Fun fact that you’ll wish you had known a couple of weeks ago: every year around Valentine’s Day, St. Louis Community College teams up with Four Seasons St. Louis and a celebrity chef to put on their annual “Falling in Love…in Five Courses” signature scholarship fundraiser. Past guests have included Lidia Bastianich and Hugh Acheson; this year’s featured chef David Burke.
As exciting as it is to have Burke in town for one night, it was more exciting to hear him announce the opening of Grand Tavern by David Burke near the Fox, coming this fall. Full details on that here.
Burke’s focus is taking classic American dishes and adding a contemporary spin to them, as you’ll see from the dishes below. Some are a little kitschy, but they’re a reflection of his playful attitude, not something he found on Pinterest (…probably).
The dinner started with passed apps, including deviled quail eggs, maple-pepper bacon, octopus and chorizo kebabs, fried oysters with chipotle aioli (my favorite), goat cheese tarts with ratatouille and grapes, and herb potato wafers topped with ‘caviar cream dip’ (is there any other way to eat potato chips?).
Once guests were seated, the main courses kicked off with pastrami smoked salmon served with a horseradish mousse, mustard oil, and mini corn cakes, which really spoke to my Jewish x Southern roots.
The salmon was followed by “Duck Duck Duck”, which, as you can imagine, consisted of mostly duck. The breast meat was cooked beautifully, but it was the Weight Watchers-friendly foie gras pie underneath it that won my affection. His all-American steakhouse plate—steak, mushrooms, and lobster—was easily the dish of the night. 50-day dry-aged sirloin was seared off and served with a lobster dumpling and an egg filled with a black truffle and bone marrow custard (paging Mike Randolph), topped with sautéed mushrooms.
The meal ended with butterscotch panna cotta with ‘exotic spices’ and crispy meringue, served alongside cheesecake pops, which I don’t have a finished photo of because sometimes you just get too excited about dessert and you eat it.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Burke delivers at Grand Tavern, and I’m hopeful that with him and Michael Gallina opening up shop here, we’ll see some more talent move our way. Fingers crossed.