The popularity of tapas in St. Louis seems to ebb and flow. Seems it's on the upswing again, with several restaurants either featuring tapas as their main focus or offering Spanish-influenced tapas-like dishes. Which is fine with us; what's mystifying is why its popularity ever fades: What could be better than gathering with friends, sharing small plates of creatively rendered morsels, accompanied by free-flowing wine? It's the art of tapeo
, the perfect sybaritic marriage of food, drink and conviviality. And Modesto, in the renovated Fair Mercantile building on the Hill, is the ideal place to practice that fine art. It's the most Spanish of all the Mediterranean-influenced eateries around town. Even the wines and cheeses are exclusively Spanish. Modesto's philosophy never falters: bold flavors, creative combinations and a lively atmosphere. You could order yourself a full entrée, but what's the fun in that when you have a table full of friends and a few pitchers of sangría?