The Crossing at New Town's Strange Meats and Store-Bought Treats: Review [UPDATE]

crossingatnewtown.jpg
The "Rue Royale Heifer" burger. | Caroline Yoo

Editor's note: A previous version of this review inaccurately named Wendy Noble as the chef. She left the restaurant before our critic's visits. We regret the error.

The author is also responding to some of the negative feedback this review has received. Read it by clicking here.

The Crossing at New Town
(3331 Rue Royale, St. Charles; 314-606-3262)
Hours: 5-11 p.m. Wed.-Fri., noon-11 p.m. Sat., noon-9 p.m. Sun. (Closed Mon. and Tues.)

A few miles off Route 370, New Town rises out of the St. Charles floodplain like the Land of Oz. The planned community appears out of nowhere, flanked by vast fields of genetically modified corn and a fiberglass giraffe hawking RVs. Once hyped as the next big thing in real estate, the development promised its residents a life that looked like the back lot for the movie Pleasantville: an escape to a simpler time when Old Glory hung from the town bandstand. Then the real estate bubble burst, and New Town failed to take off. Today, rather than a utopian enclave, it's just an "old timey" subdivision.

See also: Review: Salt + Smoke Distinguishes Itself in the Crowd of New St. Louis Barbecue

The Crossing at New Town (no relation to Jim Fiala's the Crossing in Clayton) is owner Kari Johnson's attempt at a community restaurant. The space is a replica of a train station made to look like it had been converted into a restaurant, when in reality it's been a restaurant all along. Inside, it's pretty in the way that an exurb display home is pretty: sixteen-foot ceilings, perfectly painted white walls with taupe accents, beaded chandeliers and a large wooden mantel meant to look like a colonial-era hearth. The outside patio is equally pleasant with a cobblestone patio, shade trees draped with white lights and a large babbling fountain.

The Crossing throws around culinary terms like "bistro" and "fine-dining," but it is neither. It's more like a cafeteria one might find in a corporate office building. A starter of thick, breadsticklike Bavarian pretzels had absolutely no salt, and the accompanying beer-cheese dip lacked zip. An "artisan cheese tray" consisted of grapes, summer sausage and cubes of cheddar and Gouda cheese, all of which looked like they were purchased at a wholesale club grocer.

The summer citrus salad was one of the Crossing at New Town's better offerings. Mixed greens, sliced strawberries and Mandarin oranges were topped with well-cooked jumbo shrimp. The shellfish had been citrus cured, giving them a faint floral flavor.

The crust for the flatbreads actually seemed homemade, but it was too thick and doughy and could have benefitted from more time in the oven. The buffalo version was sauceless and sparsely sprinkled with cut-up chicken fingers, blue-cheese crumbles and chives. The side of buttermilk-ranch dipping sauce was watery. Conceptually, the candied-apple flatbread was interesting: candied bacon, melted Brie cheese, sliced apples, pecans and a caramel drizzle combined for a sweet and salty gooey pizza, but again, there were not enough toppings to give the dish oomph.

See also: Review: Death in the Afternoon Makes Lunch the Most Important Meal of the Day

The "Galt House Porker," three pulled-pork sliders served on pretzel buns, was disappointing. Though the menu said the meat was smoked, it didn't taste like it. I'd assume the pork was simply cooked in a Crock-Pot — except then it would have been moist. Instead, it was bland and dry. I had to douse it with the sides of barbecue sauce (a cloyingly sweet "traditional" and a zesty Carolina-style mustard) to eke out any flavor.

"Mom's Crispy Chicken Salad" was the chicken-salad version of party potatoes: a melted slice of jack cheese and cornflakes topped the warm, mayonnaise-based dish. I would bet the farm that the chicken was canned. The unmistakable reddish hue of perfectly square chunks was telling.

Normally, I wouldn't review a burger at a non-burger joint, but I felt the need to do so at the Crossing at New Town — you can tell a lot about a place by whether or not it can properly execute the basics. I interjected "medium rare" when the server failed to take a temperature. It didn't matter. The patty came out well done, on an average bun with some average garnish and average cheese. It wasn't offensive — just what one could get from a kiosk at an amusement park. And the side of loaded fries? Covered with the candied bacon and shredded, grocery-store cheese.

If I were dragged against my will to New Town and needed a bite to eat, I'd order the "Spicy Hen." The pulled chicken is simmered in tangy barbecue sauce, covered with cheddar cheese and candied bacon, then piled on griddled bread. It's a respectable sandwich.

I was interested in the Crossing's "housemade" desserts until our server explained that the restaurant actually buys them in. I settled for another Schlafly.

