Monday, June 27, 2011

Satisfying the Senses at Five

I know it's been a while...  in fact it's been so long that I've been back to St. Louis twice to visit this stunning bistro.

First a little background.  Five Bistro ( is a relatively new restaurant located on The Hill  in St. Louis, MO.  They only have a sample menu online because it changes daily at the restaurant.  Chef Anthony Devoti serves beautifully fresh farm-to-table food.

His goal is to bring in each of the five senses for his diners.

Five is on the slightly rundown, but surprisingly charming Hill.  Inside, it has a smooth, jazzy feel.  Giant canvases painted by Tamara De Lempicka tie in the 1930's feel.

People don't go for the look of the place, though.  I'm sure you can guess what sense they're trying to satisfy.

Our memorable meal began with an amuse bouche of crostini topped with veal, ham, brie, and a white cheddar sauce.  I was extremely disappointed that I only got one bite... I even asked our waiter if I could get it as an appetizer.

We decided to start with a Tagliatelle Bolognese, which was composed of braised pork sausage from a local farm, braised tomato, black pepper, butter, parmigiano-reggiano and Italian parsley.  Immediately I was hit with scent of the strong Italian cheese.  With each bite I first got the flavor of the parsley, which was then followed by taste of the sausage.  My only complaint is that I was sharing it, and the portion was a little too small to split.

For my entree, I went with the Thyme Rubbed Half Chicken (also from a local farm).  It was accompanied by a housemade black pepper potato gnocchi, wild local morel mushroom, caramelized onion, hickory smoked bacon, local arugula and pan jus.

Together, the dish was wonderful.  The bacon gave it an awesome saltiness, which was perfectly balanced by the sweeter gnocchi and onions.  In contrast to the strong flavors present in the dish, the arugula brought a surprising but welcomed softness.

On the downside, the gnocchi could have been a little fluffier.  I was also disappointed in the lack of mushrooms on the plate.  The earthiness of the morels could have tamed the smokiness of the bacon.  I could hardly find any.

Despite being sufficiently stuffed by this point, I decided I had to try one of their desserts to truly finish off the meal. I could choose from a sorbet, pastry, or chocolate tasting.

I went with the pastry, a vanilla goat cheese custard sandwiched between two sugar cookies, drizzled with honey.  It was one of the most interesting desserts I've ever eaten.  I first tasted the honey, followed by the smoothness of the custard, and finally came to the sweetness and soft chew of the cookie.

I was sickeningly full, but happy to be so.

Usually I aim to try new restaurants when I return to a city, but I knew upon leaving Five that I would be back....

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