Prepare to get your grub on at Downtown Restaurant Week 

If you haven't visited your favorite downtown restaurant lately, whether because of the economy, gas prices or sheer laziness — or if you're looking for something new to try — the time is nigh.

The fourth annual Downtown Restaurant Week will take place Monday, August 11, through Saturday, August 16. Participating restaurants will offer three-course meals for $25. In general, you choose one of three or four selections from each of three courses (appetizer, entrée, dessert).

(Full disclosure: Riverfront Times is a sponsor of Downtown Restaurant Week. I have no involvement with the event.)

Here are this year's participating restaurants: 400 Olive, An American Place, Anthony's, Asia, Burger Bar, Carmine's Steak House, Charlie Gitto's (downtown location), Clark Street Grill, the Drunken Fish, the Dubliner, F15teen, Harry's, House of Savoy, J.Buck's (downtown location), Jake's Steaks, Joseph's, Kitchen K, Lombardo's Trattoria, Lucas Park Grille, Mahogany Grill, Mike Shannon's Steaks & Seafood, Mosaic, Simply Fondue, Skybox Sports Grill and Top of the Riverfront.

For more information, and to view participating restaurants' prix-fixe menus, visit http://downtownrestaurantweek.net.

The August issue of Wine Spectator includes the magazine's annual Restaurant Awards, which honor outstanding wine lists. This year's winners number 4,129 restaurants worldwide. Though the award is prestigious, restaurants must enter their wine lists — at $250 — to be considered.

The awards are: (the basic) Award of Excellence, (the better) Best of Award of Excellence and (the best) Grand Award.

Among St. Louis restaurants, there are only a few changes from last year. Two new restaurants have been added: Charlie Gitto's on the Hill and Ruth's Chris Steak House in Clayton received Awards of Excellence. (Busch's Grove was also added, but it closed in May. Savor, which closed last month, is also included on the list.)

Local Award of Excellence winners also include Cardwell's at the Plaza, Eleven Eleven Mississippi, Fleming's, 400 Olive, Harvest, LoRusso's Cucina, Lucas Park Grille, Luciano's Trattoria, the Melting Pot, Mike Shannon's Steaks & Seafood, Morton's, Portabella, Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar, Tony's and Vin de Set.

Three St. Louis restaurants earned Best of Awards of Excellence: Annie Gunn's, Monarch and Truffles.

Are you opening a new restaurant? Know of a place that has closed? Something else for Ian to chew on? E-mail ian.froeb@riverfronttimes.com. And check for daily dining news at http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/gutcheck.

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