If New Town is a soundstage trying to act like a city, then the Crossing at New Town is a one-dimensional façade trying to play restaurant. In this place for people who wanted to escape reality, all I want to do is escape.

Summer citrus salad...$11

Candied-apple flatbread...$8

"Spicy Hen"...$11

Follow Cheryl Baehr on Twitter at @CherylABaehr. E-mail the author at Cheryl.Baehr@RiverfrontTimes.com.





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28 comments
charper
charper

I have to disagree with the author's review!  I brought my one year old to The Crossing the other Saturday to meet up with a group for dinner, and we had an excellent experience.  The staff was so friendly and accommodating to our 3 toddlers, and the indoor air conditioning felt  wonderful after having walked around the community to watch wedding parties take pictures and listen to the live music.   People everywhere seemed happy as they enjoyed the picturesque and relaxing atmosphere.

For dinner I, too, ordered the Bavarian pretzels with cheese dip and they were a huge hit among both the adults and children.  I was also very pleased with my BLTA Chop salad and glass of Moscato wine!

Having recently moved to the Lake St. Louis / Wentzville area from University City / Clayton, I appreciate the uniqueness that this place has to offer if one is willing to venture out of the way a bit.  There was also a baby shower that was wrapping up on the outdoor patio when we arrived at the restaurant, which I thought was charming!  It was a great evening and everyone seemed in merry spirits!

mikevs
mikevs

Cheryl you've really out done yourself on this one,not since weekend update with Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain have I heard such a pointless rant. You bitched about the food, the building it was served in, the town the building was in, and then you even threw in something about R V s and a giraffe? Ultimately this has nothing to do with restaurants or food, just your dislike of St Charles and places that are to new, and clean for you to appreciate. Keep up the good work

mikevs
mikevs

It sounds to me like this review is based more on someone's dislike for New Town than the food. Fact is it doesn't have anything to do with it at all, it just sounds like someone bitching.

godshighway370
godshighway370

Totally, totally disagree with this review.  I don't eat much BBQ and have gone to The Crossing for specifically for the BBQ...IT ROCKS!!!!  I've also made suggestions to others to go give the restaurant a try and they've come back with nothing but rave reviews.  I think this reviewer had a hidden agenda.  The atmosphere was inviting, the head chef came out to personally greet not only myself, but the others I recommended the place to.  I believe the BBQ master has a gift and love the fact that the meat doesn't taste like the wood it's smoked with.  What I taste is the meat, and some very well made spices, rubs and sauces.  I actually wish they were open for lunch so I could take folks I work with there.

Keep up the GREAT work "The Crossing in New Town"...

hereyugo
hereyugo

It's hard to take this review too seriously when from the start the writer appears to have already made up their mind about the restaurant because of a negative opinion on what New Town is. 

DeaconDandy
DeaconDandy

St. Charles residents probably love this place because it gives them a different option than Applebee's.

Mayh3m
Mayh3m

I have only eaten at the crossing once and found it to be much like some of the people of New Town: trying to be something it's not. I brought a guest I had in town with the intent of having a nice dinner close to home. I typically will eat at Padavan's, if I'm going to eat anywhere in New Town since the Wine Bar only has basic bar food (which is the equivalent of what you can get at the Boschertown Inn or any bar serving frozen pizzas) and Cornerstone Cafe is just a small step up (The meatball sandwich is served on a hot dog bun which isn't even toasted). It's no secret Marcus is the star of that show and honestly too good to be cooking for a bar. Nice of you to carry your brother, Marcus. 

The Crossing experience was pretty basic. It is truly amazing the remodeling they did with what was there before. It was nice, warm and very inviting inside. The service was good but for the prices I would expect my waitress to open a can of coke and pour it into a glass before serving it. Most restaurants do this at a minimum. I know my beer comes in a glass (the bottle itself) but it would still be nice to have one to pour it into should I choose to. I also ordered the Galt House Porker (I was pretty excited to have the pretzel bun)  and my guest, she ordered a salad (let’s be honest, there is usually nothing exciting about salad, so all I’ll say is it was a salad with some attempt to make it better than what I make at home) with a burger. The pulled pork was nothing special and when I had to ask for mustard by standing at the kitchen, I was wishing I would have just drove to Massa’s. The bill was the only thing I was a 100% accurate with in my presumptions of what my experience with this new restaurant would be, it was overpriced for what I got.

