Best New Restaurant - 2000
Readers' Choice: Lorenzo's Trattoria
It certainly took a lot of Gaul to open up a restaurant like this in the Central West End. If you're not privileged enough to pop over to France on a regular basis, at least now you can stroll the Avenue Laclede whenever you feel like it and experience many of the same sights, sounds and smells you'd find a couple thousand miles away. Not only is Chez Leon a perfect architectural emulation of something off a side street in Paris, it also brings together the culinary dream team of Eddie Neill (of Café Provençal and Eddie's Steak and Chop), chef Claude Courtoisier and Leon Bierbaum, whose local career has spanned everything from waiter at the Cheshire Inn to one of the top wine experts in town at Cheshire Cellars and 9-0-5 to concierge at the Majestic Hotel. Steak frites, choucroute, pâtés, great wines, tartes, even an authentic bouillabaisse now and then -- all the classics of the sidewalks of Paris and many other parts of France are now available without the jet lag.