4580 laclede avenue, st louis mo
tuesday november 23 2010, 11:30am-12:30pm
on a rare day when my work day did not begin until 3pm, my wife and i ventured over to the central west end for a three course lunch at brasserie by niche. brasserie serves traditional french bistro style food, and is the creation of niche chef/owner gerard craft.
we had an 11:30am reservation, which proved unessacary, with the restaurant being completely empty upon our arrival. brasserie's interior has a warm, classic design to it with wood floors and elegant details. if there was any music being played, it was very subtle, as i cannot recall there being any.
seated at a two top against the wall in the middle of the vacant dining room, we were immediately brought water and menus, and asked if we would like anything else to drink. with a nice list of house cocktails, craft beer on draft, and decent wine list, declining alcohol was difficult. had i not still had a workout and a shift at the store ahead of me, i would have most definitely partaken. we were given a few minutes to look things over, and within about ten minutes of being seated, we made our selections.
first up for me was the frisee salad. topped with a poached egg, the salad also included thick cut bacon and a nice bacon vinaigrette dressing. being that it was not yet noon, the salad served as the breakfast i had skipped, and was an excellent way to start the meal.
my wife's starter was the french onion soup, which was equally delicous. topped with a cheese that i beleive was gryuere, the soup was served piping hot with an abudance of onions under the layer of cheese.
after a short break after our first courses, our main entrees arrived. my selection was the brasserie burger. cooked medium by my specification, the burger was topped with blue cheese, pickled red onions, arugula, and served on a warm fresh bun. declining the kethcup i was offered, i dug into the burger which was good, but could have been better. i felt the beef was cooked closer to medium well than medium. perhaps i should have ordered it medium rare. the bun was also just ok. even though it was made fresh, its texture was a bit too firm, a sign that it too was probably a bit overcooked. all in all though, the burger was very tasty, and the fries that accompanied it were terrific.
my wife chose the quiche du jour, which was made with beets, mushrooms, and gruyere cheese. neither of us can recall the details on the accompaning salad, but both the quiche and the salad were very good.
for dessert, there were two options that we both had a hard time picking between, so we ordered both and shared them. above we have the floating island, which came highly recomended by both our server and the diners at the table next to us. this is a hard one to describe, and since i am not being paid to write this blog, i am not even going to try. i will say that it was quite good, and i would recomend it to anyone.
our other dessert choice, which trumped the floating island in my opinion, was a wonderful almond flavored pastry. served warm with vanilla ice cream on the side, the pastry was flaky and had a nice firm bite to it.
with the exception of the few small issues with my burger, the entire lunch was excellent. this was our second visit to brasserie (the first was for dinner) and i would love to return in a few months for either lunch or dinner to try some more of their excellent offerings.