Not far from where I live is one of the restaurants owned by Gerard Craft, the only James Beard Award winning chef in St. Louis. Niche on Forsythe in Clayton has become a haven of fine dining. (Craft’s other restaurants include: Pastaria, Brasserie and Taste.) A dear friend, who shares my culinary pursuits, insisted on taking me there for my birthday. I demurred, but only briefly.
On Sunday and Monday nights, Niche serves their 3-course menu that’s more limited and affordable. On the Monday we dined, the salad offering was Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad, with faro, arugula, shaved Parmesan and lemon vinaigrette. Of the two entrees, I passed on the Butcher’s Steak and chose the Brick Chicken with braised greens, and buttermilk mashed potatoes.
Also included were warm, slices of rustic bread from Companion Bakery. From the two dessert choices and cheese platter, I picked the Pastaria Vanilla Gelato with Chocolate Sauce. The tab for 3 courses that night: $40—a bargain for a splendid meal in such pleasant surroundings.
As I enjoyed the meal and the attentive service, I thought of my visit to France earlier in the year. While in Paris I had the culinary experience of a lifetime with the chance to dine at some of the world’s best restaurants: Joël Robuchon’s L’Atelier, Aux Prés, Chez Paul, Chez L’Ami Louis and Brasserie Les Haras in Strasbourg. It made me all the more appreciative of the fine fare available here in St. Louis.
Three cheers for Chef Craft for making the Niche experience available to more people in the area by offering two evenings each week featuring fine food at moderate prices.
Niche, 7734 Forsyth. Open for supper: Sun & Mon 5p-9p; Tue-Thu 5p-9p; Fri-Sat 5p-10p. (NO LONGER IN BUSINESS)