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Local diners looking for the best steak house in town are in luck, on account of one of them letting it be known right there in their name for us. Located on Grand Boulevard across from the fabulous Fox Theatre, where adjectives rule, the Best Steak House tells you what to expect before you walk in the door. Their menu, not surprisingly, features steaks, porterhouse, T-bone, strip, rib eye and sirloin. Best Steak also serves sandwiches, a common carryout item for the lunch crowd, holding items such as fried fish, gyro meat, chicken, pork and, naturally, steak. Other menu options include salads, chicken strips and, when available, chili. Diners will find a casual atmosphere where no reservations are required at Best Steak House, but they do recommend calling ahead for faster carryout service.
Mid-priced bistro fare is served here, with eclectic influences ranging from the Basque country to the Caribbean. A good excuse to go to Grand Center for something other than a show or the symphony.
Ferring Jazz Bistro is the main performance venue for the nonprofit Jazz St. Louis, but it's also a classic jazz club that frequently appears on lists of the best of its type in the country. A low-key, medium-size room where you can literally dine with the performers, the Bistro features multiple night stands by some of the hottest names in instrumental and vocal jazz -- and complements the music with a delicious menu and a tempting wine list. Performers rave about the good acoustics; patrons will be pleased with the equally good sightlines.
A small national chain, Hamburger Mary’s is a self-styled “open-minded bar & grill for open-minded people” — and perhaps the only chain to court the LGBT community. The décor is deliberately campy, the menu rife with double entendres (like the “Guacamole B.J.” burger, which also features bacon and Monterey jack cheese). The vast array of burgers does share two common traits: they’re huge and overstuffed with toppings. Ordering isn’t unlike picking out a new car — multiple models available in different trim levels. If none of the three ground beef options suit you, there’s also ground turkey, a grilled chicken breast or a black-bean patty. Sides and starters are the typical crowd pleasers: fries, soft pretzels, T-ravs, etc.
Though located directly across Grand Boulevard from the Fox Theatre, Kota Wood Fire Grill doesn't rely on Broadway kitsch and generic, crowd-pleasing chow. Instead the restaurant, from the same folks behind nearby Triumph Grill, is airy and attractive, with dishes that draw from Caribbean and Gulf Coast flavors. Seafood has a prominent place: mahi-mahi crusted with plantain and drizzled with a key-lime vinaigrette; shrimp and grits in a rich, garlicky barbecue sauce. Among meat entrées, the smoked pork chop, stuffed with an apple-fig chutney, is a standout.
Lücha mixes contemporary culinary methods with traditional Mexican foods. "For example, we use the sous-vide method to infuse all of our proteins with regional Mexican flavors -- chile de árbol, morita, pasilla, guajillo -- and to precisely control the temperature and texture the food reaches over an extended period of time," he says. Lücha also uses a 170,000 BTU wok to do the final braising, stewing, smoking or roasting while preserving the ideal internal temperatures and textures of the dish.
With 40,000 square feet to play with, Plush is a truly unique bar, restaurant, and music venue located just east of Grand Center in Midtown. You can sit down most nights of the week and enjoy a menu full of eclectic American food that borders on greasy spoon but with modern twists (meatloaf cupcakes, for example). Dinner and lunch are served from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, with kitchen hours extending to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. And Brunch lovers can hit up Plush on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Whichever meal you choose, a variety of coffee and espresso drinks, as well as a full selection of beers, wines, and cocktails are available. Plush’s venue side has music several nights each week, while the second floor houses a smaller room for more intimate shows along with pool and ping-pong tables. Plush also has two spaces - a second-floor parlor and the building’s fourth-floor penthouse – both available for private events. RFT named Plush the "Best New Bar" in 2012, and things have only gotten better for this jack-of-all-trades, one-of-a-kind establishment.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company’s original microbrewery in Midtown is a gem of a biergarten that serves up a delicious and rotating selection of beers. Brewmaster Florian Kuplent brings nearly two decades of beer-making experience and a novel brewing philosophy that results in two different lines of beer; Urban Chestnut’s “Reverence” series pays homage to the European brewing heritage with classic brewing techniques and styles, while “Revolution” employs more innovative, artisanal techniques to create contemporary American beers. So, whether you prefer the yeastiness of an old-school Bavarian lager like the Zwickel or a hopped-up monster of an ale like the STLIPA, Urban Chestnut’s got you covered. In addition to their excellent selection, Urban Chestnut offers a small food menu mostly composed of German biergarten staples like sausages, pretzel bread and mustard, as well as a small selection of both domestic and imported cheeses.
Every college kid worth his Animal House poster knows that pizza is the staff of life, so it's wise of Vito La Fata III to run his business on the eastern edge of Saint Louis University. But make no mistake: These aren't your typical, greasy, gotta-get-through-finals pies. La Fata's pizzas are for the connoisseur. The perfectly chewy crust is lifted into the stratosphere by zippy tomato sauce, mozzarella and super-fresh toppings. The number of choices (from traditional pizza margherita to an ooh-la-la shrimp-and-artichoke pie) can make for tough decisions, but you really can't go wrong. And don't forget to ask for fresh basil -- it's grown in the garden out back.
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