Locations in St. Louis with Slideshow

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    Iron Barley
    Hoosier food is elevated to haute status at this unassuming South St. Louis outpost, where chef and owner Tom Coghill (previously head kitchen honcho at Frazer's Brown Bag) wields his cast-iron cookware to produce unbelievable creations: oak-roasted pork and chicken, toasted barley, green beans with bacon and onion, barley paella, hot smoked salmon and more. Coghill goes for broke and hits the jackpot with sweet-salty-spicy combos, like the Ballistic Elvis Sammiche (or sandwich, to the unenlightened): American cheese, strawberry preserves, sliced bananas, peanut butter and red pepper flakes. Just-plain-folk service and kitschy-cute Southern décor round out the experience -- one that's worth having over and over, and cozy outdoor bar and patio make it worth stopping in casually whenever the hunger strikes.
    Izakaya Ren
    An izakaya is a specific type of Japanese restaurant that serves, for lack of a better term, bar snacks. (A tapas bar is a common comparison.) Izakaya Ren splits the difference between izakaya cuisine and the American concept of a sushi bar. You can order nigiri sushi, sashimi and maki as well as tempura and other familiar dishes, but branch out with the selection of skewered meats and fare like tako wasabi (cold, spiced octopus) or fried mackerel with a sake-based dipping sauce.

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