Best Italian Restaurant (Not Cheap) - 2010
There is no Italian dish in St. Louis any better than the egg raviolo at Acero. There is no dish any less complex: a single raviolo surrounding the deep orange yolk of a farm-fresh egg. This simplicity, this beauty, goes a long way in explaining why, three years after it opened, Acero remains unique among the area's many (so very many) Italian restaurants. Owner Jim Fiala wants to take us beyond red sauce and white sauce, gloppy cheese and dried pasta no different from the Barilla we boil at home. That means food as disarmingly simple as the egg raviolo or anchovies with the holy combination of tomato, basil, olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano or something as hearty as porchetta (a pig, boned and roasted). That means authentic salumi and cheese and a thoughtful wine list that shows the wide range of Italian wines. That means, above all else, the rare Italian restaurant that doesn't need the dreaded hyphen: St. Louis-Italian or Italian-American. It is, gloriously, Italian.