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Photo by Carmen Troesser
Dressel’s Public House
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Kevin A. Roberts
Sure, there’s the unexpected menu, with rib-eye– and rice-plumped burritos, as well as kimchi-adorned burgers. But this tiny place’s atmosphere is wonderful, from the chalkboard to the wooden tables that are inevitably crowded with lunching office workers. 13435 Olive, 314-485-1408, kimcheese.net.
The Fountain on Locust
To coin a phrase, you can’t spell “fountain” without “fun.” The Fountain has a way of charming one and all, with the “world’s smallest hot fudge sundae” (an adorable, mouse-size dessert), a renowned selection of soups, booze–and–ice cream cocktails, a candy counter, and famously opulent bathrooms. 3037 Locust, 314-535-7800, fountainonlocust.com.
Dressel’s Public House
Warm and well-worn wood forms the nooks and crannies at this cozy space. It’s anchored by a horseshoe-shaped bar that offers one of the city’s finest perches for slowly partaking of a pint and snacking on pubfood that’s seasonal, approachable, and delectable. 419 N. Euclid, 314-361-1060, dresselspublichouse.com.
There are nights when the local news just goes better with pad prik king. The news comes from a billboard-size TV. The pad prik king comes from a kitchen that knows how it’s correctly prepared: green beans fried in an oily red curry that’s mixed with pork—your most authentic choice. 2031 Dorsett Village, 314-439-1888, thaikitchenstl.com.
The Kitchen Sink
This idiosyncratic charmer moved from a hole in the wall to an elegant apartment building. Its Creole-, breakfast-, and sandwich-focused menu continues to surprise and amuse diners. Service is sometimes haphazard, but the terrace is great. Now, if the restaurant would go back to being open before 11 a.m., we’d be in heaven. 255 Union, 314-454-1551, letseat.at/thekitchensink.
Banh Mi So #1 — Saigon Gourmet
Claiming the best spring rolls in town may seem immodest, but this unassuming storefront in the Dutchtown neighbor-hood is as modest as they come. In addition to the spring rolls, the many variations of the name-sake banh mi sandwiches—which are served on miniature French bread with a perfect balance of crunchy crust and fluffy interior—merit the No. 1 rating. 4071 S. Grand, 314-353-0545, banhmiso1.com.
Sauce on the Side
One meal can easily become two here. The eatery elevates the humble calzone to gourmet heights, stuffing huge dough pockets with ingredients like salami, spinach, and numerous cheeses. Then again, maybe you won’t have leftovers. Multiple locations, 314-241-5667, eatcalzones.com.
Five Star Burgers
Burger greatness has much to do with what can be layered between halves of a bun. But just as important is a kitchen’s ability to temp a patty. For our buck, nobody in town nails a medium-rare order as consistently as chef-owner Steve Gontram’s standout burger joints in Kirkwood and Clayton. Multiple locations, 314-720-4350, 5starburgersstl.com.