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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Finding Time in 2013: Sidney Street Cafe

We're closing in on the end of the year, which also means the end of our Finding Time in 2013 challenge. This month we were due for a restaurant post and we ventured out to one of the well-known fine dining establishments in the St. Louis area: Sidney Street Cafe. After having it recommended to us by several different people, we finally decided to head there for our anniversary. Although it was a chilly October evening, the restaurant itself was warm and welcoming, the perfect spot to sit at a cozy table and reflect on five years of marriage.
L to R: Starter Menu, Cocktails, Beignets

Sidney Street was a lot bigger than I anticipated. I had expected an intimate spot, but the restaurant was larger and brighter than I envisioned. The exposed brick and dark wood fit the space, however, and it still gives off a fine dining atmosphere (which explains why I only took a few, discreet, iPhone pictures!). Service aligned with this perfectly; our server was professional, attentive (almost overly-so), and enthusiastic, eagerly explaining the majority of the menu to us.

Beginning with the beignets which are served warm with butter, we knew we were in for a good meal. The cocktail menu is small, but Ryan--our resident cocktail snob--found something he liked, and the bartender was gracious enough to whip me up a mocktail. Although we were enticed by several of the starters on the menu, our server sold us on the veal dumplings which he claimed were his favorite. We immediately understood why; the meat inside each dumpling was extraordinarily tender and the cilantro salsa and teriyaki sauce the dumplings were sitting in introduced an entirely unique flavor to the dish. I probably would've been happy ordering another round of these for my entree!
L to R: Veal Dumplings, Menu, Butternut Squash Soup, House Salad

We pressed on with the next course. Each entree comes with a selection of soup or salad. Ryan opted for the butternut squash soup, and I selected the salad. Unfortunately, when I declined the anchovies on my salad, I mistakenly also declined the cheese, so my greens were rather bare and the salad wasn't anything special. I hardly had time to be disappointed, however, before my meal was brought out: the redfish. Served atop dirty farro, the combination of tastes and colors came together impressively. It was one of those dishes where you don't really know what's contained in each bite, but you don't care because it tastes so good! For the curious, the menu description of my dish mentioned cucumber relish, charred tomato gelee, raspberry glazed sungolds, and dill in addition to the fish and farro. Ryan ordered the Missouri lamb, which he decided was not the best lamb he's ever had in a restaurant, but certainly a stellar entree.
L to R: Snapfish, Missouri Lamb, White Chocolate Turtle Blondie

By now we were stuffed, but our server insisted on bringing us out the white chocolate turtle blondie with pecan brittle and vanilla ice cream for dessert in honor of our anniversary. Full as I was, I never turn down dessert, and managed to enjoy a few bites before crying uncle! The blondie was rich and buttery and exactly what you would expect, given the description. Next time I'd also love to try their "Snickers Bar" dessert!

How does this compare to other similar restaurants we've eaten at? For what we spent, we both agreed our meals at Girl and the Goat in Chicago were better, but it's a completely different type of restaurant. Sidney Street is probably most like Harvest, where we ate a few years ago, and if I had to pick a favorite of the two, I'd say Sidney Street wins this round! All in all, it was a lovely anniversary dinner and a fun way to wrap up the restaurant portion of this year's challenge. Sidney Street Cafe on Urbanspoon