If I may offer some advice on the above article it would be don’t take it to heart but listen to what she said and consider her comments (negative with the positive). Consider changing some of the offerings you have or improving on them. If people think they are bland, then they probably are. I don’t know the owners, but I think they did a wonderful job in presentation… they just fail on delivery. Running a business is difficult and you often have to change to keep customers coming back. If you want to have one time customers and just your friends from New Town as patrons, then keep doing what you’re doing. If you want people to rave about your food, then it needs to change. If they rave, more will come. If you have one unhappy customer they will tell 3 of their friends and eventually you will go the way Beatniks did. Good luck. 

kaylosciuto
kaylosciuto

Ha, good thing you don't know anything about New Town or the Crossing at New Town or I'd have to take offense!

Suckiesuckie
Suckiesuckie

You have obviously never been to New Town.... Why not come back as my guest and I'll show you around .. We can have a glass of wine at The Wine Bar ... a Steak at Padavans ....and then an awesome night of music at The Crossing.... There is much to see here in New Town ....

2rootchasers
2rootchasers

We disagree with Ms. Baehr's review of the Crossing at New Town. My husband and I recently dined at the Crossing at New Town! Our evening was delightful and our meals were delicious. We loved the décor of the building. We chose to dine inside but the patio looks amazing. I had the Mom's Crispy Chicken Salad. I loved the crunch! And I do not know what the correct term for the mayo sauce that came with the fries, but my husband kept saying I wish I could get the recipe for this. My husband picked the Galt House Pork Sliders. The pork was delicious and not at all dry. He loved the 2 BBQ sauces with his favorite being the mustard sauce. We both tried each others dishes and we both loved everything. We do not live in the New Town area but we love to take drives out there to look at the beautiful homes, the flowers and all of the lovely front porches. Every time we have been out that way, The Crossing looks very busy. All the people on the patio seem to be having a very good time. We are anxious to go back to eat at the Crossing again. And we both will probably order the very same items again. My husband and I eat out all the time. We will most definitely return there very soon!

really
really

This is a very funny and inaccurate review of a well like and thriving restaurant in New Town. I am quite sure that a former resident is whispering in Cheryl Baehr's ear. When were you here Cheryl Baehr? No one seems to have noticed you. Or maybe this is all a fabrication based on some helpful information from a former employee? Screenshot the receipt and let's have a look-see. Right?

really
really

This is a very funny and inaccurate review of a well like and thriving restaurant in New Town. I am quite sure that a former resident is whispering in Cheryl Baehr's ear. When were you here Cheryl Baehr? No one seems to have noticed you. Or maybe this is all a fabrication based on some helpful information from a former employee? Screenshot the receipt and let's have a look-see. Right?


silvershan
silvershan

When I read this earlier today I immediately felt like it was written by a person who already had negative feelings toward our neighborhood. So I took it with a grain of salt along with every other negative thing I've seen or read!

silvershan
silvershan

When I read this earlier today I immediately felt like it was written by a person who already had negative feelings toward our neighborhood. So I took it with a grain of salt along with every other negative thing I've seen or read having to do with New Town. I happen to love going to The Crossing and love what it adds to our community. I also love half priced bottles of wine and think the live music has been awesome! Keep it coming!

brookekristin91
brookekristin91

Cherly Baehr misses the review completely. She becomes overwhelmed with complaints regarding the "New Town Vision" and quickly becomes an unreliable source. 


Therefore I shall set the record straight...


I have eaten at the crossing three times since it has opened and my family and I love it. She is correct in the fact that it is not a large restaurant, but there in lies the charm. This is a place you can go and relax on the cobblestone patio surrounded by beautiful greenery while listening to an acoustic band. Neighbors at your surrounding tables open to talking and sharing a bottle of wine. The charm of this place is the size. Waiters who can recognize you and quickly attend to your needs, a menu just large enough to appeal to you in any mood. And for the record the pork sliders are absolutely delicious, better than Sugar Fire for any of my St. Charles comrades.


How sad it must be to have such a negative and pessimistic narrow view of places so full of character



My recommendations? Grab your friends on the next beautiful night and snag a patio table near the fountain. Order a few bottles of wine (happy hour they are half price!) and some apps and enjoy your night. New Towner's rejoice, we have a beautiful place to eat, drink, and relax... The Crossing is going nowhere. 

digitalcaffeine
digitalcaffeine

I have to admit that I have not visited or eaten at The Crossing, So I can not comment on your description of food or service. However, I can pretty much dismiss your entire review since it appears that you already had your made your mind up prior to your arrival and your false "facts" about New Town. I would paraphrase your last paragraph and say that if the RFT is your soundstage, then you're one-dimensional façade trying to play at being a food reviewer. 

YoureJealousOfNewTwn
YoureJealousOfNewTwn

New Town hasn't failed- it is only in the beginning of year 9 out of 20. And that building that now houses The Crossing was NOT a restaurant all along; it originated as the sales center back in 2004-2005 and has since been various restaurants and even a book store.

