The Best Things We Ate This Year
Beef and chicken shish kabob served with dill herb rice at Cafe Natasha's. | Jennifer Silverberg
Beef Kabob at Cafe Natasha's
(3200 South Grand Boulevard; 314-771-3411)
Some people return to their hometowns eager to be close to family or to rekindle old friendships. The most celebrated moment of my return to St. Louis this year was being reunited with my beloved beef shish kabob from Cafe Natasha's. I've been going to Cafe Natasha's for the past eighteen years, and every time I have their beef kabob, it's like I'm having it for the first time.
I don't know how I can still be shocked by the deliciousness having eaten probably five hundred of them, but I am blown away every single time. People who have not experienced the kabob's glory for themselves often balk at my love affair with this delicious meat, thinking that it's just grilled beef on a bed of rice. Not so. The key to Cafe Natasha's kabob is a flavor-bursting marinade, concocted by the restaurant's patriarch, Behshid Bahrami.
It's garlicky, salty, a little sweet and a touch peppery, and it clings to the meat after it has been kissed with the grill's delicate char. Knowing that I can satisfy this urge at a moment's notice is one of the best things about being back in town.
-- Cheryl Baehr
Next: A classic re-imagined.