Ted Kilgore, the godfather of St. Louis mixology, has been pushing us out of our vodka tonic comfort zones since the days of the now-closed Monarch in Maplewood. With Planter's House (1000 Mississippi Avenue; 314-696-6203), he finally has a place to call his own.
This week, I visit Planter's House to see if the food lives up to the hype of the bar program. Here is a sneak preview of my thoughts -- the full review will be online tomorrow and in this week's issue.
Ted Kilgore stood behind the vintage wooden bar, donning an electric blue shirt, gray tweed vest and his signature thick-rimmed black glasses. An array of elixirs lined the shelves behind him, and a side table of fresh herbs stood to his right. With arms raised overhead, he shook two metal cocktail shakers with such vigor it's a wonder he doesn't need Tommy John surgery. For the spectators who packed Planter's House hoping to catch a glimpse of the master at work, Kilgore did not disappoint.
Kilgore is to the St. Louis cocktail scene what Escoffier is to modern French cuisine -- the godfather. Before Kilgore revolutionized craft cocktails at Taste, we were content with gin and tonics. Now, our cups runneth over at restaurants all over town with exotic concoctions that rival in both creativity and flavor the dishes that come out of the city's top kitchens. Arguably, we have Kilgore to thank for that.