St. Louis Rotisserie

I visit too many restaurants to cover in the print version of the RFT. From time to time I'll share my thoughts on these visits in briefer, less formal blog-exclusive reviews.

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Rotisserie chicken ain't sexy. Nothing that inspires a Ron Popeil invention ever is. Most rotisserie chickens are sort of sad, really, supermarket commodities bagged and then left out to dry under a heat lamp.

So St. Louis Rotisserie was a pleasant surprise. Here the chickens are roasted over a fire of oak and cherry wood. The result is blackened skin rich with flavor: smoky, of course, but with a welcome, almost citric, tang. The dark meat is excellent; the white meat, as is often the problem with rotisserie chicken, might be tougher than you like. Half a chicken costs $7.95 (all white meat is $1 more), two sides included.

The sides include roasted potatoes that might have been okay if they hadn't been sitting in a steam table for who knows how long. Salads are fine, if bland. The spicy red beans are fantastic, though.

I stopped by another time and had the barbecue beef brisket ($7.49 with one side, $8.25 with two). In some ways, this was an even bigger surprise than the chicken: A generous serving of brisket, some of it luscious, some of it a little tough -- though not that bad for beef brisket. The sauce was outstanding, very dark with a subtle heat. Nothing Ron Popeil could ever simplify and sell to you at 4 a.m.

St. Louis Rotisserie 13029 Olive Boulevard Creve Coeur 314-756-5656 11 a.m.-8 p.m. $

-Ian Froeb

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