DeMun Neighborhood Guide: Fine Dining and Pastrami Deli Sandwiches
The Restaurant at the Cheshire
(6300 Clayton Road; 314-647-7300)
The Cheshire's recent multimillion-dollar renovation created a self-contained community of luxury, featuring Basso, a gastropub (see below); the Market at the Cheshire, a deli, bakery and gourmet grocery; along with the Fox & Hounds Tavern. But the key to it all is The Restaurant. The menu is topnotch, and your bill will reflect it. But when your plate of short ribs braised in red wine arrives, you won't quibble. The service here is impeccable, so your water glass will never come close to being empty, and managers will be around to make sure all is right in the world or simply to answer any questions. Because of limited parking, you'll be forced to valet, and it isn't free. But whatever: You can park along Clayton Avenue for nothing and put the $4 you would have spent into a nice pre-meal cocktail.
(7036 Clayton Avenue; 314-932-7818)
Italian for low, Basso is appropriately located in the basement of the above-mentioned Restaurant at the Cheshire. Chef Patrick Connolly, a St. Louis native, has a crafted an "Italian gastropub" menu that stands out from the kitchen directly overhead by featuring wood-fired pizzas and rustic pasta dishes. The "McDowell's Golden Arcs," with speck, delicata squash and Fontina, is a standout pizza. Among the pastas, try the mafalda, thin ribbons of pasta tossed with a beef and pork ragù, pecorino romano and breadcrumbs. Much like the terrain, the prices fall down here, but there's no drop in quality. In fact, Basso boasts dishes with a certain cutting-edge flare. See, being banished to the basement doesn't have to be a bad thing.
- RFT Review, Basso
Katie's Pizzeria Café
(6611 Clayton Road, Clayton; 314-727-8585)
Katie's is a thin-crust pizza joint, but rather than being St. Louis-style, this pizza is straight out of Naples: thin and crisp but still full of flavor. The menu is somewhat lean, with only ten pizzas to choose from, and each in only one size (roughly twelve inches in diameter). But each offering is unique, starting with the toppings: fingerling potatoes, parsnips, pancetta and rosemary; sausage, leek and fontina; shrimp, pesto and pecorino. The tried-and-true Neapolitan pie, the margherita, is an easy choice, but we say go big and order the smoked salmon topped with capers, red onion and goat cheese.