Ian Froeb's STL 100 (2019 archive)

Stone Soup Cottage

Including Stone Soup Cottage in the STL 100 isn’t fair to the other 99 restaurants. Nowhere else comes close to the total experience of a dinner at Carl and Nancy McConnell’s farm-to-table jewel. The hospitality is impeccable, from the greeting as you enter the cottage itself to the glass of complimentary sparkling wine that comes with your amuse bouche to Carl McConnell’s uncanny ability to visit tables and chat with diners new and returning while orchestrating your six-course meal. McConnell’s cooking favors a purity of flavor that can make classic dishes — my December 2018 visit included takes on fettuccine del mar and osso buco — new again. He can also create the perfect dish for the moment, like the warming smoked-pheasant coulis with a buttermilk biscuit that began my meal on a chilly, rainy night. It was a difficult decision to promote Vicia over Stone Soup Cottage to No. 1. Nothing has dimmed the McConnells’ restaurant. Its cost ($100 per person before beverages, tax and tip) and its exclusivity (one serving nightly three nights a week, for which you must make reservations months in advance) makes its magic less accessible than Vicia’s. But if you can go, you must.

Hours: Dinner Thursday-Saturday

Last year's ranking: No. 1

Opened: 2009

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