Photography by Kevin A. Roberts
So some genius says, “Hey, we’ve got a fine restaurant here. How about we sweeten things—literally—by adding a Bissinger’s counter?” That candy counter’s right at the entrance. It’s a felicitous, though unexpected, feature at EdgeWild. Otherwise, the obvious attempted vibe at this eatery, which shares a parking lot with Chesterfield Mall, is “rustic California winery.” It has exposed beams, natural wood, lots of stone, and towering ceilings. Wine barrels are in abundance, emblazoned with EdgeWild’s tree logo. The circle of windows in the main dining rotunda offers a grand view, not of Napa hillsides, but of Interstate 64 snaking its way down into Chesterfield Valley. A dinner here at sunset is an event for that view alone.
As for the dinner, be prepared. War and Peace isn’t as long as EdgeWild’s menu. We panicked, getting lost somewhere between the bison meatloaf and corkscrew Milano, then recovered, only to get bogged down again in the Santa Fe Stack and tuna tacos. You’re not going to cover the entire menu in a month or two of visits, so your best bet’s to focus on the more outstanding offerings.
We started with a creamy mound of goat cheese, dappled with pistachios and drizzled with a honey-sweet quince syrup. Ask for extra crostini for dredging in the cheese; this appetizer is generous enough for four. The advertised “truffle salt” does little for some extremely good pommes frites. They benefit beautifully, though, from an inventive kalamata–olive oil dip and squiggly curls of fresh Parmesan. The charcuterie is adequate; the sweet dried figs go well with the meat, and so does a piquant, house-made mustard.
Salads are excellent. A wedge of Romaine, slapped quickly on the grill, then ladled with a salty-garlicky house-made dressing, is delicious. The generous shavings of Parmesan and garlic-infused croutons balance the taste and texture. Almost as worthy is a toss of field greens with candied walnuts, roasted pears, blue-cheese nibbles, and a balsamic vinaigrette.
A soup of wild mushrooms and brie? The sound of it alone demands a try. It’s worth it: The mushrooms are blended into a soup thickened with cream and balanced with a wonderful, smoky touch of the bloomy-rind cheese.
Main courses are called “Full-Bodied Entrees,” which manages to misuse both terms. Still, you won’t be disappointed with any of them. Beef makes four appearances: 1. in a strip steak with roasted garlic, Parmesan, and herb potatoes; 2. in a trio of tenderloin medallions topped with shiitakes and blue-cheese butter; 3. in a sirloin capped with truffle cream and lumps of crab; and 4. in the petite filets. Unless you’re feeling particularly carnivorous, consider the filets. With an arugula pesto and a scatter of vegetable sticks sautéed in basil olive oil, they are light and satisfying.
Wrapping a loaf of ground bison with pancetta is a neat idea. Bison’s meatiness would be too one-dimensional; the earthy tang of pancetta rounds out its flavor. In another dish, medallions of pork are accompanied by flavorful roasted carrots and garlic-smacked mashed potatoes. The pork’s perfectly grilled, yet needlessly compromised by a “cherry molasses” glaze that’s sweeter than those Bissinger’s chocolates. This is delectable pork, expertly grilled. Sure, St. Louisans like their barbecue-type sauce sweet and liberally applied. But put a ramekin of it on the side, and everyone’s happy.
The polenta is creamy, fragrant with Parmesan, and while it’s an offbeat match for salmon, it works beautifully. The chunk of salmon is roasted on a slab of apple wood after being encrusted with chopped shallots and bacon crumbles. Out of the oven, it gets a drizzle of apple-infused beurre blanc. Every element of this dish is in harmony—it’s a standout. You’ll be equally pleased with a pasta-and-seafood combo that would fit perfectly on any Italian restaurant’s menu.
Any of EdgeWild’s sandwiches would make a fabulous lunch. Consider thick-cut bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and fried eggs on toasted five-grain bread slathered with pesto aioli. Or look into the mozzarella, provolone, brie, and cheddar with roasted mushrooms on ciabatta.
There are also specials. A cornmeal-crusted sea bass appeared on a recent visit, along with a bistro steak with an inventive risotto, made with aged Gruyère. EdgeWild also offers an entire menu of gluten-gone-missing items, a thoughtful touch. You can also go for half-baked chocolate cookies, blueberry cobbler, cheesecake…prepare yourself for a formidable dessert tray.
EdgeWild’s approach to wine is noteworthy. Despite the “winery” in the name, there are no grapes ripening nearby, unless vineyards have been planted behind Macy’s. Instead, the restaurant’s aging unfinished wines from several West Coast wineries under the EdgeWild moniker—and offering a splendid menu of other wines from that region. (Prices are entirely reasonable.) Regulars might consider joining the Wine Club.
EdgeWild has more than 300 seats, not including a spacious patio that makes for delightful alfresco evenings. The bar is among the most comfortable around, big but convivial.
For its size—and its similarly voluminous menu—EdgeWild’s service is quick, friendly, and competent. And while nobody’s ankle-deep in this winery’s grapes, why lookee here: a Bissinger’s counter. Yeah, let’s see that at a Napa winery restaurant.
The Bottom Line: An array of American food, upscale, in a handsome, easily accessible setting.
550 Chesterfield Center
Lunch and dinner daily
Average Main Course: $24
Reservations: Good idea. It’s busy, despite its size.
Dress: Like you’re being interviewed on FOX 2 about your brilliant new novel.
Chef: Aaron Baggett