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Though unassuming and simple from the outside, 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar provides outstanding hospitality, more than 700 wines and one of the best beer lists in the city. The result is a relaxing yet engaging opportunity to sip, contemplate or just plain drink your vino. Though lacking a full menu, there's a nice array of cheese, cured meats and crackers to hold you over. Pricing is great, with bottles marked up just $9 over 33's very competitive "take home" prices (it is a wine shop, too), which makes 33 a great place to go big on a specialty bottle. The oft-rotating draft selection, along with the list of bottled brew, highlights great beers both American and imported, many of which are rarely available on tap locally.
Located in the spacious, open lobby of the Merchant's Laclede building, which also happens to be home to the boutique, luxurious Hilton hotel, 400 Olive offers diners an upscale casual dining experience. This "urban grille" takes advantage of its location by placing diners in an elevated corner of the hotel's atmospheric charm. Lunch options include pastas, burgers and sandwiches, including a grilled crab cake sandwich and a seared tuna sandwich. Dinner entrees feature a filet, a rib eye and a tuna steak, as well as a maple-glazed pork loin and a macadamia nut-crusted salmon. 400 Olive also prepares an Amber Bock onion soup, with gruyère and provolone cheeses, and a cheesecake, savory not sweet, of smoked trout, served with an onion relish. Coffee and various desserts are also available.
When Dan and Pat Graham decided to shutter Graham’s Grill & Bayou Bar last December after a seventeen-year run, the next generation decided to take over the reins - but put their own stamp on things. Brother and sister business partners Devin and Alison converted their parents’ Cajun-themed bar and grill into 612 Kitchen & Cocktails, a 1920s-inspired cocktail lounge and gastropub. The restaurant is at its best when it sticks to classic bar fare: Sausage and cheese stuffed mushrooms, breaded and fried, make for an excellent snack; beer-battered fish and chips pair nicely with a cold one; and the smoked chicken is juicy and glazed with caramelized barbecue sauce. Craft cocktails are on the approachable end of the spectrum. Signature drinks such include the "Great Gatsby,” made with cucumber and basil-infused rum, lemonade and blueberry puree. A bridal shower in barware, the “Coco Chanel,” is a blend of strawberry vodka, lemon juice, pink champagne, strawberries and mint. The most austere offering — and that is a stretch — is the “Scarface.” Tequila, tomato water, triple sec and lavender-infused sour combine to make an interesting twist on the margarita. Regardless of how the younger Grahams brand it, 612 Kitchen & Cocktails is still a simple neighborhood watering hole.
801 Chophouse’s super-size steaks are the most expensive meal in town — and that seems to be the point. The restaurant peddles opulence to holders of corporate cards, as well as regular folks who want to feel like royalty (at least for a day). For the price tag, diners will receive impeccable service, fine wines and shamefully large cuts of beef. Bone-in selections are the best offerings: The strip, rib eye, pork and veal all benefit from the extra flavor (and thicker cut). 801 Chophouse offers a variety of steak enhancements, from Oscar-style with crab and béarnaise to a bone-marrow bath. However, the high-quality steaks and chops are delicious enough on their own. Seafood is incredibly fresh, and the oysters taste straight from the coast. Side dishes are served a la carte: The creamy scalloped potatoes and lobster macaroni & cheese are excellent options — just make sure to ask for a half order so you can save room for the Grand Mariner soufflé.
Located right at Gravois Avenue, just south of Russell Boulevard, near I-55, A-1 Wok is a stand-alone Chinese takeout spot in south St. Louis. Diners place their to-go orders, or pick up their carryout, at the counter. A-1 has a few chairs and benches for waiting but no real dining area. Menu options include St. Paul sandwiches, chop suey, chow mein and numerous combination plates. Specialties include Mongolian beef, hot braised chicken and shrimp with lobster sauce. A-1 does have a parking lot adjacent to the building, and a small surcharge on credit cards.
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