Trendy Cocktails and Sky-High Sandwiches: The Central West End
Fine Dining at Herbie's | RFT Photo
Herbie's Vintage 72
(405 N. Euclid Avenue; 314-769-9595)
Herbie's was created as an homage to Café Balaban (its predecessor) and late founder, Herbie Balaban -- continuing the tradition of fine cuisine in the CWE. The menu features classic dishes like cucumber bisque, beef Wellington and, for dessert, the fabulous chocolate fritters, along with as more contemporary bistro fare. Standouts include beef short ribs braised with Schlafly APA, and yellowfin tuna crusted with black pepper and coriander. The décor is refined and swanky with the smooth rhythms of a jazz troupe floating out the windows. The wine list and cocktail menu is superb. You can't help but feel fancy the minute you walk through the front door.
(4580 Laclede Avenue; 314-454-0600)
The prices are reasonable, the dishes are unpretentious, and the food, well, it's pretty much excellent. The emphasis here is on good ingredients prepared with skill and care rather than showy technique. Try the meltingly tender beef short ribs or a simple piece of salmon paired with braised leeks and lentils. The beer list, much like the food, is spot on. For dessert, Brasserie serves the sweet fare that is expected from a casual French restaurant, namely profiteroles and crème brûlée, but of course, each is served with a flair that transcends the typical. There might not be a better place for a first date.