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Helmed by executive chef Brian Hardesty of Terrene and Guerrilla Street Food fame, Element serves up hearty rustic American food in a beautifully restored historic brick building in Lafayette Square. The two-story, warmly rich space is filled with glass and wood and features an open kitchen in the lower level restaurant area so that every table feels like a chef’s table. Four chefs actually share the kitchen there, each one bringing their own flavor to the collaborative concept. The top floor offers small plates and a gorgeous full bar in an urban chic lounge area. Both levels offer outdoor seating with stunning views of downtown St. Louis. Hardesty and his team use local ingredients with attention to the flavors of the season. Notable dishes include a pork-belly small plate - so creamy it is almost spreadable - served with tangy blue cheese mousse, plums, French prunes and walnuts. The short-rib large plate is equally decadent, the meat falling apart with the slightest prodding of a fork. Served with a rich sweet potato ale, rutabaga and Swiss chard, the short ribs are tailor-made for a chilly day. The wine list is small but thoughtful, the beer list features local craft selections and the bartenders are up to the challenge of customizing a craft cocktail based on a mood.