Restaurant Redemption: The New Gringo Is Much Improved

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       If only it was warm enough to enjoy the patio. | Jennifer Silverberg

Perhaps it's the cheer of the holiday season that has left this Scrooge feeling generous. It could be that the approaching new year has made me reflective about fresh starts. Whatever the reason, I'm dishing out second chances, and Gringo (398 North Euclid Avenue; 314-449-1212) is at the top of my "nice" list.

See Also: Best Place for Daytime Drinking 2013 -- Gringo

As loyal Gut Check readers may recall, I eviscerated Gringo in a review last August, saying that the only enjoyable things about the place were the beachy atmosphere, prime location and complimentary chips and salsa. As if calling the place bland and tasteless wasn't enough, there was a reference to burnt zoysia grass and a snide comment about the competitive eater Kobayashi's technique of dunking dry bread in water.

It was one of my biggest disappointments of the year for many reasons, not the least of which is that owners Chris Sommers and Frank Uible of the famed Pi Pizzeria have the restaurant know-how to make a place successful.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who had less-than-loving words for the Central West End eatery. A few months ago, I received a note from the folks at Gringo, poking fun at itself for its missteps and inviting me to give it another shot. With a new chef and a revamped menu, Gringo acknowledged that it hadn't been at the top of its game. I decided to give them another try. After all, if I had a dime for every mistake I've made, I would be writing this from an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora.

The changes have made a world of difference. On a recent revisit, Gringo showed that it had turned things around significantly. One of the more egregious offenders on my previous visits -- the misnamed shrimp cocktail ceviche -- has been rebranded more accurately as shrimp cocktail. What once tasted like flat chile sauce has been replaced with a zesty salsa, chunky with bits of onions and avocados.

A chimichanga filled with braised chicken, rice and black beans was generously stuffed, although I could have gone for more chicken and less beans. The taste was good, though, with tinga sauce (a traditional Mexican sauce of tomatoes and chipotle) giving it some tangy smoke.

Plus: a brunch menu!


Location Info

Gringo

398 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO

Category: Restaurant

Pi Pizzeria-Central West End

400 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO

Category: Restaurant

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9 comments
Deb45
Deb45

Since when do the boys of Pi Pizzeria have what it takes to make a good restaurant?? They were DAYS from filing bankruptcy when President Obama came through & called it the best pizza he ever tasted. Absent that endorsement Pi Pizza wouldn't even still be open much less expanding. But if hipsters want to pay $70+ for a bad cornmeal pizza & 2 beers - go for it. You can't fix stupid.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

$5 or more for a taco will keep me away

Rob Sewell
Rob Sewell

Every single person I have spoken to that has eaten at Gringo has had negative comments about their experience. I am always one to give a new establishement a try, but I am not one to waste my money due to the overall terrible responses. I live in the CWE and so do most of my friends....and we love to support local business. I just hope this place can turn it around.

Zac Miller
Zac Miller

I guess I'll give it another shot. I also experienced dry-ish tacos. They also have a really good Schlafly exclusive ‘Gringo Munich Negra’, a Mexican Munich Dunkel. The other thing that bothered me was the noise level. I could barely communicate with my buddy across the 2-top. Invest in some sound dampeners for the ceiling.

Eerie Mcdowell
Eerie Mcdowell

Yeah if they grind the crickets up just looses its appeal. ..lol

Patricia Ford
Patricia Ford

if you buy! lol no more cricket tacos though that was gross!

Eerie Mcdowell
Eerie Mcdowell

We''ll have to give it another try Patricia when I get back...

Ed Aller
Ed Aller

Looks like somebody starting paying for significantly more ad space.

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