The Upside Downstairs: A Preview of This Week's Review of Basso

The interior of Basso | Liz Miller
Basso (7036 Clayton Avenue; 314-932-7818) should not be an afterthought. Yes, it is in the basement of its glitzier older (by a matter of weeks) sibling, the Restaurant at the Cheshire. But what a basement it is! The cavernous space features both throwback elements (a fireplace, gas lamps and a wood-burning oven) and a strikingly modern bar.

More vitally, it features the talents of Patrick Connolly in the kitchen.

See Also:
- At Basso, Nationally Acclaimed Chef Patrick Connolly Pays Homage to St. Louis' Divisive Provel Cheese
- Ian Froeb's RFT Review of the Restaurant at the Cheshire (2013)

A St. Louis native, Connolly returned home last year after finding success as a chef in Boston and New York. Among his many plaudits, the James Beard Foundation honored him as its "Best Chef: Northeast" for his work at Boston's Radius.

At Basso, Connolly oversees a concept described as "Italian gastropub." Sounds iffy, I know, but in practice it translates to mostly rustic pastas and wood-fired pizzas. Read my review of Basso, online this evening and on Gut Check tomorrow morning, for my view on these various dishes.

Spoiler alert: Individual dishes aside, I left Basso wondering whether I'd truly experienced the breadth of Connolly's talents. Rustic pastas and wood-fried pizzas can be great, but St. Louis has numerous standout examples of both. As at the Restaurant at the Cheshire, the overarching concept feels overly market-tested and utterly safe. Connolly is like a splurge-purchased sports car never taken out of the garage.

Or, to use one of our favorite newsroom metaphors, the Cheshire has buried (kinda literally) the lede.

Lodging Hospitality & Management has spent millions of dollars to turn the Cheshire into a dining destination, so I understand why they would err on the side of caution. Yet the elements for something more are all there: the twin gorgeous spaces of the Restaurant and Basso; an award-winning young chef; a restaurant scene that is especially fecund at the moment, open to new ideas and pushing the status quo.

If only someone would connect the dots.

Location Info


7036 Clayton Ave., St. Louis, MO

Category: Restaurant

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