Tag - Restaurant Reviews

Frank Romano Joins BaiKu Sushi Lounge, Triumph Grill Restaurant as General Manager

Frank Romano Joins BaiKu Sushi Lounge, Triumph Grill Restaurant as General Manager

Romano brings with him a vast knowledge of food and wine and an inherent sense of creating a vibrant atmosphere – BaiKu Sushi Lounge & Triumph Grill Restaurant

ST. LOUIS, MO/June 24, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – BaiKu Sushi Lounge and Triumph Grill, two esteemed restaurants located in Midtown, are proud to announce the addition of Frank Romano as their new general manager.

Romano brings with him a vast knowledge of food and wine and an inherent sense of creating a vibrant atmosphere.  His background as the general manager for Robust Wine Bar is an asset for BaiKu Sushi Lounge while his experience in food and beverage combinations will make him instrumental in Triumph Grill’s evolution.  “He’s a seasoned veteran in the business who has a strong wine and beverage background, as well as a management style that works well with the Triumph Grill and BaiKu Sushi Lounge culture,” said Brad Beracha, President of REV Hospitality Group, which owns Triumph Grill and BaiKu Sushi Lounge.  “We work great together on menu engineering, and we plan on rolling out a new menu in August.”

The addition of Romano will enhance the restaurants’ atmospheres, create a new set of service standards, and help the businesses grow in new directions.

Romano is looking forward to working at both restaurants.

“It will be a pleasure working once more with Chef Eliott Harris,” said Romano, who worked with both Harris and Beracha while serving as general manager of Miso on Meramec.  “BaiKu itself is unlike any other sushi restaurant in town.  It’s a truly unique experience for our guests, and the sushi is delicious.  As for Triumph Grill, it has so much to offer from breakfast and lunch to dinner, and it features a private party space.  The design and vibe are unique – I don’t know of anyone who gets to work every day in a place that has a motorcycle museum and dealership attached to their restaurant!”

BaiKu Sushi Lounge is a high-end sushi lounge in St. Louis, located in the boutique Hotel Ignacio on Olive Street.  BaiKu Sushi Lounge serves authentic sushi and sashimi, using the freshest fish.  The restaurant features a lunch and dinner menu, as well as a happy hour from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  For more information about BaiKu Sushi Lounge, visit http://www.baikustl.com or call (314) 896-2500.

Triumph Grill is the sister restaurant of BaiKu Sushi Lounge and is known for its delicious American cuisine and unique atmosphere. Located in Grand Center next to the Moto Museum and Moto Europa, Triumph Grill offers multiple private dining areas that can accommodate up to 35 people for sit-down meals and up to 50 people for standing cocktail parties.  For information about Triumph Grill, visit http://www.triumphgrill.com or call (314) 446-1801.

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Source: 24-7 Press Release

Published on STLRestaurant.News by M.S.

Top 10 Best Asian Restaurants in St. Louis

Top 10 Best Asian Restaurants in St. Louis

Blend of Cultures Represented Among STL’s Best Asian Restaurants

St. Louis, MO/April 15, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Best Asian Restaurants – Asian food is a broad category.  It includes the cuisines of many nations. Most Westerners may think of it as Southeast Asian and East Asian, but South Asian, Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines are also included.  It also includes the micro-cuisines of subcultures within those regions.  Some Asian fare crosses national lines.  Some are the creations of immigrants who left their native countries and created new dishes by applying their traditional cooking techniques to new foods found in their new lands.

That blending of old world technique and new world ingredients is the root of what we call Asian Fusion cuisine.  It’s a blending of cultures across regional and national lines that has become quite popular in the U.S. and other Western nations.  St. Louis is, of course, no exception.  So it shouldn’t be a surprise that when we went looking for the Gateway City’s favorite Asian restaurants, nearly half of the top ten spots are filled with restaurants offering Asian Fusion, including the top spot!

