The Restaurant at The Cheshire
When I was told we'd be celebrating my mom's 164th birthday at The Restaurant at The Cheshire, I asked which one: Basso? Fox & Hounds? The Market? No, I was told, The Restaurant at the Cheshire. It took my tiny brain a little while to process it, but I finally got it. I had never been to the Cheshire before it was remodeled, but I was thoroughly impressed with the restaurant's space. It was huge. Whoever renovated it did an excellent job of keeping the traditional bones of the building and giving it a modern and slick feeling. What did scare me was the fact there were only a handful of people in there when we were seated at 7pm on a Friday. Was this an off night or was there a reason no one was there? We have a lot of food to cover so no dillydallying! Our starters included the house smoked salmon ($15), the local tomato salad ($10), and the ahi tuna ($15). The best part of St. Louis summer are the tomatoes, I think, and this salad let them show off. The thick, juicy slices were topped with Maytag bleu cheese, young mustard greens and a Cabernet vinaigrette. The two fish appetizers were equally light, reminiscent of summertime. The salmon had a delicate smoked flavor and was topped with capers, paper thin red onion slices and a dill citrus mascarpone. My favorite of the two was the ahi, though. I've found that most American restaurants either completely over season their tuna or they leave it as-is. If I wanted to eat plain raw tuna, I could do that at home. Aside from not being seared, this ahi reminded me much more of the flavorful Japanese tuna tataki. Citrus, carrot soy glaze, Fresno chiles and cilantro made this a stand-out dish. Lots of flavor in there.
Okay, the starters were all good. Our server had been funny and knew the menu like the back of his hand. I was still nervous: would the entrees be letdowns? But they weren't! My choice for the evening was the Skuna Bay Salmon ($29). It was cooked absolutely perfectly. The skin on the bottom was as crunchy as a potato chip, the top had some delicious crispy bits and the center was still nice and pink. The beet and ginger sauce that was drizzled over it added just a small amount of sweetness, but it was such a nice combination that I'll definitely be trying it at home. The fish rested on a warm black kale and beet salad, but I would have preferred it rest on another piece of salmon.
My dad's choice was the spit-roasted pepperedduck ($29) served simply with the same black kale salad as above. I only had a small bite, but I thought it was very good, and I don't even really like duck! I would actually consider ordering this if we went back again. He decimated his plate, so I guess he enjoyed it, as well.
Before ordering the entrees, the debate at the table was whether the Peppered Ahi Tuna entree was worth $36. That's a lot of money for some barely cooked fish! Once the birthday girl tried the appetizer of ahi, she was swayed. Good decision. The fish itself was prepared simply and had chanterelle mushrooms, local greens and mashed potatoes along with it. A light truffle-balsamic glaze added a sweet and earthy highlight. The little crisps on it--potato, I assume--added a nice bit of crunch. My one critique of the dish were the mashed potatoes. Ahi and potatoes are just not a duo you often see together. I could have done with something else.
One of the Cheshire's long-time standards is their Grilled Prime Rib & Yorkshire Pudding ($40). Good lord is that a huge portion of meat. As you can see below, this is not a lightweight dish. This is the kind of dish that takes a few days to digest, like you're an anaconda. Twice mashed potatoes, a humongous piece of Yorkshire pudding and a cup of Horseradish cream come alongside your slab of meat. I managed to steal a bite when my grandpa wasn't looking. Maybe that makes me a bad grandson, but it was worth it. Note: the meat does not normally come cut like that; it was done by request.
The team at The Restaurant decided we hadn't had enough to eat at this point and smothered us with desserts. First came the Vanilla Creme Brûlée ($8) topped with fresh berries. Then came some sort of crisp that I shoveled in my mouth (I should probably note that by this point I'd had quite a few drinks...). Then a whole platter of mini chocolate desserts. Finally, my favorite. It looked just like vanilla ice cream, BUT IT WAS NOT. It was a blueberry roobios tea ice cream, served with fresh blueberries, lemon curd and whipped cream. It reminded me of the best blueberry waffles ever. Huge props to the chef that made that.
The Restaurant at the Cheshire is expensive, yes, but it is worth the price. Every single dish that evening was good to great. I highly recommend a visit if you're looking for a romantic evening out with a special someone or want to celebrate. It can accommodate large parties, has a vast wine room and offers a plate of meat large enough to induce a coma.
7036 Clayton Ave
St. Louis, MO