Tag Archives: French food St. Louis

Three Flags Tavern

After months of hearing rave reviews about Three Flags Tavern, I was excited to see for myself what all of the buzz was about. Walking into the restaurant on a cold winter night, I immediately felt as if I was walking into someone’s home by the warm greeting and offer to take my coat. Although the dining area and bar are divided into two rooms, the entire space feels comfortable and cozy. The dark walls, large map on the wall, and wood wine racks give it a rustic, yet almost old world vibe.

Three flags 8
The Amelia

The drink menu offers several craft cocktails. I chose the Elderflower Paloma made with tequila, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, lime juice, and a Stiegl Radler float. This smooth drink went down quickly and while I had every intention of trying something else for my second round, I couldn’t help but order another. I also had the opportunity to sample the Amelia made with gin, lemon juice, and unique flavors such as crème de violette, velvet falernum, and a cava float. While I cannot tell you much about the ingredients in the Amelia cocktail, I can tell you that it was quite tart and packed a little punch.

The eclectic food menu is driven by a mix of Spanish, French, and American influences (Get it? Three Flags!). I started with off-the-menu Deer Creek oysters flown in from Washington. They are served with a choice of cocktail or mignonette sauce. The oysters were medium in size, sweet, and delicious. For an appetizer, our table of four shared lobster beignets and Manchego fritos. The lobster beignets were fried on the outside with a creamy lobster center. They were topped with a bit of powdered sugar which added a little sweetness. These were a huge hit at our table and were gone within minutes. While it was my fault for not reading the menu closely, I was surprised that the Manchego was served fried. Although Manchego keeps with the Spanish theme, frying it makes it taste no more special than a mozzarella stick. What made this dish unique was the side of dulce de membrillo (jelly made from the pulp of a quince fruit). The cheese definitely tasted its best when the two were paired together. While I enjoyed the appetizers, two fried dishes were too much for me.

I ordered the Connecticut style lobster roll for my entree since I had yet to try this popular dish. You may order the dish Maine style (served cold and mixed with mayonnaise and celery) or Connecticut style (served warm with drawn butter). Both come in a poppy seed bun with a side of onion rings. The large pieces of lobster were sweet and tender but the bread didn’t seem to add much to the dish so after a few bites, I ended up taking the lobster out of the bun and eating it alone. The onion rings were as good as any I’ve ever had but after two fried appetizers and lobster covered in butter, I was not in the mood for them. I was able to try the sturgeon with mustard greens, clams, and lobster broth. We were expecting quite a bit more broth than what was served but the clams were large and the sturgeon was cooked and perfectly seasoned. Having been honored with the Riverfront Time’s best burger of 2014, my friend was excited to try the ground brisket burger with cheddar. This was served with a side of fried pickles and was so large that it was difficult to even take a bite. However, he ranked it as one of his top 5 favorite burgers in St. Louis. With additional side dishes available, we chose brussel sprouts and papas bravas. The papas bravas were large pieces of potato tossed in a tomato sauce and the brussel sprouts were served with apple and smoked shitake which provided a unique flavor. Both sides were more than enough food for four people.

Since I was amongst blue cheese lovers, we ordered the blue cheese with honeycomb and slices of toasted baguette for dessert. The sweetness of the honeycomb paired with blue cheese was an unexpected but great surprise and something I would definitely order again.

Overall, I was really pleased with my meal at Three Flags. I wish that the menu offered a little more explanation about dishes because I probably would have made different choices to lighten up my meal a bit. This is a great place to go either with friends or on a date night. Be sure to make reservations because it can be difficult to get a table at this popular spot.

Three Flags Tavern is located at 4940 Southwest Ave St. Louis, MO 63110

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Brasserie by Niche

Brasserie by NicheI had forgotten how much I love the Central West End in the summer until a few days ago. I was walking around the area one evening with friends and the patios were full of people enjoying dinner and drinks. Performers were playing music on the street corners and everyone seemed to be enjoying the abnormally cool summer weather. I decided I couldn’t let another great St. Louis night pass by without heading down to this neighborhood for dinner.

I chose Brasserie by Niche and easily made an online reservation less than 24 hours in advance. We were quickly seated on the outdoor patio which spans the length of the front of the restaurant. All of the doors were open to the restaurant allowing a nice breeze to pass through. Tables inside were covered with red checkered table cloths and brown parchment paper giving it the feel of an upscale but casual French café. From our table, we could hear a cellist playing across the street which added to the atmosphere. Another couple dined outside with their dog at their feet. I have to say that I love nothing more than a restaurant that allows dogs (and even provides water bowls).

Ramble onThe menu was divided into several sections including amuse-bouche (literally translated as mouth amuser), salads, hors d’oeurves, cheeses, du jour dishes (daily specials), main courses, and sides. There were several traditional French dishes on the menu such as croque madame (ham, cheese & egg sandwich) and escargot but also several other non-traditional choices. They offer a selection of French wines, specialty cocktails, beer, scotch, and bourbon. My husband ordered a Perennial Saison de Lis and I chose Ramble On, a specialty cocktail with gin, lemon, raspberry liqueur, and grapefruit garnish with caramelized sugar. I enjoyed the tart cocktail but the uniqueness and thought put into the garnish is what made the drink.

Individual warm, fresh baguettes with chilled butter were brought out while we waited for our food. For a starter we chose the yellow tomato tart with both cherry and heirloom tomatoes, basil, and goat cheese on the side. The warm tart was made over a thin, crispy crust and was the perfect size for sharing. The tomatoes were extra sweet and tastedYellow tomato tart like they were picked that morning. While I was tempted to order the trout, I couldn’t come to a French restaurant and not order mussels and fries. I can’t say that they were better than the mussel at Planter’s House but they were good. You could really taste the actual flavor of the mussels through the simple broth of herbs, crème fraiche, and white wine as opposed to other broths that tend to overpower them. They were perfectly cooked and the portion was just right. I also appreciated that they cleared my bowl of shells half way through and left me with a new one. The side of fries were amazing. They were thin, crispy, and exactly how I would choose a fry to be made. My husband ordered braised beef served with glazed carrots and bacon lardons over a potato puree. He is not typically a bacon lover but he said that it went really well with the super tender beef.

Far bretonWe decided to be adventurous with dessert and chose the Far Breton with crème fraiche and prune ice cream. This traditional French dessert, similar to a custard with fruit mixed in, was served in a small tart dish. While I was nervous about the prune ice cream, I found that it was much less scary than I anticipated.

When I think of French food, I picture a stuffy restaurant with a complicated and intimidating menu. However, I really enjoyed everything about this meal, from the music playing across the street to the food and the service. The laid back atmosphere makes Brasserie a place that is good for a night out with friends, a first date, or a celebration.

 

Brasserie is located at the corner of Laclede Ave and Euclid at 4580 Laclede Ave St. Louis, MO

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