Selecting Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis 2011 was no picnic. Choosing the winner meant several worthy candidates would go unmentioned -- until now. In this Gut Check series, we are chewing our way through notable runners up in a number of categories. To see hundreds more winners and finalists and download the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis mobile app, visit our Best of St. Louis homepage.
Yeah, St. Louis isn't the first city that comes to mind when you think of seafood. Nothing's going to change that, save a comet that wipes out everything east of the Mississippi. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy some good seafood in town. Here are the four finalists and the winner for the category "Best Seafood Restaurant."
(Oh -- and to forestall at least some of your comments: Sushi restaurants have their own category to be posted very soon.)
Farmhaus (3257 Ivanhoe Avenue; 314-647-3800)
Farmhaus isn't a seafood restaurant, per se, but owner Kevin Willmann might very well be the best seafood chef in town -- if he's not in the restaurant when you're there, he's likely on a fishing trip -- and his escolar poached in Chaumette traminette, dill and butter might be the best seafood dish, period. Specific dishes change with the day's catch, but look for mahi mahi, triggerfish and snapper among the delights here.
Fin Japanese Cuisine (1682 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield; 636-536-4228)
Yes, you can order sushi at this underrated west county spot, but give the other seafood options a try and you'll be more than pleasantly surprised. Standout dishes include tako yaki (battered and deep-fried pieces of octopus) and gindara miso, a beautiful piece of tender black cod accented with miso. The seafood hot pot brings salmon, squid, scallops and shrimp in a bright, spicy broth with hints of lime and lemongrass.
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