Play a Word Game with Me
If I say “avenue” to a New Yorker, they’re likely to say “fifth.” As in Fifth Avenue. But in Clayton, the savvy diner is more likely to say “Meramec.” It’s the street location of the trendy bistro, tucked under a chic black awning embossed with the word “avenue.”‘
A Dynamic Duo
Teamwork makes the difference in the restaurant business—or any business. But having Chef/Owner Bryan Carr in the kitchen and wife, Diane, out front seeing to the details of customer service makes for a smoothness akin to a Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire dance performance.
Diane told me they persevered during the pandemic all the while coping with nearby construction work. Avenue adapted with an active pick up service, that sometimes caused a line of cars to form outside the restaurant. She also added some humor to the wait. During the “toilet paper crisis,” she gave away a roll of tissue to each driver waiting for their pickup order.
On the Lunch Menu
I was with Russ and Deb, so I got to try a few more dishes than just my own. (Family and friends are used to me photographing their food before they eat it and sometimes sneaking a bite.)
I had a tasty chicken salad on brioche with a side of skin-on potato salad. Russ went with a lunch that I often made for him when he was a kid—-grilled cheese with tomato soup. Avenue’s sandwich was decidedly more embellished. Rather than the Velveeta, that I once used, their designer version features a fine Swiss cheese along with ham, and a smear of mustard. I had just one bite, but loved it!
Deb enjoyed the Sliced Sirloin Salad over spinach with blue cheese crumbles, tomatoes, caramelized onions, and blue cheese dressing.
I swooned over the tomato soup and vowed to include it in my next Avenue adventure. Their signature bowl of soupy goodness hits all the right flavor notes. Friends say I must go for dinner and try the Trout Amandine and the Pork Schnitzel as well.
The Split Up
I couldn’t resist splitting a dessert. All are made in house, including the ice cream. I’ve tasted many a bread pudding in these parts and I’d say that Avenue bread pudding is definitely among the winners when it comes to texture and taste. I didn’t see any raisins in mine, however, which I always feel is sine qua non for the classic dessert. Note the shortbread cookies (upper right in photo below). They should be selling those by the bag.
As an inveterate dessert splitter, I’ve taken it upon myself to train restaurant servers in the procedure. “Bring 2 plates and 2 forks and a knife,” I say sweetly. Some already have the drill mastered. Our server didn’t bat an eyelash. She was a pro. She’d handled my kind before.
Avenue. 12 N. Meramec Avenue in Clayton. Open: Lunch: Tue-Fri 11a-2p. Dinner: Tue-Sat 5p-9p.