Ian Froeb's STL 100

Post-Dispatch file photo



We long ago left behind the question “What should a great restaurant look like?” The more exciting question is “What can a great restaurant look like?” Nick Bognar — who last year crashed the STL 100's Top 25 with his work at Nippon Tei (owned by his mother, Ann Bognar) — provides multiple answers at Indo, his debut restaurant. Indo can be a laid-back affair, small plates shared among friends. It can also be a tasting menu served by Bognar at the sushi counter, a meal that will require planning and money to secure a reservation — and roughly 2½ hours to experience. It can even be a fast-casual lunch. However you dine at Indo, you will encounter some of the most brilliant cooking and sublime sushi in St. Louis now or in any recent year. Bognar ages fish to maximize flavor and texture and then accents each piece of nigiri exactly as it demands. He dips into his family history for his grandmother's larb recipe, here enlivened with lamb. He puts a bowl of freshly cooked rice, tricked out with Dungeness crab, on a fine-dining pedestal. Who knows what this decade holds for dining in St. Louis, but I am certain Bognar and Indo will be driving the conversation.

Hours: Dinner Tuesday-Sunday, lunch Tuesday-Saturday (closed Monday)

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.