Refined Palate’s Roving Reporter spent the week in St. Louis…Niche Restaurant on Sidney Street was recommended by Christopher Hoel, sommelier at French Laundry who worked at Niche previous to TFL. He was kind enough to contact Chef Gerard Craft the owner/chef so they were well prepared for us.
Christopher Kelling, the GM, was also more than ready for us. We were assigned an excellent table and a very special server Abbie who has been with them for 6 years and is a God parent to one of the Chef Craft’s kids. Nothing like being welcomed in style.
The meal definitely lived up to the recommendation. My friends are going back in 3 weeks for their 16th anniversary. That’s a win!
Spicy Nuts with our martinis
Egg shell with maple lemon custard, roasted shitaki mushrooms and bonito caviar…a new “egg” dish to enjoy although just the shell was used, no real egg involved.
Sancerre chosen because of really solid flavors on menu.
Lobster-pullman, celery, green apple, togarashi, brown butter hollandaise
Trout gravlax — rye, watercress, crème fraiche, smoked egg yolk, meyer lemon
Carrots Three Ways—orange-cumin, yogurt, espelette
The above photo is a combination of the above 3 appetizers. We decided to share as the appetizer portions were quite large and was a perfect way to have just a taste of each dish. I am definitely of the Thomas Keller school of thought – the law of diminishing returns or as he says – “I want you to say “God, I wish I had just one more bite of that.”
Louisiana Crayfish—strawberry, radish, tapioca, cilantro—delicious bonus from the kitchen.
Lemon sorbet—delicious served in a shallow dish with a red center, we thought there was a sauce.
Red-chose young Burgundy from a good producer and a good value.
Fillet of Beef—potato, leeks, rosemary, whey
Pork Shoulder—popcorn polenta, verjus, coriander, daikon, walnuts, redgrapes—this sounds like a lot of “stuff” but it all worked.
Gruet New Mexico sparkler—a good choice with both dessert and cheese.
Cheese plate—local and creative. Bloomsdale, Camebert, Tombe all very nice
Vacherin—lemon, meringue, thyme, hickory, lavender
Carrot—custard, cream cheese ice cream, mint, white chocolate
All in all a terrific meal and a restaurant I strongly recommend if you are in St. Louis.