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A Trifecta of Taste

By Christine Imbs

“If you build it, they will come.” This seems to be the mantra of developers in St. Louis’ Loft District. And it looks as if they may be right. Three new restaurants made an appearance at the end of 2004, each promising to help breath life into a new downtown. Two discovered St. Louis’ revitalization from afar, An American Place comes to us by way of New York, and Red Moon is owned by folks from Chicago. As for Lucas Park Grille, McGowan Brothers Development added this restaurant to their list of downtown projects.

An American Place opened in November in what was once the old Statler Hotel at Washington Avenue and 9th Street. It’s a celebration of America’s Heartland serving uniquely American cuisine. This means fresh food from local purveyors and seldom seen items such as elk and bison.


“This is actually a reinvented, new American cuisine,” says General Manager Frank Romano. “What we serve depends on what is fresh and available. So our menu changes as often as the St. Louis weather.”

An American Place is only open for dinner and entrees will run you between $17 and $35. Standard to the menu are two of its signature dishes, Cedar Planked Salmon, and Lobster Ravioli, priced at $23.50 and $24.50 respectively. Also worth a taste is the duck breast for $21.50 and leg of lamb for $28.

The all-American theme also shows through in the wines served. California wines are prevalent although there are some Missouri wines available by the glass. A glass of most of the 175 wines available will cost between $6 and $18. Bottle prices run from $24 up to $500.

Lucas Park Grille is another choice for diners looking for a taste of the Midwest both in atmosphere as well as food. Housed in the
century-old Rudman Building located at Washington Avenue and 13th Street, it brings to mind a cozy Colorado lodge complete with 15-plus-foot cedar ceilings, brown leather chairs, limestone accents and stone fireplaces. There’s also a gourmet market with a great selection of Missouri-made specialty products and many of the restaurant’s menu items to go.


The menu is heavy on steaks and fish, and the steaks are five-star. For example there’s Prime, Dry Aged St. Louis Strip served with house smoked mushrooms, horseradish-parsnip potatoes and the restaurant’s own steak sauce for $50. But most entrees will run you between $17 and $25. A specialty is the Peppercorn Seared Yellowfin Tuna Steak served on beer battered asparagus with spicy guava BBQ for $24.

Also worth mentioning in appetizers is the Flashed Fried Calamari coated in rice flour and tossed in roasted garlic butter and pepperoncinis for $7 and the restaurant’s signature dessert, Gooey Centered Chocolate Cake, a death-by-chocolate delight for $6.

For a completely different restaurant experience, there’s Red Moon, which takes its name from the resurrected red neon weather ball that sits atop the Terra Cotta Lofts. Located at 1500 St. Charles Street, Red Moon combines the best of traditional and contemporary Asian culture, both in décor and food.


Central to Red Moon is the traditional chef’s table communal dining concept. Located in a private dining room, it allows eight guests to interact with the chef throughout the evening. There’s also a semi-private dining room which seats about 40 and a main dining room which accommodates around 120.

The cuisine is traditional Asian street food with a French accent. The French accent belongs to French-born and trained Executive Chef Marc Felix who mixes Asian ingredients with French cooking techniques. Most of his entrees fall in the $15 to $20 price range. Of note is the Cornish Hen, flavored with coconut and lime for $16 and the Braised Short Ribs served with carrots, onions and mashed potatoes with chives for $18. The Wok-Fired Whole Snapper with soy-ginger glaze and tropical salsa served as a condiment costs a bit more at $24 but is worth tasting.

TalkingPOINTS

An American Place
Washington Avenue at 9th Street
(314) 418-5800

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 5-10 p.m.
Friday - Saturday: 5-11 p.m.

Lucas Park Grille
1234 Washington Avenue
(314) 241-7770
Hours:
Sunday - Thursday: 6:30 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Friday - Saturday: 6:30 a.m. – 3:00

Red Moon
1500 St. Charles Street
(314) 436-9700

Hours:
Monday - Thursday: 5-10 p.m.
Friday - Saturday: 5-11 p.m.
 

 

 


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