Sidney Street Cafe
For over 6 years, Sidney Street has been my family's go-to restaurant for special occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries and any time I demand to go. Having missed out on Sidney Street the last few years due to living abroad, I was excited to make my grand return. I was pleasantly surprised that the restaurant had finally redone their interior. It's always been a dark and moody restaurant, but it has certainly raised the romance and elegance factors. The back room, in particular, looks much, much better. We were seated in the back and began reviewing the appetizer board that is left on each table. The descriptions on both the board and the menu are limited (or nonexistent) which is where their great waitstaff come in. Ask them about any dish and you'll get an incredibly detailed description that will leave your mouth watering and your brain conflicted. As we debated which dishes to order, I started off with a house cocktail called Italian In America made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Nonino Amaro, cappelletti Vino Apertivo, Lemon Juice and House Made Mint Bitters. I only knew what 3 of the ingredients were, but the waiter convinced me it was worth the try. I recommend it.
The complimentary bread given out at Sidney Street is a guilty pleasure. It's not normal table bread--it's BEIGNETS! You start your meal off with little fried dough pillows. Genius.
The appetizer decision was the easiest of the night. We got two orders of the Smoked Shrimp and Pumpkin ($12) that consisted of smoked shrimp, pickled shrimp, Toulouse sausage stuffed head, popped amaranth, bourbon compressed pumpkin, parsnip chips, and a pumpkin shellfish broth. I was sold at sausage stuffed shrimp heads, which ended up being highlight of the dish for me. You may be squeamish about popping shrimp heads into your mouth, but once they're fried they become so crispy and flavorful, it's sensational. It makes me sad to think about all the shrimp heads I trashed over the years when I could have been eating them.
Entree ordering at Sidney Street is always tough. How does one pick between 5 or 6 dishes that all sound amazing? I checked out the menu online before we went. Duck was one option. Monkfish another. It was the next thing I saw that made my decision the easiest it's ever been there. Rabbit and Waffles. Oh my. If you can read this description and tell me it doesn't sound good, you're either a liar or a fool. Chicken fried rabbit leg, breakfast sausage (made of rabbit), collard greens, sourdough waffles,and mustard/sorghum ice cream. Two of us went for the Rabbit and Waffles, while the other two went for the Monkfish with lightly smoked meat, tortellini of Monkfish liver, ragout of shellfish and Sump coffee dashi.
Every entree comes with a soup or salad and we all opted for the Apple Salad special. Unfortunately, I can't remember all the details of the salad, but it had a few different apple components, some mixed greens, red onion and bleu cheese. It was light and very tasty.
Monkfish, if you haven't had it before, is reminiscent of lobster in its texture and somewhat close in flavor, though I believe it has a more complex taste. It's one of those things I tend to order whenever I see it. The meat itself had just a hint of smoke to it. The tortellini had the distinct monkfish liver flavor that I love. It was a simple looking but extremely complex tasting dish. I would not have been disappointed at all if I had ordered their as my main.
The monkfish was no match for the Rabbit and Waffles. The Rabbit and Waffles was the awesomest. The real star of the dish, as you'd expect, is the duo of rabbit. The rabbit sausages were plump and flavorful, but the Chicken fried rabbit leg won. The outside was super crunchy and well seasoned and the inside was stuffed with hot, delicious rabbit leg. The texture and flavor of the rabbit leg reminds me of duck confit, which is to say it is delicious. If I were Chef Nashan, I would get a big hunk of that pulled rabbit meat and shove it between the two waffles and eat it like a sandwich.
The best bites were the ones that had the rabbit, the sweet ice cream and the waffle all together. Fantastic. I know this won't be on the menu next time I'm in due to the seasonal menu changes, but I'm damn glad I got to eat it.
Sidney Street Cafe remains one of St. Louis' best restaurants for good reason. They take simple ingredients and dishes and elevate them into something truly special. Their plating is gorgeous. They take their food seriously but make it fun at the same time. I would not be at all disappointed if Chef Nashan decided to go the way of Gerard Craft and open a number of different places here. I know they would all be killer.
2000 Sidney St
St. Louis, MO 63104