Eh ~scape

The Central West End's newest upscale eatery has Ian looking for the exit door.

Pan-roasted red snapper with a tomato-caper salsa and a celery-root purée was a workmanlike dish, a decent piece of fish somewhat dressed up but not especially noteworthy. A couple of bites in, any charm was gone.

And then there was the short rib ravioli. There were five of them — only five for $18.95, though this turned out to be a blessing in disguise — each an identical disc maybe three inches in diameter, as if formed with a mold. They resembled nothing so much as grossly enlarged human nipples. The short rib meat inside each was chopped very fine and seasoned so that it tasted like...Manwich.

Yes, that Manwich. The canned meat product.

Drinking's one way to experience ~scape.
Jennifer Silverberg
Drinking's one way to experience ~scape.

Location Info

Map

Scape American Bistro

48 Maryland Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63108

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: St. Louis - Central West End

Details

~scape Fried olives...$7.95
Short rib ravioli...$18.95
Pork chop...$25.95
Filet mignon...$37.95
48 Maryland Plaza; 314-361-7227. Hours: Lunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Dinner 4-10 p.m. Sun.-Wed., 4-11 p.m. Thu.-Sat. Brunch 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.

There were some sage leaves scattered over the plate, and two shards of Parmigiano-Reggiano that had been slightly heated, like the cheese in a grilled-cheese sandwich when you turn it for the first time, but mainly this dish was grossly enlarged Manwich nipples.

The only dessert I tried was the chocolate pâté, a rather straightforward presentation of Venezuelan chocolate, caramel sauce with Grand Marnier and insipid, out-of-season strawberries. I might have tried more, but several of the desserts are meant to be shared with — I don't know — everyone you've ever met: Five ice-cream cones filled with gelato or a slice of six-layer carrot cake bigger than a prime rib.

The wine list features bottles priced from the low $20s to $500. Few of the affordable selections stand out, and the brief by-the-glass selection is shameful. Supermarket favorite Blackstone merlot for $9!

There are plenty of bad restaurants. Relatively speaking, ~scape is better than a lot of them. But I can't remember a restaurant being this out of whack when you apply the cost-benefit analysis: Greatly overpriced dishes proffered as if we St. Louisans should get down on our knees and thank the great big Chicago restaurant conglomerate for deigning to come here. My favorite touch: Only two beers are on tap, Bud Light and Amber Bock. Because, of course, we St. Louisans wouldn't want to drink anything else.

That, my friends, ~sucks.

Have a suggestion for a restaurant the Riverfront Times should review? E-mail ian.froeb@riverfronttimes.com. For more about food and St. Louis restaurants, visit Gut Check: blogs.riverfronttimes.com/gutcheck.

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