Best Restaurant to Die in the Past Year St. Louis 2003 - Hungry Buddha
How highly were hopes pegged on this storefront stir-fry establishment. Blake Brokaw's lunch-only, vegan-friendly restaurant, opened in the winter of 2000 adjacent to Tangerine (Brokaw's loungelike bar and restaurant that pretty much gave birth to Wash. Ave. nightlife), was supposed to cast a crucial spotlight on downtown's daytime potential. It also introduced the metro area to a whole new kind of dining experience, as customers piled high their oversized soup bowls with raw bok choy, cashews, Japanese eggplant, shiitake mushrooms and other exotic-leaning ingredients, then handed them over to the kitchen, where they were steeped in broth (and, for carnivores, complemented with meat). It was a see-and-be-seen spot for downtown movers and shakers, until it suddenly shuttered its doors this winter. What with the Washington Avenue construction, not enough foot traffic was the rumored problem. Brokaw, for his part, has been tight-lipped -- but he recently debuted the Buddha's replacement, Infierno, serving Mexican food at the same location.