It sounds to me like you are just another New Town hater, trying to find some reason to turn up your nose at it. Sorry you have to try and bring happy people down for a living.

pschankman
pschankman

You might want to correct the location... two pretty different joints! 

Mayh3m
Mayh3m

@really Really?? Just because she didn't write a positive review?

NewTownProud
NewTownProud

@Mayh3m @really @Mayh3m @really Because she has many facts in her article that are incorrect. 


1) Wendy Noble is not the chef

2) The community has taken off-4 out of every 10 permits pulled for construction in St. Charles City are for New Town

3) The building has not always been a restaurant. It was originally a sales office for the community and has also been a book store.


Those are the factual errors. The rest is the writer's opinion which many of us who eat at the Crossing on a regular basis do not share. 


Sorry your experience was not up to the level Kari tries to deliver. I appreciate that your review was delivered in a constructive tone rather than completely negative. Kari is hearing all of the comments and incorporating them into making the entire experience better for everyone.


Several of us feel that the tone of this critique was negative from the start because of Cheryl's attack on the community. She lost credibility with her tone and further lost credibility with the incorrect facts stated above.


My critique of this Cheryl's critique is that she should only comment on things that she knows, and focus on the food and the restaurant. And try to deliver it in a neutral and constructive manner.


Based on my experience with this one review of Cheryl's, I will not be returning for her opinion on other restaurants.

DeaconDandy
DeaconDandy

@NewTownProud @Mayh3m @really Oh no, someone slighted the food in almighty St. Charles County, the most upscale and high falutin' foodie culture in America. Cheryl getting her facts wrong about the restaurant is pretty inexcusable, but I trust her opinions when it comes to the actual food.


Mayh3m
Mayh3m

@NewTownProud @Mayh3m @Really Point taken and I hope my point is not missed by Kari or the owners. The details you mentioned above are minor, their focus or take-a-way should be more on the fact someone came to their restaurant and had a bad experience. As a previous small business owner I would be more focused on what I can do to reduce the amount of churn or non-repeat customers. How do I meet their needs going forward? What do I need to change in my recipe (no pun implied here, I swear) to make them and perhaps more people go from liking my services to loving them? No one grows from just positive criticisms. Not all kids deserve trophies.

I personally would love to see any business in NT succeed (or any small business for that matter, anywhere). I dreaded seeing the business spaces turned in to small one bedroom apartments (people who own must love that they did that). In order to thrive as a business though you do have to provide a service people want and in a remote area you have to be able to provide a higher level to make people drive the distance to patronize your business. This is the reason stores have failed in the past and in New Town. When starting a business everyone has a dream and a recipe for how they think it will be successful. If you’re not willing to expand on that dream or change the recipe, people will go elsewhere. I hope the owners understand this and are willing to accept some neutral unbiased criticisms instead of what just friends, who only offer positive reaffirmations, are saying. There are some very good restaurants in the area and some very strong competition, they will have to really step up their game to be able to compete for the long term.

As for Cheryl’s tone…yes, she seems very full of herself to be doing reviews for a free rag. 

NewTownProud
NewTownProud

@Mayh3m @NewTownProud @Really Kari is taking all of the constructive input to heart. She is a VERY dedicated, service-minded individual who wants her customers to have the best experience possible. She has always accepted feedback to make her restaurant the best it can be. She has been working on an extended menu and some of the service issues you encountered. Constructive criticism is appreciated. Cheryl's criticism became personal when she attacked the community. Totally not appropriate for a RESTAURANT review.


@DeaconDaddy The uproar from New Town is not about the criticism of the food, it is about the way it was delivered. The entire article started negative by bashing the area, then continued with non-constructive observations that were over the top. I am not sure what "New Town failed to take off" and "New Town is a soundstage trying to act like a city," have to do with a restaurant review (plus they are incorrect). This tone is attacking. If the critic really wants to give suggestion that can be taken to heart for improvement, then she should avoid attacking statements such as "then the Crossing at New Town is a one-dimensional façade trying to play restaurant." This is an attack on an individual that has poured her soul into the restaurant and is committed to keeping this restaurant in the community and addressing the constructive feedback she gets. If Cheryl wants to be a credible source, she needs some work on her writing skills and fact-finding ability. That is my constructive criticism to her.


NewTownProud
NewTownProud

For the record, I have mixed feelings about giving this poor excuse for a review any more traffic except to set the record straight. Cheryl is probably being rewarded for writing this drivel because of the traffic it is receiving. I hope the EDITOR posts the comments he personally made about the accuracy and tone of the article. I would post what the EDITOR said about the quality of this piece, but feel it is the editor's place to make corrections.


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