Photo by Katherine Bish



It’s reductive, of course, to distill a restaurant as outstanding as Acero to a single dish, but when that dish is as consistently revelatory as the egg raviolo here, it’s also understandable. Since Jim Fiala opened Acero in 2007, this simple dish — the exact preparation changes from time to time, but it’s basically an egg yolk with cheese inside a raviolo — awakens you for the first time or the 50th to the essential beauty and endless possibilities of traditional Italian cuisine. Chef Adam Karl Gnau oversees a menu filled with similar pleasures: slices of mortadella folded over goat cheese and ricotta; a rustic pasta of fat pici with butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, bread crumbs and sage; the perfectly layered pork flavors of the roasted porchetta; pastry chef Katie Fitzgerald’s elegant desserts. Acero’s prix-fixe meal of any four courses for $35 is one of the best upscale-dining values in St. Louis — and remains so even if you add the supplemental fee for that egg raviolo or one of the other top-of-the-line dishes.