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Friday, May 18, 2012

The Five Best Spots for Comfort Food in St. Louis

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Page 2 of 2

The lasagna at Mama Josephine's - JENNIFER SILVERBERG
  • Jennifer Silverberg
  • The lasagna at Mama Josephine's

Mama Josephine's (4000 Shaw Boulevard; 314-771-4001)

Owner Mary Samuelson takes many of the recipes at this cozy spot in the Shaw neighborhood from her late mother, the eponymous Mama Josephine. What could be more comforting than that? The menu isn't long, but each dish is sure to satisfy: fried chicken and catfish; chicken and dumplings; chicken-fried steak. If Italian is your idea of comfort food, go right for the incredible eight-layer lasagna.

Yummies Soul Food Cafe (3149 Shenandoah Avenue; 314-226-9800)

How can you not love a restaurant that treats diners to a taste of its banana pudding to start the meal? Save room for dessert? It's difficult at Yummies. Fried chicken is an everyday favorite, while the daily specials range from meatloaf and pork steaks on Monday to cube steak and liver and onions on Thursday. Yummies puts the fry in Friday with fried fish, fried chicken (gizzards and liver as well as the usual) and fried pork steaks, while Saturday is barbecue day: beef and pork ribs; rib tips; chicken and more.

And the "Best Comfort Food" is...

click to enlarge Housemade pasta with sausage ragu at the Tavern Kitchen & Bar - IAN FROEB
  • Ian Froeb
  • Housemade pasta with sausage ragu at the Tavern Kitchen & Bar

The Tavern Kitchen & Bar (2961 Dougherty Ferry Road, Valley Park; 636-825-0600)

Think carefully before bringing Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa to the Tavern Kitchen & Bar. Here the kitchen takes the dishes you love from childhood to another place entirely -- a place you won't want to leave. There is no trick here, no gimmick. There are simply classics, such as meat loaf, Tater Tot casserole and mac & cheese, prepared with top-notch ingredients and great care. The meat loaf, bacon-wrapped, is sauced with a mushroom gravy that wouldn't seem out of place atop an expensive cut of steak. Housemade pasta with a sausage ragu is so straightforward and flavorful that you'll never look at a box of dried pasta again. Want to keep the family happy and still enjoy the Tavern? Direct them toward one of the more contemporary dishes, like roasted bone marrow or smoked pork tenderloin in a curried ginger-carrot purée. And should they figure out that the Tavern has supplanted them in your heart, take comfort: They might be disappointed in you, but you'll never be disappointed in the Tavern.

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