Destination: Big Sky Cafe (47 South Old Orchard Avenue; 314-962-5757)
Neighborhood: Webster Groves
Cuisine: "Revitalized American Comforts"
Overview: Specializing in locally sourced and naturally raised produce, Big Sky Cafe is a vegetarian favorite. As the sister restaurant to Remy's (222 South Bemiston Avenue, Clayton; 314-726-5757), Big Sky Cafe also has many items on its menu that can be made vegetarian or gluten-free. On the back of the menu, the restaurant lists the Missouri and Illinois farms it works with, as well as all its efforts towards creating a sustainable restaurant.
Veggie Highlights: Not your typical lasagna, Big Sky Cafe's version ($8.90) is vegetables -- zucchini, squash, heirloom tomato, eggplant and Ozark Forest mushrooms -- layered on top of each other, topped with a thick layer of cheese and only separated by ricotta cheese, sitting in a bed of tomato sauce with a nice spicy zing to it. There were no actual layers of pasta to be found in Big Sky's lasagna -- a gluten-free vegetarian's delight!
Two other exceptional dishes on Big Sky's menu are the Ozark Forest mushroom bruschetta ($8.90), and the marinated mushroom and lentil ragout with goat cheese, on a smoked gouda polenta ($8.90).
The Veggielante has had it up to here with people bitching that St. Louis restaurants are vegetarian unfriendly. Sure, we'd like to see more restaurants offering more meatless dishes, but there are excellent choices out there if you take the trouble to look for them. We're not here to proselytize about greening up your diet. Our only motive is to spread the word about places where you can order good grub that ain't got no meat. To enhance your reading experience, we've settled on a handful of criteria we'll use to suss out a restaurant's vegetarian friendliness.
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