St. Louis' neighborhoods are gems in their own right: full of history, great people and, as far as Gut Check is concerned, fantastic food. Each week we'll take you into a specific neighborhood and point you in the direction of the best places to grab some bites.
Cruise west along Olive Boulevard from North & South Road to Lindbergh Boulevard and you might be lulled to sleep by the strip-mall tedium, but if you take the trouble to look around, you'll see the vastest array of ethnic eateries in all of St. Louis County, all in a single four-mile stretch. The route cuts a swath through University City's Asian neighborhood, with Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and Chinese (including dim sum -- yum!) restaurants galore, not to mention East Asian grocers large and small. But you'll also find everything from pizza to barbecue to Jamaican, Mexican and Italian establishments, not to mention an honest-to-goodness American diner. In other words: Move over, South Grand!
See also: - South Grand: An Updated Guide to Restaurants on South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis - Benton Park: An Updated Guide to Restaurants in the Benton Park Neighborhood of St. Louis - The Hill: An Updated Guide to Restaurants in St. Louis' Iconic Italian Neighborhood
Wei Hong Seafood (7740 Olive Boulevard; 314-726-0363) On the list of things to do before you die: dim sum, Peking duck. At Wei Hong you can do both in splendid style. Housed smack-dab in the middle of U. City's Chinatown in the former Fine Arts movie house, Wei Hong features an opulent dining room that looks like an Oriental nightclub set in a 1940s musical. Dim sum is served in traditional fashion: on little saucers and in bamboo steam baskets wheeled around the room on rolling trays. The duck -- whether served Peking-style or simply roasted -- is like something out of a gastronomic fever dream. It's a rapturous experience.
See also: - "Duckgasm": RFT review of Wei Hong (2005)
Kim Son Vietnamese Bistro (8080 Olive Boulevard; 314-432-8388) There's a lot to grab your attention at Kim Son Vietnamese Bistro -- brightly painted walls, flat-screen TV sets, a menu with 170 choices -- so focus on the tanks along the dining room's back wall. The crabs, lobsters and fish swimming there are the house speciality. Try cua rang me, a whole Dungeness crab in a sweet-tart tamarind sauce studded with fiery chiles; or one of four different lobster preparations. You'll also find the standard array of such popular Vietnamese dishes as pho, bun (various meats served over vermicelli) and spring rolls. More adventurous diners may want to try what the menu terms "Classic but Unique Dishes" -- among them quail, Cornish hen and frog legs.
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