When chef John O’Brien and his wife, Cathy, opened Three Flags Tavern, they intended to create a simple neighborhood spot. What they ended up with could possibly be the best new restaurant of 2014. You may not have heard O’Brien’s name before (though he came up in some of the city’s finest kitchens — Balaban’s, King Louie’s, the Ritz-Carlton, the Saint Louis Club and, most recently, Table Three in Wildwood), but that’s about to change and fast.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 2-5 p.m. (limited menu) and 5-10 p.m. Tues.-Sat. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Price: $; $$
Veteran chef John O’Brien and his wife Cathy opened Three Flags Tavern with the humble goal of creating a nice neighborhood spot. What they ended up with is one of the city’s best restaurants. Drawing on St. Louis’ rich history, the tavern serves a mix of Spanish, French and American fare that is impeccably executed but unfussy. Smaller plates, such as posole with braised pork shank, fried Manchego cheese and lobster beignets make for delectable starters, while a pork mixed grill and Marcona almond-topped trout are hearty entrees. Three Flags fried chicken is some of the best in town, and the brisket burger is simply magnificent (ask for the Delice de Bourgogne cheese on top). Dine in the cozy dining room, up at the bar, or on the huge, tree-covered patio -- and by all means treat yourself to a craft cocktail or local beer. Just prepare to be dazzled.