Readers' Choice: Tony's and Trattoria Marcella (tie)
It's rare to find homemade gnocchi in St. Louis. Rarer to find homemade spinach gnocchi. But both can be found on the Hill at the delectable Lorenzo's Trattoria. Small, pillowy and, believe it or not, light, Lorenzo's gnocchi is...perfect. This pasta also happens to be one of owner Lawrence Fuse Jr.'s two favorite menu items. Which is a good thing, in that it requires a loving three hours to prepare (osso buco, braised veal shanks, is Fuse's other favorite; it takes five hours to make). Fuse opened Lorenzo's in October 1999 when he was just 23. Though he no longer mans the stoves, he continues to fuss over details at the restaurant daily and nightly. His chefs focus on northern Italian cuisine, which is largely cream- and butter-based, as in Fuse's grandmother's native Cuggiono. As it should, the menu changes seasonally at Lorenzo's; during the warm months one can take lunch or dinner on the sidewalk (just like in Italy). The wine list always offers surprises. "I taste wine every day," says Fuse. "We change the list every week. There's millions of wines out there, and if we taste some that are good, they got to go on the list." Amen to that!