You wouldn’t think that food could change a city. But that’s exactly what Travel + Leisure praises Mosaic for, declaring that its innovative dishes and inspired design scheme have helped bring the former urban industrial St. Louis Garment neighborhood from “grimy to glam.” Since the their 2004 opening in downtown St. Louis, Mosaic restaurants have sprouted up in airport and Des Peres locations, bringing with them the contemporary gourmet menu of founder and head chef, Claus Schmitz. The highly trained, award-winning culinary whiz folds fine ingredients into internationally inspired tapas, soups, and entrees, whipping up dishes such as roasted grass-fed bone marrow or sustainable Chilean sea bass and pairing them with seasonal cocktails and fine wines. Outside the kitchen, Schmitz’s dining room’s interior design is equally appealing, with high ceilings, a freestanding bar, and tall windows that stream in sunshine while filtering out the glares of the jealous, hungry cars parked outside.
“While far too many menus babble with details, Three Sixty’s undersells,” a reporter for St. Louis Magazine wrote after a visit. “’Smoked salmon chips’ in no way covers what arrives: a couple of tablespoons’ worth of rough-ground, fragrantly smoked salmon atop a big crispy, salty potato chip, topped with tiny capers and nibbles of sweet red onions.” Even the name, 360 St. Louis, merely hints gently at the bejeweled panorama of downtown St. Louis and birds' eye view into Busch Stadium that sprawl before the eatery. The 6,000-square foot rooftop bar, part of the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, also surrounds diners with a dramatic wine wall, flat-screen TVs, and toasty fire pits.
From behind an expansive outdoor bar and several indoor bars, mixologists craft shaken and infused cocktails, drawing on inventive ingredients including pumpkin puree, house-made ginger liquor, and local apple cider. Bartenders also supply an extensive selection of wines and beers, which guests can nurse while grooving on the dance floor to DJs spinning four nights a week.
While barkeeps tend to libations, Executive Chef Rex Hale draws upon more than 25 years of culinary experience that has taken him everywhere from South Africa to the British Virgin Isles. In 360 St. Louis' open kitchen, he uses locally sourced ingredients to create globally inspired, upscale bar food such as short rib sliders and handmade fish tacos. St. Louis Magazine considers his wild mushroom and goat cheese pizza a "must-try," while his lobster risotto is "realized extravagantly."
At each of Drunken Fish's upscale restaurants, chefs create traditional and specialty sushi, along with stir-frys and other Japanese entrees. Fresh tuna nigiri and 10 oz Teriyaki glazed strip steak make for tasty pairings with signature cocktails, such as the Madame Butterfly with raspberry vodka, mango puree, and pineapple juice. Drunken Fish has three convenient locations within St. Louis, each featuring modern decor.
Globe lights hang from Delmar Lounge's red awning, beckoning nighthawks in to enjoy homestyle Cajun fare and live music late into the night. The kitchen churns out house-smoked barbecue ribs, southern-style shrimp and grits, and po boy sandwiches until 2 a.m. every night of the week, fortifying bodies and fueling feet in preparation for live DJ dance parties, jazz sets, and hourly potato sack races that sustain the convivial atmosphere until 3 a.m.
To the sounds of rollicking live piano music, Ragin Cajun Piano Bar celebrates the cuisine and culture of Louisiana with a tempting menu of crayfish, bourbon-glazed steaks, juicy burgers, and spicy andouille. Bowls of crayfish étouffée in a creamy roux and chicken wings slathered in a piquant voodoo sauce evoke images of the sunny South, and an open-air balcony and a second-story patio frame stunning views of a river town that shares the Mississippi with New Orleans. On weekends, live piano players bang out popular rock and pop tunes as patrons sing and dance along, contrasting with somber weekday lectures on the differences between English common law and Napoleonic code.
Located near Lindenwood University, University Diner serves up homestyle cuisine classics alongside hookahs packed with fragrant shisha. In the morning, cooks griddle loaded omelets and sirloin steak breakfast skillets. Later in the day, they grill burgers and prepare hearty entrees such as grilled pork chops with mashed potatoes and carrots. As an added convenience, the eatery stays open 24 hours a day Thursday–Saturday.