There are some nights where I just can't decide what I'm in the mood for, which usually leads to me picking a restaurant off my "Need to Try" list that I don't know much about. Scape fit the bill. Here's what I knew about it before we headed over: it as in the Central West End. That's it. Upon entering, I could see why this place was popular. The interior decor is is warm and contemporary with big windows facing out onto the bustling Maryland Plaza and the private back patio is the perfect spot for a nice outdoor meal when it's not hot or freezing. So it's great for about 2 months a year in St. Louis.
Feeling a bit hedonistic, we men started off with the [symple_highlight color="blue"]truffle fries[/symple_highlight] and [symple_highlight color="blue"]black and blue mussels[/symple_highlight]. Who doesn't love moules frites? I'm a sucker for good truffle fries and had no problem scarfing down half the bowl. I would have enjoyed some sort of sauce to dip them in because, well, who doesn't love dipping fries into some kind of delicious concoction?
Neither of us expect that the Black and Blue Mussels would be THIS HUGE. This could have been (and probably should have been) my whole meal. The mussels are steamed in a classic white wine broth, then topped with a bacon chutney, jalapeños and blue cheese. A slight twist on a classic with good results. The blue cheese flavor was mild enough that I think blue cheese haters could enjoy this dish, as well.
The lady got the evening's special [symple_highlight color="blue"]Peach salad[/symple_highlight], which was composed of baby arugula, frisée, dried apricots, marcona almonds, and Parmesan cheese. This would have probably been a smarter dish to start with. Light & healthy with a summery flair. It was an A+ salad.
Food porn time. These [symple_highlight color="blue"]ahi tuna tacos[/symple_highlight] knocked it out of the park both visually. Lightly seasoned ahi tuna fills up freshly fried wonton "taco shells", which are then served with some salsa and guacamole. It's probably a dish best left as an appetizer unless you're a glutton who eats a pound of mussels as a starter.
Scape sure has their plating down, don't they? The dish below is the [symple_highlight color="blue"]Grilled Atlantic Swordfish[/symple_highlight], served with psychedelic cauliflower, sweet corn puree, pickled mustard seeds, and a tomato vinaigrette. I use swordfish as a gauge for how well a kitchen can handle their fish and this one was pretttttty, pretttttty good.
I went with the fish special for the evening, which was the [symple_highlight color="blue"]Striped bass set[/symple_highlight]. A filet of bass over sweet corn and black bean relish with salsa Verde and roasted tomato coulis. It was pretty, it was delicious and it was a great choice. The fish skin was so crunchy and flavorful, like a fishy potato chip (which actually sounds gross). It reminded me of something you'd find a nice restaurant in the Southwest or maybe even Mexico. I approve.
Aside from a not very good glass of sangria, my meal at Scape was enjoyable. The chefs obviously care about what comes out of their kitchen, with every dish delivering not just on taste, but also on looks. Service was very good and the restaurant's setting and location make it ideal for groups, romantic evenings out or a prelude to heavy drinking in the Central West End.
48 Maryland Plaza
St. Louis, MO