Topping the list is Lona’s Lil Eats at 2199 California Avenue in St. Louis’ Fox Park neighborhood.  This place began in a stall with a single gas-grill at Soulard Market.  Their fried dumplings quickly became a favorite stop for shoppers.  Then in September 2015, the cafe opened, offering diners fresh Asian fare with a soul food vibe.  You can still get those famous dumplings at the restaurant, along with make-your-own giant rice paper wraps, which is what they’re most famous for…that and the small town, Chinese style hospitality.  But then, Lona’s Lil Eats is St. Louis’ favorite Chinese restaurant too.

We checked the customer reviews and found that many of the Asian restaurants that made our top 10 list last year, are still local favorites.  There are some new faces too. According to local diners, here are the top 10 best Asian restaurants in St. Louis:

1. Lona’s Lil Eats (4.64 stars/370 reviews) Asian Fusion, Vegetarian, and Chinese in Fox Park, 2199 California Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 899-5582.
2. Pad Thai (4.54 stars/192 reviews) Thai Food in South County, 12676 Lamplighter Square, Saint Louis, MO 63128, (314) 843-0999.
3. Smiling Buddha (4.44 stars/75 reviews) Asian Fusion, Desserts, and Salad in Oakville, 5544 Telegraph Road, Saint Louis, MO 63129, (314) 845-8233.
4. Himalayan Yeti (4.44 stars/75 reviews) Indian, Himalayan/Nepalese in Northampton, 3515 South Kingshighway Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63139, (314) 354-8338.
5. Tai Ke (4.40 stars/105 reviews) Taiwanese in University City, 8604 Olive Blvd., Saint Louis, MO 63132, (314) 801-8894.
6. Kimcheese (4.30 stars/286 reviews) Asian Fusion in Chesterfield, 13435 Olive Blvd, Chesterfield, MO 63017, (314) 485-1408.
7. Guerrilla Street Food (4.29 stars/227 reviews) Filipino Street Food in Tower Grove East, 3559 Arsenal Street, Saint Louis, MO 63130, (314) 529-1328.
8. Monsoon Vietnamese Bistro (4.27 stars/168 reviews) Vietnamese in Manchester/Ballwin, 14248 Manchester Road, Ballwin, MO 63011, (636) 256-8838.
9. Seoul Taco (4.27 stars/526 reviews) Korean and Asian Fusion in The Loop, 6665 Delmar Blvd., Saint Louis, MO 63130, (314) 863-1148.
10. Truc Lam (4.26 stars/114 reviews) Vietnamese in Tower Grove South, 3737 Gravois Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63116, (314) 776-1299.

Honorable mentions (Best Asian Restaurants):

Kounter Kulture (4.80 star/46 reviews) Asian Fusion in Lindenwood Park, 3825 Watson Road, St. Louis, MO 63109, (314) 781-4344.  This little shack of Asian fusion heaven actually got the highest score, but didn’t have enough reviews (minimum 50) to make the top 10.  It’s not too surprising since they just opened as a brick-and-mortar incarnation of Kitchen Kulture last fall.  The little carry out restaurant occupies the location vacated when Pint Size Bakery moved to bigger digs.  Now that the weather is warming up, making their outdoor-only seating more appealing, Tower Grove Farmer’s Market favorite is sure to become a farm-to-table favorite among south-side diners.

Private Kitchen (4.39 stars/36 reviews) Chinese, University City, 8106 Olive Blvd, University City, MO 63130, (314) 989-0283.  This is one of the more unique restaurants in the St. Louis area, Asian or otherwise.  Private Kitchen is a reservations-only restaurant offering original and authentic Shanghai-style Chinese food.  The twist is that your order is taken when you make book your table.  That way owner and chef Lawrence Chen can shop for the ingredients, ensuring they are the freshest possible.  It also allows him to create some extraordinary menu items that require days of preparation.  Everything is good—the soup dumplings are amazing.

Two Plumbers Offers Craft Beer & Video Games in St. Charles

Two Plumbers

St. Charles’ Two Plumbers Brewery + Arcade Now Open

St. Charles, MO/March 27, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – St. Charles County has a brand new way to play.  Two Plumbers Brewery + Arcade at 2236 First Capitol Drive opened for business on March 18th.  It’s one of just a handful of establishments nationwide to combine the arcade bar experience with house-brewed beer.  Two Plumbers was named to honor Mario and Luigi, Nintendo’s famous video game brothers who first emerged to save New York from the monsters in its sewers in 1983.  As Mario Brothers, they went on to rescue the hapless Pauline from the great ape Donkey Kong, and to arcade racing fame in Mario Kart, becoming the faces of Nintendo’s brand.

Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade, St. Charles, MO

Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade, St. Charles, MO

The new brewhouse and arcade near Lindenwood University is the collaborative creation of childhood friends Robert Schowengerdt and John Simon.  A longtime video game fan, Schowengerdt’s background is in animation.  Simon is a microbiologist.  With a decade of home brewing experience, plus time spent in the breweries of Six Row Brewing Co. and Ferguson Brewing Co, he’s leading the brewing operations.

Two Plumbers Brewery + Arcade is an adults-only (over 21) establishment offering small-batch craft beer.  There are ten taps with seasonal offerings and two year round beers: a honey blond called Pauline (the damsel in distress in Donkey Kong), and an American brown ale called Braunen Mantel (German for “brown coat”), which is a nod to the rebels in the sci-fi TV series Firefly. You’ll also find the wares of other craft brewers like Firestone Walker (Buellton, CA), Founders Brewing (Grand Rapids, MI), Logboat Brewing (Columbia, MO) and others.

The arcade and bar occupies more than 3,000 square feet in an unassuming looking strip mall.  Inside there’s an industrial vibe and seating for about 80.  The space is centered by long, beer hall style tables, and surrounded by the bright, inviting lights of more than 25 video games and a wall of 10 pinball machines.  Customers will find everything from the classic Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and Frogger to Mortal Combat and imported Japanese gaming consoles.

Schowengerdt and Simon are part of an emerging beer making community west of the Missouri River.  St. Charles County has been called a craft beer desert.  A few breweries have begun to fill that void.  Two Plumbers is the newest.  As such, they’re hosting a Marquee event during this year’s St. Charles County Craft Beer Week (April 22-29, 2017).  Join them Friday, April 28th from 8:30 p.m. to midnight for Brewery + Arcade Night.

Two Plumbers Brewery + Arcade is open Tuesday – Friday from 3:00 p.m. to Midnight and Saturdays from noon to 1:30 a.m.  Be advised that this is a craft brewery and arcade, not a restaurant.  So if you want food, you’ll probably want to bring your own.  The owners say they are working to add (locally produced) Dan O’s frozen pizza.  It should be available at the bar in the next few weeks.  Even so, customers are welcome to bring in their own food, or have it delivered to them at the arcade.

Contact Information:

Two Plumbers Brewery + Arcade
Owner: Robert Schowengerdt
Brewmaster: John Simon
2236 First Capitol Drive
St. Charles, MO 63301
Phone: (636) 224-8626

Olive+Oak in the Heart of Old Webster

Olive+Oak, Webster Groves, MO

Olive+Oak – Possibly St. Louis’ Best New Restaurant of 2016

Webster Groves, MO/December 27, 2016 (STLRestaurant.News) (Olive+Oak) – New restaurants come and go.  The good ones catch on and quickly become local favorites.  The great ones feed generations and become legends.  As it approaches its one-year anniversary, Olive+Oak’s star is still rising.  But then the whole approach to this new restaurant in old Webster has been thoughtful, reflective, and inventive.  When Mark Hinkle and Greg Ortyl opened their place last January, the goal was to create a restaurant that’s fun, friendly and delicious.  Starting with a great location, simply elegant interior design, and ingredient-driven food was the way to do it.  Olive+Oak’s popularity is the result of a series of solid decisions well implemented.  The passion the owners and staff have for nourishing their customers is obvious, and those customers are eating it up.  O+O is full of heart.  And that’s by design.

