Photo by Christian K. Lee


Randolfi's Italian Kitchen

Randolfi’s Italian Kitchen, runner-up to owner Mike Randolph’s other 2015 debut, Público, as last year’s best new restaurant, remains a work in progress. Since I reviewed the restaurant last November, Randolph has tweaked the menu format into a more traditional Italian succession of antipasti, primi (pastas) and secondi (main courses), though with additional categories for large-format meat dishes and for Neapolitan pizzas that hearken back to the restaurant’s previous life as the Good Pie. Randolph’s goal, though, hasn’t changed: to infuse the spirit of old-school Italian dining with his modern vision. You can see this in my favorite dish here, pappardelle in a white Bolognese sauce (ground pork, pancetta, heavy cream and vermouth with a little turkey liver for its extra nudge of flavor) topped with a cured egg yolk. Randolfi’s also raises the bar for beverage programs at Italian restaurants in St. Louis, thanks to Jeffrey Moll’s excellent cocktails and a wide range of amari and vermouths. I’m already excited to return here for next year’s STL 100.

Last year's ranking: New

Opened: 2015

Must order: Pappardelle with white Bolognese ($13.50)