Ian Froeb's STL 100

Photo by Hillary Levin (Post-Dispatch)


Bait should have been a shoo-in for this year's STL 100. The Central West End seafood restaurant from first-time restaurateur Kalen Hodgest, chef Ceaira Jackson and general manager Misha K. Sampson was one of 2019's stellar debuts. Jackson's cooking was a revelation, often bold (a whole fried snapper with spicy aioli and three dipping sauces, prawns in a flaming beer-sherry broth), sometimes subtle (scallops with wine-braised pears over a parsnip puree) and always memorable. Sampson ensured a sophisticated but fun dining experience. Then, in January, Jackson and Sampson left Bait. With no time to revisit the restaurant for this project, what to do? I have opted to pay tribute to Bait's 2019, hoping Hodgest's team will maintain the standard that Jackson and Sampson set while eagerly awaiting what Jackson and Sampson do next.

Hours: Dinner Wednesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Tuesday)

Last year's ranking: New this year

Opened: 2019

Many St. Louis-area restaurants are closed or limiting their dining options during the coronavirus pandemic.