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The new venture from restaurateur Zoë Robinson and chef Ny Vongsaly, who have collaborated at I Fratellini and the late Zoë Pan-Asian Café, is the perfect restaurant for its location across the street from Washington University: an inexpensive but stylish noodle restaurant. Vongsaly draws upon the familiar flavors of Southeast Asia - lemon grass, curry, fish sauce - sometimes, as in the excellent beef pho with butternut squash and red curry, in unexpected combinations. The spare ribs and pork spring rolls are dynamite appetizers, and the lemongrass beef over chilled sesame noodles is a standout main course. Delivery available during dinner hours.
Away from the main drag of the Loop sits Booster's Cafe. This small breakfast-and-lunch joint serves up a menu of pancakes, eggs and sandwiches. Vegetarians will appreciate Booster's burger, a mix of soy protein and wheat gluten. Booster's, which is open until 3 p.m., also serves chili said to be from Kit Carson's grandmother's recipe.
Known for its clean, minimalist atmosphere and hefty foil-wrapped burritos the size (and weight) of a small infant, Chipotle pioneered the fast-casual, assembly line Mexican food genre that's since grown to encompass chains like Qdoba and Baja Fresh. The protocol in St. Louis and elsewhere? Diners proceed single-file down the line and orchestrate the construction of their burrito, tacos (soft or crunchy), rice bowl, or salad with proteins including braised pork carnitas and grilled chicken or steak. Rice, beans, and a kaleidoscope of salsas from mild to sinus-clearing, plus garnishes like sour cream, guacamole and lettuce, complete the picture. Once heavily backed by McDonald's, Chipotle broke away from the fast food megacorp in 2006 and has since gained favor with customers by sourcing all-natural, hormone-free meats and even some local produce. It hired celebrity chef Nate Appleman as "culinary manager" in 2010 to man the New York test kitchen and work on research and development to keep Chipotle on the forefront of food trends. Finding your nearest Chipotle is a snap on Voice Places.
Easton and Tammey Romer's addition to Olive Boulevard's ethnic restaurant row is jammin', from the Jamaican specialties to the endless loop of Bob Marley concert videos on the dining-room TV. A native of Jamaica who came to St. Louis in the late 1980s, Easton makes his jerk rub fresh, and it shows: pungent, citrusy and spicy. Jamaica's South Asian influence is present in the mildly spiced golden sauces that blanket shrimp, chicken or goat curries. There's fish, of course -- from simple grilled salmon to vinegary escovetch whole red snapper (and a spicier version that's steamed in a tomato-based sauce, then baked). You won't be able to get enough of the banana rum fritters -- but the Red Stripe is abundant.
This location of Cincinnati-based pizza chain Dewey's offers U. City families a pizza joint within walking distance. Choose from traditional pizza toppings (pepperoni, black olives, anchovies) or from gourmet choices (Amish chicken, goat cheese, pine nuts) for your pie, which can be 11, 13 or 17 inches. Specialty pies include the Edgar Allan Poe, which combines olive oil, mozzarella-fontina blend, mushrooms, roasted garlic, kalamata olives, goat cheese, tomatoes and parsley.
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