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Another chain restaurant that capitalizes on Italian cuisine. This Ohio-based company calls itself a Tuscan steak and chop house and serves up wood-fired grilled pork chops, lamb chops, whole roasted chicken and several steaks done with Tuscan touches (i.e., rosemary and lemon). For the poultry lover, there's chicken breast cooked under a brick, a traditional Tuscan method that sears the meat while retaining juiciness. The wood-fired oven pumps out an array of pizzas and tasty flatbreads, while several pastas round out the roster. The space is huge -- nearly 8,000 square feet -- and decorated with a blend of elegance and casual flair. Yes, it's a chain. But Brio offers simple food with more than a nod toward authenticity served in a pleasant and festive, if not noisy, setting.
While the Botanical Garden might house most of the cacti in town, Canyon Café at Plaza Frontenac offers its own share of the American Southwest to St. Louisans, namely in the form of Tex-Mex cuisine. Covered in desert reds and browns, Canyon Café combines the flavors and recipes of Mexico and the western United States with traditional, casual American themes. Appetizers include tortilla soup, Sedona spring rolls with chicken and barbecue sauce, and a Caesar salad with a Southwestern touch of garlic and tortillas. Fish tacos, chicken quesadillas, and enchiladas round out the Mexican menu, while the Southwest side features more modern fare including an adovo rib eye topped with a sauce of smoked peppers and spices and smoked, pecan-encrusted salmon. The menu also features Southwest-inspired pastas, such as the "desert fire" - angel-hair pasta in a jalapeño-cream sauce topped with shrimp, mushrooms, Parmesan and pico de gallo. Canyon Café also features a list of specialty margaritas, including a few "Limit 2" drinks made from premium ingredients and limited to two per customer.
Forget everything you learned in German class and say "Chrisses," and then prepare for the biggest piece of prime rib you've ever seen. That and the steaks are the best bet here, although the fresh fish is good as well, and the German specialties provide an interesting alternative. Clubby -- the kind of place where they still know how to make a Manhattan or a Rob Roy -- and often populated with the landed gentry from nearby Ladue and environs.
With the Salted Pig, prolific restaurateur Michael del Pietro leaves behind his signature Italian fare to try his hand at barbecue and Southern comfort food. Unfortunately, the Frontenac restaurant delivers mixed results. The Salted Pig hits the mark with crisp and juicy fried chicken, served in a cast-iron skillet. The moist and lightly smoked pulled pork is also respectable, served either as a sandwich or as an appetizer atop housemade potato chips. St. Louis-style ribs are fair, though they lack the wow factor of the better-known spots in town, and the kitchen seems to have a problem with executing seafood, as both the red fish and fish-of-the-day special were very overcooked on two separate visits. Go for the chicken, but there are far better spots for barbecue.
Since 1917, Schneithorst's has offered the chance to enjoy a strong happy hour with great beer served in giant mugs. Located among the tiny environs of Frontenac, the restaurant offers hearty German food and great prices. There's a separate European beer hall area - perfect for a quick escape.
This latest venture from the Del Pietro family features a minimalist menu of value-priced, home-style eats. Spaghetti with two very big and very tasty meatballs and a mammoth slab of cheese- and sausage-laden lasagna both were winners. Pizzas are available with your choice of thin or medium-thick crust. The Neapolitan-style pizza margherita is a standout. Daily specials rotate among Italian and Italian-American favorites like veal Parmigiano and chicken spiedini. Almost everything on the menu can be had for $12 or less, and the classy, understated décor lends itself equally to family night out, first dates and casual get-togethers.
It's beyond us just how Sam Kacar (former manager at Dominic's Trattoria) crafted such an exceptional restaurant on his first try. But by golly, he's done it. Branica's four courses of bliss may prove to be the best Italian victuals in town. What's more, they're served in très-fancy environs but at mucho-cheapo prices, with only one entrée topping $20 and most everything else $15 and under. Make your reservation now.
Part of the Michael Del Pietro family of restaurants, which includes adjacent restaurant Sugo's Spaghetteria, Via Vino serves up a brief menu of small plates, such as olives, a cheese plate, gnocchi and a fried Jerusalem artichoke. Bigger plates include steak au poivre, Chilean sea bass and a pork chop. As its name suggests, Via Vino also offers an ample selection of wines by the glass and the bottle.
From the popovers with strawberry butter to the linen tablecloths to its location within Neiman Marcus, the Zodiac provides the quintessential spot for ladies who lunch. Other options at this upscale restaurant include a mandarin-orange soufflé, prime rib sandwich and a crab cake burger. The Zodiac is only open for lunch.
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