Riverfront Times April 9, 2015 : Page 34

Apricot-glazed cedar-plank salmon with sun-dried cranberry-almond-gorgonzola relish. St. Louis’ Favorite Italian-American Cuisine Unlimited Pizza, Pasta, Salad, & Appetizers at our New Lunch Buffet! Monday -Friday 11 am -2 pm Sunday 11 am -4 pm The best pizza, pasta & salad in town! 310 Debaliviere (Between Forest Park Pkwy. & Delmar) 314 • 367 • 7788 stlitalian.com! Order online at SPRING CO COCKTAIL LI LIST S T DERB Y WATC H PA R T Y Saturday, May 2 Big Hat Contest l R Raffles l Prizes l Fun Bets $4 Woodford R Reserve l Mint Juleps 1201 Strassner Dr • Brentwood, MO 63144 (314) 644-2772 • twinoakwoodfired.com KENTUCKY KENT Y Nuts continued from page 33 38 Plays APRIL 22-26 38 Performances 38 Places SHAKE 38 www.sfstl.com 34 RIVERFR ONT TIMES Things began falling apart with the lack-luster chicken and Brie quesadilla, which needed additional sweetness to cut through the rich cheese. The scant drizzle of rasp-berry sauce proved insuffi cient. I’m not sure why the dish was served with sour cream and salsa. The former offered nothing extra. The latter clashed. Walnut Grill’s turkey club would have been better without the dry turkey meat. The star of the dish was the candied bacon — a pleas-ant mix of sweet and salty that paired well with the honey aioli and cranberry relish. The greens, tomato, pepper jack and provolone cheese, however, seemed thrown on. The Parmesan-crusted chicken, served over a wonderfully soft gnocchi, is some of the best-cooked poultry I have had in recent memory. This dish would have been a real standout had it not been drowned in a mix of tomato-basil cream sauce and cold, diced tomatoes. The effect of the mismatched temperatures was off-putting. I appreciated its fl avor, however, compared to the wild mushroom chicken — this cream sauce badly needed seasoning. The biggest failure was the “Salmon Bal-samico,” an overcooked, dry piece of fish served with a balsamic sauce so over-reduced it tasted burnt. Walnut Grill’s crab cakes were possibly the simplest thing on the menu and, because of that, by far and away the best. The restaurant uses little fi ller — just a generous portion of jumbo lump meat, a little onion and a very few breadcrumbs for binding. Creamy dijonnaise sauce brightened the plate. Things quickly went back to overwrought once we came to dessert. I was underwhelmed by the “Caramelized Walnut Ball” dessert. I anticipated a fried, walnut-coated ball of ice cream, but instead received a rock of vanilla coated in pulverized walnuts and topped with chocolate and caramel sauces. (I guess that’s what they meant by “caramelized”?) It was a fi rst — I’ve never had to eat ice cream with a knife and fork before. For a nightcap, I tried the “Smoked Old Fashion” — Walnut Grill smokes the liquor over wood chips. It’s aggressive on the nose but surprisingly subdued on the palate. Maple syrup eliminated the bite. Purists may scoff, but it was pleasantly quaffable. Here’s the thing — the “Thai Pork Mac n Cheese” turned out to be pretty good. Would I have preferred the pork served as a simple sandwich? Absolutely. Walnut Grill may have the capability to please everyone, but it fares best when it leaves the kitchen sink where it is. Q For more about food and St. Louis restaurants, visit Gut Check: blogs.riverfronttimes.com/gutcheck. APRIL 9-15, 2 015 riverfronttimes.com

St. Louis Italian Restaurant And Pizza Company

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