4584 laclede avenue
st. louis, mo 63108
once owned by chef gerard craft located in soulard directly next door to niche, taste has moved to the central west end, and is now run by chef/owner adam alnether. alnether, who was formerly chef de cuisine at niche and executive chef at brasserie by niche, has expanded the menu to make taste a place you can come for a full meal as opposed to just drinks and snacks. the food menu, however, is not the only thing that has been expanded. master mixologist ted kilgore, who was a staple at the old location, has an incredible menu of libations with more than thirty unique choices.
upon arriving at taste, we were greeted by a doorman outside. after confirming our name was on the list, we were led inside. after passing through a set of thick black curtains, we entered the intimate candle lit dining room, and were shown to our two top with views of both the kitchen and bar. alnether's goal in the new taste was to channel a 1920's speakeasy, and i think he has achieved his vision. with that being said, taste is probably the darkest restaurant i have ever dined at, and as i refuse to use flash, my pictures certainly suffered from it. while it is nice to have good pictures, this blog is by no means my priority when dining, and i am just not willing to use an actual camera (all pics are from my iphone) or go great lengths to get as good of pictures as possible.
to get things started on the cocktail front, my first choice was the suffering travis. served in a tiki glass, this was yamazaki whisky, broker's gin, rhum barbancourt, hibiscus, lime, grenadine, and ginger beer. this was a very refreshing drink, with a great aromatic quality to it that i assume came from the hibiscus leaves. carrie opted to start with the subtle hustle, featuring aperol, cocchi americano, lemon juice, passion fruit, and champagne.
for food, we got things going with a cheese plate, featuring smoked gouda, camembert, and a third offering that i cannot recall. all three cheeses were excellent, with the camembert lending itself well to being spread on the crisp bread provided.
after the cheese came an order of the chicken meatballs. these were served in a spicy tomato sauce, and while they certainly were not bad by any stretch, they were the weakest dish of the night in my eyes.
for the second round of cocktails, i went for what is called taste's foundation, made with broker's gin, flora de cana gold rum, rittenhouse rye, barola chinato, don's spice mix #2, maple tincture, and angostura. now i will admit that i do not really know what half of those ingredients are, but mixed together they made for a deliciously boozy and complex drink. carrie's second cocktail was the immigrant punk, comprised of milagro reposado, taste vermouth, and grapefruit agave nectar.
moving on to the larger plates, we have braised pork belly with chilled white beans. although the portion of pork belly was a bit smaller than i had hoped, it was cooked perfectly and literally melted in my mouth. as a whole, beans in general have a texture that i am not fond of, and these were no exception. this is merely a personal preference, and is no fault of the quality of bean or the chefs preparation.
along with the pork belly, we ordered the fish chowder with cod, scallops, and bacon. also in the chowder were house made potato chips that added much to the dish in terms of both taste and texture. this was our second favorite offering of the night.
in need of a final round of cocktails, i ordered the tranquil scot. this drink had tranquil breeze infused scotch whisky, amaretto, lemon, ligonberry jam, berry, egg white, and soda. this was an interesting drink with a frothy quality to it from the egg whites. carrie's last selection was the transporter, consisting of coconut ginger rittenhouse rye, passion fruit, and pineapple.
our final large plate of the night was an order of the lasagna. this was made in vegetarian fashion, featuring ricotta cheese, escarole, radishes, and parmesan. this was my favorite course of the evening without question. we also had a side order of the roasted fingerling potatoes, which weren't bad, but didn't quite live up to our expectations given the flavors of everything else.
moving onto to dessert, we may have overindulged slightly by making three selections, but i am glad we did as all three were excellent. pictured above is the wonderful house made pistachio ice cream. this was probably the most savory ice cream i have ever tasted, and i commented to carrie that it tasted more like pistachios than i ever would have expected.
another dessert selection was the sticky toffee pudding served with vanilla ice cream. this was basically a toffee flavored cake, and while it may have been the most typical dessert offering, was very good.
our last bites of the evening came in the form of pigwiches, which are a carry over from the old location, and are most likely a permanent menu staple. served in pairs, pigwiches are chocolate cookies cut in the shape of a pig with bacon flavored cream in the middle. having only been to the old location once for drinks before a meal at niche, this was our first time tasting the famous dessert, and we were not disappointed. these are another must order for someone visiting taste for the first time.
without question, taste lived up to our high expectations. as i mentioned earlier, we had only made it to the old location once, and it was just for a quick drink before dinner. this time, we ran the proverbial gamut, ordering as many drinks and food items as we could handle. i assume that the food menu will change fairly often, and we will most definitely be in many more times to try future dishes.