Photo by Roberto Rodriguez

Blood & Sand

This will be a pivotal year for Blood & Sand, as founders Adam Frager and TJ Vytlacil have put the private restaurant and bar up for sale. (The duo are focusing on the restaurant-point-of-sale software they have developed.) The new owner will inherit a stellar beverage program, a staff that makes gracious hospitality seem effortless and a menu from chef David Rosenfeld that is as inventive as any in town. A recent visit featured two dishes as delicious as they were mind-bending: parsnip soup with absinthe and black trumpet mushrooms followed by an Italian-Thai mashup of pistachio-crusted duck with papaya and arancini stuffed with larb. Yes, Blood & Sand is hidden behind a members-only scrim, and as I did last year, I’ve excluded it from the STL 100’s Top 25 for that reason. But if the new owner allows Blood & Sand to continue building on its strengths, that exclusion will be more difficult to justify.

Opened: 2011

Must order: Menu changes frequently