The Gut Check One Hundred is our accounting of the 100 dishes in St. Louis that you must eat right now. These are the best dishes at the newest restaurants and the newest dishes at the best restaurants. These are the 100 dishes that define St. Louis dining in 2013. Our list culminates this fall when the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis 2013 names the "Best Dish" of the year.
Instead of "New Asian" nonsense, how about we celebrate a truly new (to St. Louis) Asian dish -- or two dishes, though the menu at the northern Thai restaurant Fork & Stix (549 Rosedale Avenue; 314-863-5572) suggests pairing the two appetizers, and together they make for a terrific combo and stand-alone meal.
(Regular readers will note that Fork & Stix is the second restaurant to land multiple dishes on this list, joining Cleveland-Heath.)
Sai oua is grilled pork sausage with a powerful lemongrass note. It's delicious by itself, but adding naam prik nuum takes it to another level entirely. Naam prik nuum is a coarse sauce of roasted green chiles with garlic, cilantro and shallots. It's brightly flavored and -- fair warning -- devilishly hot and the perfect accent to the earthier pork.
Vegetarians among you: Do not fret. You don't need to order the sai oua to enjoy the naam prik nuum. An order of the sauce comes with steamed vegetables; add a side of sticky rice for a nominal cost, and you have a complete appetizer or small meal. And don't hesitate to ask the Fork & Stix staff for further guidance. In my experience, they are more than willing to discuss their dishes and how you might best enjoy it.
Is there a dish that you think belongs among the Gut Check One Hundred 2013? Let us know!
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