The chicken, too, is served with those chipotle-Gouda grits. The kitchen is awfully proud of those grits, it seems. And they are good — but they are also symptomatic of what holds Kota back from being anything more than a pleasant but unmemorable restaurant. The better dishes dabble in strong flavors without committing. The habanero isn't fiery; the chipotle doesn't smolder; the espresso barely percolates.

Executive chef Jason Tilford hopes Kota will reach an audience far beyond Grand Center. See more photos from inside Kota Wood Fire Grill.
Executive chef Jason Tilford hopes Kota will reach an audience far beyond Grand Center. See more photos from inside Kota Wood Fire Grill.

Location Info

Map

Kota Wood Fire Grill

522 N. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63103

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: St. Louis - Grand Center

Details

Kota Wood Fire Grill
Ahi tuna tostadas...$9
Pork chop...$16
"Miami Mahi"...$17
522 North Grand Boulevard; 314-535-5577.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., noon-10 p.m. Sun.

Here, again, is the drawback to opening in Grand Center: You have a captive audience, and you don't want to alienate the majority of them, so you calibrate even your strongest flavors at safe levels. What, then, will draw diners back on those nights when the Fox is dark, the Sheldon silent and the only excitement belongs to the meter-enforcement officer, who's certain that given the choice of ordering dessert or pumping in a few quarters and then ordering dessert, you'll choose dessert?

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