August 13, 2014

Death in the Afternoon Serves Lunch at Downtown St. Louis' Citygarden

The name is a bit perplexing at first. Death in the Afternoon is an Ernest Hemingway novel about bullfighting, but the cuisine is not Spanish. It’s also the name of an absinthe and Champagne cocktail, even though there is no cocktail program (yet). But perhaps “death” refers to killing time, and there is no better place to do just that. Everything about the restaurant is ethereal — the way the sun bathes the all-glass structure in a soft glow, the refreshing grapefruit- and hibiscus-infused agua fresca handed out by smiling hostesses upon arrival, the whimsical cotton candy poufs arriving at nearby tables for dessert. Owners Adam Frager and TJ Vytlacil ­­— best known for their members-only restaurant and cocktail bar Blood & Sand — have created a dreamlike, otherworldly place.

Keep reading: Cheryl Baehr's review of Death in the Afternoon.

Photos by Jennifer Silverberg for the Riverfront Times.
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Grilled mahi mahi with pickles, Meyer lemon dill aioli, fennel lemon salad and a roll.
Grilled mahi mahi with pickles, Meyer lemon dill aioli, fennel lemon salad and a roll.
Death in the Afternoon sits in St. Louis' Citygarden.
Death in the Afternoon sits in St. Louis' Citygarden.
Death in the Afternoon's dining room.
Death in the Afternoon's dining room.
The local tomato salad features stracciatella, basil and spinach.
The local tomato salad features stracciatella, basil and spinach.
Death in the Afternoon's bar seating.
Death in the Afternoon's bar seating.
Bartender Kelsey Zehner pours Perennial's Saison de Lis.
Bartender Kelsey Zehner pours Perennial's Saison de Lis.
Tonkotsu ramen brings pork belly and loin, soft-boiled egg, black garlic oil, mushroom, noodles.
Tonkotsu ramen brings pork belly and loin, soft-boiled egg, black garlic oil, mushroom, noodles.
Death in the Afternoon's dining room.
Death in the Afternoon's dining room.
Death in the Afternoon sits in St. Louis' Citygarden.
Death in the Afternoon sits in St. Louis' Citygarden.
Sous chef Chris Krzysik plates the noodles for the Tonkotsu ramen.
Sous chef Chris Krzysik plates the noodles for the Tonkotsu ramen.