The Veggielante Puts Niche to the Test

Categories: The Veggielante

broccoli-logo.jpg
The Veggielante has had it up to here with people bitching that St. Louis restaurants are vegetarian unfriendly. Sure, we'd like to see more restaurants offering more meatless dishes, but there are excellent choices out there if you take the trouble to look for them. We're not here to proselytize about greening up your diet. Our only motive is to spread the word about places where you can order good grub that ain't got no meat. To enhance your reading experience, we've settled on a handful of criteria we'll use to suss out a restaurant's vegetarian friendliness.

Destination: Niche (1831 Sidney Street; 314-773-7755)

Neighborhood: Soulard Benton Park

Overview: Gerard Craft is the real deal. He's been steadily accumulating awards for many years, and he's managed to make his flagship restaurant Niche one of the premiere dining destinations in the Midwest. We've been enjoying his food for a while, but on our most recent visit Chef de Cuisine Nate Hereford was at the helm, serving up the tastiest summer salads, beet soups and veggie lasagnas.

niche-summersalad.jpg
Bryan Peters
Salad of the gods.
The Grub: Niche is the place you go when you want that wow factor. Here, you'll find eggs cooked properly, vegetables treated with respect and breads that'll make you drool. Currently, the menu features a beet soup the likes of which we've never seen or tasted. The trick with this soup is to dissolve the beet sorbet into the buttermilk broth, which not only accentuates the beauty of the dish but also releases the aromatics of this magical beet concoction. There's a summer vegetable salad and summer lasagna available now, too, each featuring no shortage of fresh, unique veggies and herbs. From leek béchamel to acorn squash to pumpernickel, your taste buds will be twerking.

niche-veglasagna.jpg
Bryan Peters
A lasagna for all seasons.
broccoli-florets 5.jpg
Seasonality/sourcing: Because of Niche's commitment to fresh, local produce, the menu changes often. You pay extra for quality ingredients like these, but you can taste the difference.

broccoli-florets 4 half.jpg
Resistance to clichés (vegetable medleys, pre-made veggie burgers, etc.): Though some of the menu items may sound cliché, the preparation and presentation never fails to impress. And with things like beet sorbets dissolving into a stunningly beautiful soup, Craft and his crew leave no doubt about their penchant for inventiveness and flair.

broccoli-florets 4.jpg
Improvisations & accommodations (vegan, gluten-free, etc.): For a fine dining restaurant, Niche resists meat-centric conventions, providing plenty of options for vegetarians. Even vegans can find plenty to eat, and the kitchen will always do its best to accommodate dietary restrictions.

broccoli-florets 5.jpg
Extra credit: Impeccable service.


broccoli-florets 4 half.jpg
Overall score:


Standout item: The beet soup is unlike any soup we've ever had.

Location Info

Niche

7734 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, MO

Category: Restaurant


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
6 comments
Eileen Gannon
Eileen Gannon

Wow Mr. Craft must have had a revelation because I've never been impressed with the vegetarian options.  Plus Niche is moving to Clayton, so I won't be going back any way.

Jake
Jake

You know, you can use computers to remove the yellow from your photos.

CHRISTIAN
CHRISTIAN

And how much did ole Real Deal Craft con out of you for a plate full of nuts and twigs?

IanFroeb
IanFroeb

Indeed. Fixed now. Thanks.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...