￼Plunk Veritas down in the Central West End or downtown Clayton, and chef Mathis Stitt might be as prominent as Gerard Craft or Kevin Nashan. His cooking is technically expert, often playful and always delicious. My most recent visit included an appetizer of pork rinds paired with a blend of black lentils, roasted-cabbage cream, reshampatti (an Indian chile) and a slow-cooked egg. “Grown-up chips and dip,” my server said, and I would have laughed at the absurdity of the dish if I hadn’t been scarfing it down. Next came spaghetti with lamb sausage, mushroom, tomato and basil mounded over fresh burrata, as simple and heartening as the dip had been improbable. All of this I ate inside a wine shop in an Ellisville shopping plaza, sitting at a bar around the open kitchen where Stitt himself worked alongside his team.
Hours: Dinner Thursday-Saturday, lunch Wednesday-Saturday, brunch Sunday
Last year's ranking: No. 13
Must order: Menu changes frequently