Photo by J.B. Forbes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Brasserie by Niche

Executive chef Nick Blue has energized Brasserie by Niche with his burger (a sort of haute Big Mac to which you can add a slab of foie gras) and the Cinq à Sept happy-hour menu, featuring bratwurst with a changing assortment of toppings. The heart of Brasserie is unchanged, though, and Blue has kept the hearty French fare — onion soup, steak frites, cassoulet — to the standards diners have come to expect from a Gerard Craft restaurant. My new favorite dish might be the walleye quenelle, two small footballs of delicately seasoned fish in a lobster sauce with oyster mushrooms and shrimp. The quenelles show an quiet elegance, as did another standout, a midwinter celery-root soup enlivened with pickled celery. With the closure of Tom Schmidt’s Franco in February, Brasserie has become St. Louis’ best French restaurant. The crown looks good on it.

Last year's ranking: Unranked

Opened: 2009

Must order: Walleye quenelle ($24.95)