St. Louis’ Vicia, Nixta Among Bon Appétit Best New Restaurant Finalists

St. Louis’ Vicia, Nixta Among Bon Appétit Best New Restaurant Finalists
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Bon Appétit Best New Restaurant Finalists Includes Vicia and Nixta

St. Louis, MO/August 7, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – St. Louis diners already know how delicious two of our favorite local restaurants are, and now the rest of the country is getting a hint.  Long time food publication Bon Appétit has named both Nixta and Vicia as finalists for its annual “Best New Restaurants in America” list.  Both are listed among the 50 best new restaurants in America, according to the magazine.  The list will be whittled down to 10 winners.  Both St. Louis contenders offer chef-driven cuisine that pairs locally sourced ingredients with on-trend cooking techniques.

Nixta is part of chef-restaurateur Ben Poremba portfolio which includes Elaia, Olio, and Parigi.  The kitchen is led by executive chef Tello Carreon, who combines a Guanajuato, Mexico upbringing and culinary skills with fresh ingredients to create upscale, contemporary Mexican dishes.  The Bon Appétit editors call Carreon genius for his “ambitious cooking that combines bold flavors from various regions of Mexico with stellar ingredients.”  The dishes they recommended include the cheesy, deep-fried flautas; the ceviche with its “plump, pristine shrimp”; the pulpo which they call “the crispiest pulpo (octopus) known to humankind”; and the chicken mole with its “deeply complex mole negro de Abuelita Concepcion” which is based on Chef Carreon’s grandmother’s recipe.  They also extol Nixta’s intimate space as both lively and modern, but they also warn (as St. Louis diners already know) you’d be wise to make reservations, because the small restaurant fills up fast.  They also advise diners to stick around past 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, when Nixta becomes Bar Limón: “Think live salsa, merengue, and cumbia, plus plenty of mezcal and tequila.”

Vicia may have an edge over much of the competition, since Bon Appétit editors are already well familiar with Chef Michael Gallina’s work at the internationally renowned Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Tarrytown, NY).  They come right out and say, “go here for a taste of the finest vegetables, grains, and meats known to Missouri.”  Gallina is praised for giving “the utmost attention to oft-overlooked vegetables” and for “turning out thoughtful, precise shared plates.”  The editors laud praise on the wood-fired, vegetable-forward cuisine with its “impressive char and deep flavor.”  They especially recommend trying the Goose Egg, which they call “gorgeously soft-scrambled eggs presented in what looks like a bird’s nest”; the “very clever” rutabaga carbonara; and the beef fat–basted carrots which the editors called “incomparable” and “a main course unto themselves.”  The Central West End eatery was just named to Eater’s 12 Best New Restaurants in America.

Only one other restaurant in Missouri, the Antler Room in Kansas City made the final 50 cut.  No St. Louis restaurant has made the Hot 10 Best New Restaurants in America list since Bon Appétit restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton introduced this list in 2009.  Nixta creator chef Poremba’s Elaia and Olio were named as finalists in 2013, as was James Beard winning chef Gerard Craft’s Niche.  The ten winners for 2017 will be announced on August 15th.

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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon is an experienced writer, editor, and broadcast journalist with a strong news background. She’s worked in radio and television news, and for national and international newswire services.

She began her career in public radio while still a student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (where she earned a B.A. in Communications). She soon made the jump to news/talk radio, handling assignments from field reporting, airborne traffic, and news anchor, to producing and hosting daily talk shows. She’s also worked in television, most recently as the inaugural producer for The Allman Report on KDNL-TV 30, and as a news writer and reporter for national and international newswire services.