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 2008 Restaurants - Monarch Restaurant

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Monarch and Sutton
Chopsticks of Pleasure 7401 Manchester
Maplewood, MO
Rating: Chopsticks of Pleasure
A rare fine dining option in St. Louis. Good, not amazing, but not amazingly expensive either.

Saturday night my parents treated me to some fine dining in St. Louis at the Monarch Restaurant. Certainly it's not the caliber you'd expect in Chicago or NYC. It's a nice looking restaurant with an air of formality but not the snobbery. The six course tasting menu is fairly affordable and they happily accept shorts and jeans. These sort of restaurants are easily found in Chicago, but aren't so common in St. Louis. The funny thing is that Monarch Restaurant is on Sutton Street in St. Louis and I live on Monarch Drive on Sutton Road in Chicago.

The six course tasting menu costs $80 per person and each course was presented by the sous chef. The restaurant claims to be international fusion with influence from France, Asia and the American Southwest while several dishes included seafood. The food was excellent, though nothing was particularly daring or unique (except that the sorbet intermezzo was huge, instead of tiny like most places).

I will be honest and say that I was disappointed by dessert. That's not to say that dessert wasn't good, in fact it was very good, just not that special. There were three parts: chocolate custard, Red Velvet Cake and a bread pudding. The chocolate custard was good, but fairly standard and not memorable: despite it being the smallest item we did not finish it. The Red Velvet Cake had Cream Cheese Frosting with a hint of almond flavor which is very nice but in the end, it's just Red Velvet Cake: good comfort food I guess, but not very memorable. However, I will say that the Gooey Butter Cake Bread Pudding with Fried Ice Cream was most excellent and redeemed the rest of the plate.

So my final verdict is that it is a good restaurant, perhaps even excellent if you qualify it with "for St. Louis." If you're ever in St. Louis looking for a good meal with a modern flare that borders on fine dining, I can't think of another restaurant in St. Louis that fits that description with it's $100 per person target point.

The one other notable mention is that this dinner gave me an opportunity to try out my new camera in a low light situation. It took a few shots of trial and error but eventually I got the shutter speed where I wanted and managed some decent photos. You can see a little graininess from the high ISO that was needed but overall, I was pretty pleased by the larger, more sensitive CCD and the lens' Image Stabilization system.

Course descriptions and pictures are here.

Posted 09/01/2008 11:26 PM in Food, Restaurants, Reviews, St. Louis | Total Comments: (3)
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Dinner at Monarch Restaurant on Sutton Blvd. in St. Louis (Maplewood) which is funny because in Chicago I live on Monarch Dr. off of Sutton Rd.

  Here is the inside dining room. There is also a large bar and a dining room that opens onto the sidewalk. We had the six course meal for $80 per person.

Canape - Salad and fish on puff pastry   Cold Appetizer - Sesame Tuna Nachos with Fried Leeks   Beer - Delerium Tremers 8.5% Fruity Belgian Wheat   Warm Appetizer - Broiled Grouper with Heirloom Tomato, Sauteed Asparagus, Mushroom Lobster Sauce and Basil Jasmine Rice

Intermezzo - Spicy Mango Sorbet   Entree 1 - Halibut en Papillote, Wrapped in Potato on Spinach with Plum Reduction Sauce   Entree 2 - Braised Short Rib with Jus Gravy, Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes, Green Beans with Bacon and Rare Flat Iron Steak   Chocolate Custard, Red Velvet Cake with Creme Cheese Frosting, Gooey Butter Cake Bread Pudding with Fried Ice Cream

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