Off the Eaten Path

Exploring St. Louis, one meal at a time…

Mas tapas, por favor!

So I recently went to Mosaic with a group of friends. It’s a tapas restaurant in downtown St. Louis. I used to work downtown, so I would pass this place all the time; it was nice to finally be able to step foot inside and try the food!

I started with the lobster salad: lobster, guacamole, valencia oranges, and chive sour creme. It was very light and tasty. I’m normally not a big fan of chives, but it actually worked here. The presentation was neat as well. I loved how it was stacked so neatly! I didn’t want to mess it up…but of course I had to dig in.

lobster salad

Next were the pot stickers: suckling pig (!!), shaved celery, thai peanut sauce. This wasn’t my favorite. The potstickers were okay, and I liked the crunchiness of the shell, but come on, Mosaic — if you’re going to be bold enough to call the filling ‘suckling pig’, you gotta back it up with some bold flavors! It was just missing something. It wasn’t BAD, it just didn’t have that wow factor. And I didn’t like the peanut sauce. It just tasted like creamy peanut butter. Ew.

One thing I love about tapas is that they’re so small, you can sample a wider variety of food! More food = happy Stephanie. Next we went with the short rib mini burgers next: maple smoked white cheddar, truffled brioche bun, smoked ketchup, potato croquettes.

Now THIS had wow factor, guys! Definitely one of the best parts of the meal. The burgers were tiny, which sucks, but I suppose they were supposed to be tiny (we are talking tapas here). It was so good. The meat was fantastic! And the smoked ketchup was amazing. I’m not a huge ketchup fan, but this was NIIIIICE.

The potato croquettes were like nothing I’ve ever tried before. They were fluffy and light and went nicely with the smoky ketchup.

Last but not least *drumroll please*….BREAD PUDDING! I’ve been on a bread pudding roll lately, and Mosaic did a really nice job with theirs. It had tequila soaked raisins (!!!), romepope anglaise, and dulce de leche ice cream. I have no idea what romepope anglaise is, but whatever it was made the bread pudding all the more delicious. I have to add this to my top 5 bread pudding experiences of all time.

The service was super friendly, and our waiter was nice and helpful and refilled our drinks promptly. He also had no problem splitting the checks for us.

Overall scores?

Food: 4 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 5 stars

Service: 5 stars

Value: 2 stars

For me, this will be more of a special occasion place (because $55 for dinner is not cheap!), but I will definitely return. Yum!

April 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sushi sushi sushi!

Mmm…I love sushi. It’s too bad I live in a landlocked state like Missouri. I long for the day when I can move to the coast and have really fresh stuff.

Until then, I’ll settle with what we have here in St. Louis. Today I went to Kampai Sushi in the Central West End. I had heard so many things about their sushi and how lovely their fish was. Lovely, fresh fish? Count me in!

The place was very nice. No frills at all. Very simple. Very welcoming.

I walked in a little after they opened for dinner and was seated at the sushi bar. Yay! I was hoping for some fun interactions with the sushi chefs.  I was sorely disappointed. Maybe they were having a bad night. Not a single word was exchanged between us. Is this normal? I thought sushi chefs were supposed to be chatty and fun! I saw a tip jar sitting on the table, and it was full of single dollar bills. Well…how am I supposed to tip someone who won’t even talk to me?!? Psssh.

Luckily, they made up for their silence with some GREAT food.  I started with the complimentary miso soup and house salad.

you've seen one, you've seen them all...

I spy tofu!

The house salad was typical. Nothing to shout about. Tasty, but run of the mill. The miso soup was actually quite delicious. One of the more flavorful ones I’ve had in St. Louis. Very yummy broth that had just the right amount of saltiness. I could have used more tofu, but I’m never happy with the paltry amount that most restaurants give you in their soup. Oh well…it was free. Enough complaining, Stephanie!

For my meal, I ordered the Dynamite roll. It had cucumber and spicy tuna inside, with seared albacore tuna, ponzu sauce and scallion on top. I also ordered a few pieces of nigiri to round out my meal. Salmon, unagi, white tuna.

dynamite roll on top, unagi, white tuna, salmon nigiri on bottom

The Dynamite roll was, well….DYNAMITE. It was very tasty, and packed just the right amount of punch to my tastebuds. Very flavorful, and the fish was very fresh. I enjoyed the crunch of the cucumber in the roll. The albacore tuna on top of the roll melted in my mouth. It was very smooth. It’s hard to describe. But it was delicious.

Dynamite roll

This is what the roll looked like inside

The salmon, unagi, and white tuna nigiri were very good, too. The fish used was obviously quite fresh, and this stuff also melted in my mouth. It was like buttah, yall! BUTTAH!

delicious unagi!

yummy salmon and white tuna

Finally, to finish my meal, I had the red bean mochi. It was VERY good, although I’d prefer a different presentation. It was a little tricky trying to figure out how to eat it. They gave me a teeny tiny fork, which wasn’t of much use at all. It would have been easier if they would have cut the mochi in half to make it easier to eat. Ah well. It was VERY good mochi ice cream. And they have tons of flavors! Red bean, strawberry, banana, coffee, mango, etc. I’m probably missing a few.

red bean mochi ice cream

All in all, it was a great meal at Kampai. I left feeling very satisfied and not disgustingly full. Success!

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments