Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tree House

I finally had a good reason to go to Tree House as it is the perfect place for a vegetarian birthday dinner. I figure on your birthday, you shouldn’t have to worry about what’s in each dish, but then again, it’s a lot harder to narrow down your choices from the menu!

The restaurant is in a great location off of South Grand and has an intimate feel to it. Yet, due to the wood floors and high ceilings, it still feels spacious as well. While the d├ęcor may be simple, the flavors in the dishes we tried were quite complex.

I thought it was a little funny that there were no typical “salad section” on the menu since that is often what vegetarians are stuck ordering in most restaurants. Although, my date did get quite a bit of cabbage in the “Brussels Sprouts Salad”, she mostly picked out the Brussels sprouts and got a spicy surprise by eating a habanero!

I actually had no trouble making my picks and immediately chose the Fried Green Tomatoes off the “small plates” section as my starter. The crunchy breading and firm tomato flavor was delicious with the goat cheese on top. (You can also order it with the vegan boursin cheese! Several of the dishes had a vegan option so I thought that was cool.)

Fried Green Tomatoes and Brussel Sprouts Salad
 There are only a handful of “large plates” on the menu so it really is easy to make a decision and the “Street Tacos” stood out for me. Each taco had a unique flavor that really stood out and altogether quite filling.

I also got to try the “Raw Noodle Bowl” and while I loved the texture of the bean noodles (just like Vietnamese noodles!), it wasn’t quite as satisfying served cold with raw vegetables. The heat of the dish actually came from the seasoning and was a bit too overpowering for my taste.

Raw Noodle Bowl and Street Tacos
The largest section of the menu is actually the “Snacks” section and you could probably make quite a meal out of sharing several of these dishes. We actually started our dinner off with the “Red Curry Deviled Eggs” and the “Tree House Sliders”. The sliders were stacked pretty high with the mushroom tempura piled up so we had to squeeze them down just to take a bite. But the deviled eggs were by far the best dish of the night due to the creamy curry that served as the filling.


Now I’m just curious if they’ll change up the menu according to the season so as to tempt me to return. And whether or not they’ll add some desserts as well?

The other section I forgot to mention were the cocktails. The cocktails and wine list actually covered one side of the menu as well as on the chalkboard next to the bar. As you can see in the picture above, we went with a sweet lemony drink, Rhubarb Rickey, which was very refreshing with the spicier dishes!

Resources:

Tree House = http://treehousestl.com/

RFT review = http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2013-10-31/restaurants/tree-house-south-grand-vegetarian-seitan/

Libertine for Lunch

Thanks to a fellow foodie coworker, I finally got to try Libertine after hearing so many wonderful things about Josh Galliano’s new restaurant. Since I work in Brentwood, it was easy to get to the restaurant in the heart of Clayton and got lucky with a parking spot on the street only a block away.

The restaurant was smaller than I had thought, but there was some outdoor patio seating and several spots at the bar, so it was no problem at lunch time to find a spot, but I bet a reservation would be necessary for dinner.

For lunch there was a much smaller menu, but in a way it worked out better because it was so hard to choose. Several items under the “Bowls” section caught my attention and my coworker ordered the Fried Chicken Salad. I was intrigued by the Creamy Waldorf Dressing, which matched up well with the fried chicken crispiness.

I went with the Chicken & Gnudi Dumplings which was served as a chicken thigh on the bone surrounded by a handful of dumplings. I could have devoured an entire bowl of gnudi by themselves since that was the best part of the dish. While the chicken was tasty, the darker, greasier meat is not my most favorite section and I probably would have ordered something else had I known there was deboning work to do.

Even though the lunch menu is short, I was also interested in the “Boards” selection since I saw small sandwiches served up on planks with French fries piled high. This is certainly a place I would love to try a few times since the dishes sound so interesting and there is even twice as many items listed on the dinner menu!

What I couldn’t ignore was the dessert section due to the “Libertine Candy Bar”. Salted Caramel Semifreddo, Hazelnuts, Ganache, and Chocolate Dacquiose. This was just like a frozen Snickers ice cream bar with wonderful melting chocolate going everywhere. It was worth getting messy for!

Now I just can’t wait to go back on a Sunday night for his famous fried chicken! I just might have to write up another review…

Resources:

Libertine = http://www.libertinestl.com/