Ian Froeb's STL 100

Photo by Hillary Levin (Post-Dispatch)



Chef Logan Ely’s Savage was already extraordinary when it opened in 2018. Using fermentation and preservation (among other techniques), Ely built complex and deeply flavorful dishes from a larder of seafood and vegetables, the latter often of the underappreciated and underused variety. His tasting menus — laid-back and smartly paced, even at the full 12-course length — made you appreciate yeast and mold as you elsewhere might revere prime beef and foie gras. When I returned for this year’s STL 100, I found Savage even more remarkable. Ely had refined one of my favorite dishes, warmed spot prawn and a sauce of its own roe, with a dash of green curry. He captured late autumn in a turkey-wheat flatbread with smoked-pumpkin miso and both chicken and fish egg. He found the briny, earthy current through mussels, celery root and black-trumpet mushrooms. My return meal was all the more impressive for its lack of animal protein. I knew not to expect red meat, but (egg excepted) this time there wasn’t even any chicken. There is nothing else like Savage in St. Louis, and even at No. 2 on this list, I doubt Ely has reached his full potential yet.

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

Last year's ranking: No. 4

Opened: 2018

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