Riverbend Restaurant & Bar (701 Utah Street; 314-664-8443)
is a corner restaurant and bar serving Creole cuisine just outside the Anheuser-Busch campus in Soulard. The red beans and rice are available only on Mondays, according to the menu, but on the not-Monday when I dined there, my server said they were a special. Interpreting this as a sign, I ordered them.
The sauce is very thick, its flavor a lovely balance of its traditional components: onion, celery, a ham hock or some other stock-friendly piece of pork. As is usual, the sauce has a whisper of heat. (If you want, both Tabasco and Crystal hot sauces are available.) The beans are firm in texture, and the smoked sausage adds brightness, savor and spice.
An added reason to love this dish: It costs $7.95 and, unless you're starving or feeding a parasite as well as yourself, can be stretched over two meals.