Olive+Oak

Olive+Oak

It was the tragic losses of both men’s sons to congenital heart disease that brought Hinkle and Ortyl together.  The men and their wives have each formed organizations (the Ollie Hinkle Heart Foundation and the Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation) aimed at raising awareness of the condition and helping families affected by it.  Their restaurant is filled with subtle remembrances.  A tree of life sculpture near the entrance adds to the modern decor at Olive+Oak.  A large wooden heart adorns one wall near the front.  Another heart in neon sits on a shelf above the bar.  Then there’s the wall of pictures near the kitchen: families with children who suffer from congenital heart defects.  Mark Hinkle and his son Oliver are there.  So are Greg Ortyl and his son Oakes.  It’s for them the restaurant is named: Olive+Oak.

Before O+O, Hinkle had spent 18 years working in the restaurant industry.  Although he’s always loved working with food, his restaurant career really began after college, at Hugo’s Frog Bar and Fish House in Chicago, and eventually included a management post at Annie Gunn’s in Chesterfield.  Olive+Oak Executive Chef Jesse Mendica had been Executive Sous Chef at Annie Gunn’s before following Hinkle to his new spot in Old Webster.  In 2007 Mendica had been part of the Annie Gunn’s team invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House.  In 2012, she was the only woman to compete in the St. Louis Sous Chef Iron Chef Competition.  She’s developed a culinary style that is focused on using the best possible ingredients to create food that is approachable and delicious.

Mendia has developed a contemporary American menu that changes often, keeping up with the seasons.  It begins with classic starters like oyster—on the half shell, roasted or Rockefeller.  Or try the Blue Crab Gratin made with calabrian chile peppers and served with celery and pretzel bread.  There’s also Yellowfin Tuna Meatballs, chicken wings with a maple-red curry glaze, or gnocchi with a lamb ragu and herbed goat cheese.  And that’s just for starters.

Prime, wet-aged steaks and expertly prepared seafood make up the “meat” of the menu.  Although the ingredients are generally familiar ones, they’re put together in creative and delicious ways.  Take the Prime Strip for example.  It’s prepared with blue cheese fonduta (Italian style fondue with Fontina cheese), ale braised onions and arugula, then served with grilled potato bread.  Their entrees include some playful options too, like Biscuit + Gravy, but of course, with an interesting twist.  They cover fresh buttermilk drop biscuits with rabbit and tasso ham stew.  Their Cape Scallops are perfectly cooked and served over cheddar grits with andouille sausage, tomato, roasted peppers and collard greens.  To add to the fun, you can add grilled lobster tail to any entrée.

No matter what you order for dinner, it will be delicious and they will have the perfect libation to accompany it.  Another well thought out ingredient in Olive+Oak’s success is their bar.  It starts with an expert mix-master and carries all the way through to their expansive and well curated wine list.  But then bartender Chelsea Little is a culinary school graduate who went on to learn mixology behind the bars at The Libertine and at Brasserie by Niche.  She’s the creative flavor behind Olive+Oak’s expertly mixed cocktails along with their fine selection of draft and bottled craft beer.  The bar staff at O+O can mix pretty much anything you like, but Little’s signature cocktails (listed by number on the daily menu) are both entertaining and refreshing—sort of like the restaurant itself.

Even after eleven months in business, this is still one of the hottest dining destinations in St. Louis’ bright culinary scene.  It can literally take months to get a reserved table at O+O.  Walk-ins are allowed, but reservations are strongly recommended.  On a Friday or Saturday night, they’re a must have.  But plan ahead.  As of this writing the wait for a 7:00 p.m. table for two on a Friday night at Olive+Oak is more than two months (late March), although there are some openings in late January for dinner before 6:00 p.m. or after 9:00 p.m.  You’ll only need to plan a couple of weeks ahead for a prime-time table on a weeknight.  Reservation phone lines open at 2:00 p.m. each day, or you can make them online through O+O’s website.  Seating at the bar and spots at the rail are first-come first-serve, but you should expect to have to wait awhile.  That’s because everyone wants to try the hottest new restaurant of 2016.  And those who’ve already tried it just keep coming back for more.
Contact Information:

Olive+Oak
Owners: Mark Hinkle and Greg Ortyl
102 W Lockwood Ave
(Old Webster)
Webster Groves, MO 63119
Phone: (314) 736-1370

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Header picture courtesy of Pinnacle Contracting, Inc. – picture in body of article courtesy of Olive+Oak

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