A couple of dishes didn't make sense, period. One brought acorn-squash gnocchi in a balsamic-sage cream sauce. The gnocchi themselves seemed to disintegrate as soon as they reached my mouth, imparting no squash flavor whatsoever, and the sauce had an unpleasant taste, funky and metallic. The "Asian Lacquered Duck Breast" was given a generic Asian treatment, with a soy-molasses glaze and, on the side, a ginger-pear sauce. You would think that this would join the roster of too-sweet dishes, but the flavors were indistinct, save for what appeared to be a chile sauce (unlisted on the menu) that gave it a hint of spice.

Oh, and also, as presented, the duck dish looked like a human vulva.

No, really: The sliced duck breast was arranged in an oval at the center of the plate. On either side three streaks of sauce followed the curve of the oval, the outer streaks longer than the innermost. At the head of the oval, bok choy had been artfully folded into the shape of a small flower bud.

Kind of blue: Szechuan peppercorn-crusted filet of beef at Ice Kitchen.
Stew Smith
Kind of blue: Szechuan peppercorn-crusted filet of beef at Ice Kitchen.

Location Info

Map

Ice Kitchen

I-270 and Page Ave.
Maryland Heights, MO 63146

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Maryland Heights

Details

Ice Kitchen
Albóndigas...$6
Duck breast...$13.25
Sea bass...$15
302 Westport Plaza, Maryland Heights; 314-542-2000.
Hours: Lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Dinner 3 p.m.-midnight Mon.-Fri., 5 p.m.-midnight Sat.-Sun. (Bar open till 1:30 a.m. daily)

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Am I perverted? Undoubtedly. But along with "tapas" and vodka martinis, Ice Kitchen sells a certain empty sex appeal. On one visit, when I was dining alone, the server, a woman, asked if I'd like "to start with a ménage à trois or something." She referred, I learned after I read the wine list, to Ménage à Trois wine. But come on, really? Of all the wines on the list, that's what you lead with?

To the server's credit, she asked the question by rote. And, really, it's all of a piece. Ice Kitchen isn't a restaurant so much as a concept. In fact, the menu tells you to check out Munsok So's other "concepts." What is that concept? I don't know, but it's certainly not tapas — except that, as at a true tapas bar, you'll want to try only a few small bites, and then move on.

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