Saturday, October 2, 2010

St. Louis: Brasserie by Niche, Sage, and Chocolate Bar

My first trip to St. Louis, MO involved, as it turned out, a lot of great food.  The highlights:

1) Dinner at Brasserie by Niche on Thursday night.  Our group of ~14 had a three-course menu, and it was pretty hard to decide among all the options.  I settled on a salad of mixed greens with warm goat cheese, hazelnuts and sherry vinaigrette; mussels in white-wine-and-mustard broth with french fries and saffron aioli; fig clafoutis with spice ice cream; and part of a glass of rose.  The people around me had onion soup, frisee salad with poached egg and bacon, steak, trout with green beans and almonds, floating island, chocolate pot de creme with sable cookies; red wine; and a local beer.

Other than a comment that the floating island tasted like whipped cream surrounded by vanilla cream, everyone thought the meal was fantastic.  I generally love mussels, and these did not disappoint; plus, the french fries were some of the best I have ever eaten.  Dessert was delicious, too, even though we were all saturated by that point.   

2) Dinner at Sage restaurant on Friday night.  Appetizers (yellowtail tuna sashimi and "potstickers") were underwhelming, in large part because the accompanying or covering sauces/slaws were way too salty, and partly because I'm a potsticker elitist (in addition to a chocolate elitist).  Main courses were much more enjoyable.  I had a cup of chili coronado, followed by sole stuffed with asparagus and a creamy blue crab filling, and I also got to try some of the chicken breast stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes.  One of our hosts chose bottles of a full-bodied red wine and a nice, crisp white wine.

3) Dessert at Bailey's Chocolate Bar on Friday night.  This restaurant serves, not surprisingly, a large menu of desserts (not all chocolate) and chocolate drinks, including an array of martinis ranging from the "White" and "Milk" to "Sexual" and "Nutty."  I ordered the "Chocolate Inebriation" dessert, which was an extremely dense and dark cake with layers of cake (chocolate stout flavored) and ganache, enrobed in ganache and served with cinnamon ice cream - heavenly!  Other desserts at the table included the eponymous "Bailey's Chocolate Bar," a banana split, a truffle, an apple/caramel/cinnamon creation called "Eve's Apple," and a chocolate brownie with Bailey's ice cream and caramel.