Photo by Ian Froeb, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Chef Ma's Chinese Gourmet Restaurant

The old Taco Bell in Overland that has housed several taquerias is now Chef Ma’s Chinese Gourmet Restaurant, another of the slew of noteworthy new Chinese restaurants in St. Louis (see also: Private Kitchen, Lona’s Lil Eats, Tai Ke). Chef Ying Jing Ma serves two menus: one of typical Americanized fare, the other of traditional Chinese dishes. You’re here for the second. The signature dish is Hainan chicken rice, chicken served at room temperature or thereabouts, the skin slippery instead of crisp. The texture might take some getting used to, but soon you’ll be picking each piece apart and dipping it in the ginger-laden sauce on the side. If you want a more approachable entry point, consider the peppery beef short ribs or the squid fried with garlic and chiles, maybe the best calamari in town.

Last year's ranking: New

Opened: 2015

Must order: Hainan chicken rice ($8.95)