Wild Horse Grill Gives Us an Insider's Tour of New Menu

Categories: Restaurant News

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       Enjoy the patio at Wild Horse. | Nancy Stiles

Wild Horse Grill (101 Chesterfield Towne Centre, Chesterfield; 636-532-8750) is a name familiar to frequenters of the Chesterfield Valley. It's been situated quietly at the corner of a shopping center on Long Road for thirteen years. People outside of west county, however, may be unaware that it exists, and co-owner Tony Valenta wants to change that with a new chef and a new menu.

"It's time to throw our hats back in the ring," he says. "We think we deserve to be on more people's lists."

See also: Horse Sense: The Wild Horse Grill Stampedes onto the Chesterfield Valley Floodplain

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       Co-owner Tony Valenta. | Nancy Stiles

Back in 2001 Chesterfield Valley was at the start what became a development explosion. There wasn't much in the way of quality eats, though more and more places began popping up.

"The whole area developed and we got left behind. The chains adapted," Valenta tells Gut Check. "I have always wanted to do downtown food, but I don't always want to sit on a church bench in a 90-year-old building."

Valenta, who co-owns Wild Horse Grill with his father Jim, says downtown restaurants (and basically everything east is downtown to west countians) have more freedom with food and experimentation. Annie Gunn's (16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield; 636-532-7684) is the Chesterfield restaurant that, along with its chef, Lou Rook, tends to get most of the (much-deserved) attention, but Valenta points out that even Rook can't get too crazy to if he wants to keep the conservative clientele coming back.

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       Smoked salmon crudo with pickled cucumber, creme fraiche, dill and tobiko caviar. | Nancy        Stiles

Valenta wants to challenge the status quo, but says the plan is to keep the place unpretentious -- he himself made the tables in the dining room and laid the patio with two of the dishwashers a few summers back. But he aspires to cuisine worth making the drive for.

"We're not chicken wings and toasted ravioli. We do food at a level that people would appreciate," he says.

That's why he brought in Ray Carpenter, formerly of Prime 1000, as his executive chef. Carpenter is young, inked up and, for lack of a better word, enthusiastic. But it's more than just enthusiasm -- he spent eighteen months learning from Gerard Craft at Niche.

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       Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, white anchovy, garlic and parmesan. | Nancy Stiles

"They were looking to be able to push the boundaries a little bit and hired me to bring a different kind of flair," Carpenter explains. "We're bringing it back to fresh food, but we're not trying to go over anybody's head."

Carpenter says he'd change the menu three times a week if he could, but he'll have to settle for quarterly as of now. His sous chef Eric Emahiser keeps him good-naturedly in check.

"Moving forward, it'll become more progressive as society [here] gets more progressive in food," he says. "In the restaurant business, if you don't switch up what you're doing, you're out. So long as you're enjoying the food, I'll stay crazy."

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       Chefs Erich Emahiser and Ray Carpenter. | Nancy Stiles

Continue for more dishes from the revamped menu.


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Wild Horse Grill

101 Chesterfield Towne Centre, Chesterfield, MO

Category: Restaurant

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5 comments
hdg2076
hdg2076

Why do the only two people who left positive comments only leave comments for this restaurant? Makes you think they might work there.

pots-a-lot
pots-a-lot

I, too, have had nothing but superb dining experiences at this restaurant. Beautiful atmosphere with a lodge-style lofted dining room & plush patio and friendly service, but the food is by far why we keep coming back. And now, this new menu keeps your taste buds alive with plenty of decadent options. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a little variety in their dining-out experience...the cherry wood-smoked duck is my favorite..... mmmm, simply divine!

lowled22
lowled22

i've eaten at the wild horse grill a couple times and can definitely recommend it; prefer it over all the chains that have taken over the valley. too bad 'blcat' didn't have a better experience, this really is one of the gems in the valley. but thats coming from me and im not the kind of person that would avoid eating at say, gordon ramsay because he shouts. different strokes... 

blcat
blcat

Wild Horse Creek has terrible business practices and if you send food back, you just may be kicked out by Tony Valenta. This very situation occurred a year or two ago on Mother's Day weekend. While my family was seated by the server area we had to hear the scene in the dining room as well as the conversation that went on among co-workers. Tony preceded to tell his employees he does not care about one person's opinion since his father owns the restaurant and then tells the server she is b**** and should have taken better care of that table. My family finished their meal which was great, as well as a service was too, but due to the situation and his attitude we would never return or give a positive recommendation.

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