all of it coated with a rich chocolate ganache.

Power couple: Lisa and Jamey Tochtrop make to-die-for pastas, sandwiches and desserts.
Jennifer Silverberg
Power couple: Lisa and Jamey Tochtrop make to-die-for pastas, sandwiches and desserts.

Location Info

Map

Stellina

3342 Watson Road
St. Louis, MO 63139

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: St. Louis - South City

Details

Stellina Pasta Café
3342 Watson Road, 314-256-1600. Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. (Closed Sun.)

House salad $5.50
"South Side Smoke" $7.95
Pasta Varies
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bombe $6

Lisa tells me that Stellina Pasta Café will soon institute table service. The restaurant also just received its liquor license, and she envisions a small list, ideally featuring at least one Missouri and one organic wine, as well as a few beers. Outdoor seating is also on the way, and a spring evening spent in this quiet neighborhood, sipping wine and enjoying fresh pasta, promises to be time well spent.

Should you happen to order the South Side Smoke, be on guard. You're more vulnerable outside. If anyone walking past suddenly veers toward your table, calmly meet his wide-eyed stare and say, firmly, "No."

I'll back away slowly, my hands where you can see them.

Have a suggestion for a restaurant the Riverfront Times should review? E-mail ian.froeb@riverfronttimes.com.

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