St Louis: Olio, Rooster, Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar
view from my room at the Westin in downtown St Louis
Last week I had a work trip to St Louis and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the meals I experienced while there! I haven’t been to St Louis in years (probably 20?!?) and can’t say that I’ve ever read anything about their food scene or restaurants. I didn’t spend much time researching beforehand, but a quick tweet a couple of days before my visit rendered some good suggestions.
Gregorio’s Rx at Olio: white rum, honey, ginger, mint, lemon
First meal upon arrival was dinner on a Saturday night at Olio in a neighborhood called McRee Town. When I looked on the map, it didn’t seem too far away from my hotel. Of course, when you have a cab driver that has NO CLUE where he is going and asks you to be the navigator for a city you know absolutely nothing about….then yeah, it could take a few minutes.
A couple of wrong turns later (seriously, when I said turn right, he turned left. Worst cab driver ever. St Louis desperately needs UBER), we finally arrived safe and sound to the destination.
And after that cab ordeal I was ready for a cocktail! Thank goodness Olio has incredible ones. This is the kind of spot that I would frequent very, very often simply for cocktails and patio time if I lived in St Louis.
Olio’s Roasted Cauliflower dressed in tehini with madras curry and capers
Not only were the cocktails fantastic, but the food was great too. Plus it was my favorite style of dining – small plates. My dining companion and I started at the bar with cocktails and hummus (with chopped nuts and smoked paprika) before moving out into the gorgeous night air on the patio.
Baby octopus salad with chickpeas and edamame at Olio
That’s when the feast began: roasted cauliflower with tehini and madras curry; burrata with black pepper, ajwain seeds and maple syrup; scallop ceviche; moroccan shredded carrot salad dressed in harissa and perfumed with orange blossom water. So many flavors!
Olio patio at night (from their FB page)
1634 Tower Grove Ave
St Louis, MO 63110
Rooster (photo courtesy of their FB page)
After looking at the online menu, I went into Rooster thinking I was going to order a crepe. Crepes are their specialty, and they offer an extensive variety of breakfast crepes, savory crepes and sweet crepes. Yet, once seated, I found myself drawn to the “scrambles”, and one in particular.
Rooster breakfast scramble: eggs, potatoes, spinach, goat cheese, onions and tomato jam
I am not sorry that I didn’t order a crepe. This scramble was incredible. I don’t normally care for potatoes in much of anything, but I loved how these were thinly sliced and created almost a crust on the bottom of the dish. And that tomato jam? There isn’t an adjective that can adequately describe how I feel about it. Just wow.
1104 Locust St
St Louis, MO 63101
Cheese and charcuterie at Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar, St Louis
I went to Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar having no idea that it was part of the same restaurant group that owns Rooster. So basically I began and ended my day with tomato jam. Yes, Bridge also has tomato jam on their menu, and it’s the same tomato jam I had at Rooster for breakfast.
This time we got it as a side on our cheese and charcuterie board. My dining companions on this particular evening were not with me at breakfast, so it was fun to see their reaction after tasting it for the first time. They both felt exactly as I did – amazing.
Bridge Tap House smoked duck tacos
In fact, the entire meal was amazing. We were all blown away by how great everything was. We started with smoked paprika and sea salt popcorn, then moved on to the cheese board you see in the first pic. After that it was a flurry of small plates – roasted poblano and tomato mac & cheese; smoked duck tacos with jicama slaw, sesame cream and cilantro; braised pork belly on spicy polenta cakes with apple-fennel slaw and honey; squash stuffed with spinach, artichokes, goat cheese and asiago.
Gorgonzola bacon bread pudding at Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar
Then last– the dish featured in the worst, most out of focus photo I’ve probably ever taken — the Gorgonzola Bacon Bread Pudding. I didn’t care how awful this picture was, I simply had to include it in the post because it was breathtakingly incredible. Gotta, gotta, gotta try to make this myself! Just heavenly.
1004 Locust St
St Louis, MO 63101