First Look - ~scapeBy George Mahe
Photograph by Katherine Bish
Several of Larry Levy’s restaurants have become institutions—but we’ve always had to travel to enjoy them. Now the former St. Louisan has given us a reason to stay home: ~scape in the CWE. By lowering ceilings to a respectable level, Levy created a quiet, sexy intimacy that flows to all three levels. Downstairs is the slick 80-seat, glass-walled Wine Cellar; above, the Fountain Room doubles those seats and adds floor-to-ceiling windows, a demonstration kitchen and a fiber-optic chandelier that Chihuly would appreciate. In the main room, request a fan-backed booth, catch a mirrored glimpse of Maryland Plaza’s Bellagio-style fountain or reflect on the elegance of ultra-thin–stem crystal and black napery for black dresses. One order of the Parmesan Truffle Fries or the French-cruller–sized onion rings is sufficient to share; for the Barbecued Shrimp & Grits, it’s “let’s order another.” Extra points go to Levy’s partner Ted Koplar for transforming the rear alley into the city’s finest Euro-style courtyard. Alas, Levy is no Houdini: This ~scape will be his first and only.