Photo by Roberto Rodriguez

The Libertine

One of the biggest dining stories of 2015 was Josh Galliano’s departure as the Libertine’s executive chef. (Galliano, who had won much acclaim for his work here and at An American Place and Monarch, now works for Companion bakery.) To replace him, owners Audra and Nick Luedde brought over Matt Bessler from Schlafly Bottleworks, and Bessler has given the menu a decidedly Italian slant with an emphasis on big flavors. The Crispy Pork Belly Carbonara combines its namesake pasta dish with the equally rich cacio e pepe. As you might have noticed, there are also slabs of pork belly. How to set apart roasted bone marrow? Top it with short-rib meat, but also, crucially, a medjool-date jam for a tang that accents that one-two punch of beef and marrow. Bessler’s generous, occasionally over-the-top cooking certainly fits a restaurant called the Libertine.

Opened: 2013

Must order: Short ribs and roasted bone marrow ($16)