Clayton >Cafe Provencal
Best lamb shank ever!. I've been to both many times (there used to be one on Clayton but check out the one in Kirkwood). The atmosphere is so friendly, we even met the owner! The food has always been great, you can choose from a three or four course pre-set menu that is offered for an amazing value. I have gone with and without reservation, but have never waited more than 20 minutes to be seated, even when it seems full. I dream with the lamb shank! but have tried many different dishes (including snails) and it never dissapoints. Everything from apetizers, salads, main courses and desserts looks carefully prepared (and I am not even getting paid for the advertisement, I promise!).
Can't get to France this weekend? This dining room should satisfy..
Owner Eddie Neill, with chef de cuisine Bernard de Coster, sous chef Brian Albers, and pastry chef Susan Pinker-Dodd, have created a country-French cafe that features rustic dishes prepared using classical French culinary techniques. You might have to tolerate a noisy dining room and close quarters, but Cafe Provencal provides a delightful taste of southern France.
Dinner might begin with tender, garlicky escargot or with a well-seasoned broth to whet the appetite. Another fine starter is the house pate, which changes weekly. For the main course, choose modest roast chicken or sumptuous grilled steak with bearnaise. The cafe's la vrai bouillabaisse, or "true" bouillabaisse, is a more authentic rendition of the dish than the seafood stew you might expect. It's not a stew or soup at all, but rather a fish broth flavored with saffron and ladled over whole smelt or a similar fish. Another excellent choice is bourride, fish poached in court-bouillon and served with aioli (garlic mayonnaise) over turned potatoes. For dessert, Cafe Provencal offers the best creme brulee in St. Louis. It's creamy and silky, with no trace of the gelatinous quality that characterizes lesser versions.
Exception value and portions. Thjis resteurant serves excellent food and large portions. First time I took a doggie bag home from a french rest.
C'est super!. Provencale is the only restaurant I would make a trip to St. Louis solely to visit. Having departed after spending the first 18 years of my life in town, I no longer have much reason to return -- but I still talk about this restaurant to all my friends! The food is always superb, and the service knowledgeable about all things French. Still the best escargot this side of le pays!! Fantastic for a date or a family dinner. Go as soon as you can.
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