#17: Benne's Farm Half Chicken at Five Bistro

The Benne's Farm half chicken at Five Bistro - Ian Froeb
Ian Froeb
The Benne's Farm half chicken at Five Bistro
When we say something "tastes like chicken," we mean, of course, that it tastes like nothing at all, so used are we to insipid supermarket birds. How sad. A good chicken properly cooked is a thing of sublime, artless beauty.

At Five Bistro, it represents all that is right with chef Anthony Devoti's restaurant.

The chicken, from Benne's Best Meat in St. Charles County, is seared in a pan and finished in the oven. The crisp skin is a gorgeous golden brown, and the meat, both white and dark, is perfectly succulent. The taste? Well, it actually does taste like chicken, with the gentle herbal note of thyme.

The preparation changes often. My dish featured Brussels sprouts, pork jowl, potato gnocchi and a pan jus. The pork jowl gave the chicken an extra hit of salt and fat, while the Brussels sprouts, their exteriors lightly caramelized, were the perfect bridge vegetable from late winter to early spring, a little bitter, a little sweet.

There's nothing especially fussy about this dish. Devoti and his crew know that with good ingredients, flash isn't needed, only patience and care. They -- and you -- will be rewarded.

Five Bistro
5100 Daggett Avenue

I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious. Please do not hesitate to share your own favorites via the comments thread.


#18: Dátiles rellenos at Modesto
#19: Hot-and-sour noodles at Joy Luck Buffet
#20: Lamb vindaloo at India Palace

#21: Channa masala at Raj's Rasoi
#22: The blueberry scone at La Dolce Via
#23: Gang kua ped yang at Addie's Thai House
#24: Bánh xèo at Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet
#25: Mojarra dorada at Garduño's Mexican Food
#26: "It" at Mammer Jammer
#27: Two eggs over-easy, bacon and hash browns at the Courtesy Diner
#28: Seafood at Farmhaus
#29: The "Edgar Allan Poe" at Dewey's Pizza
#30: The "Heart Stopping BLT" and a chocolate malt at Crown Candy Kitchen

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