The Ten Most Important St. Louis Restaurant Openings of the Aughts #4: Taste by Niche (2009)

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Taste by Niche (2009)

Like Local Harvest Café (#6 on this list), Taste by Niche represents a potential new direction for St. Louis restaurants, with the quality of the food and drink trumping splashy build-outs and the pretensions of upscale dining. The food is terrific -- it scored No. 1 on last week's Top Ten Dishes of 2009 -- but you would expect nothing less from Gerard Craft and his team, especially ace mixologist Ted Kilgore. At Taste, the barrier between diner and chef is broken down, with the intimate confines encouraging a freewheeling conversation with the staff and fellow diners whom you might have met about how the food is being prepared, what this or that ingredient is, why your cocktail is so good. Without doubt, the most engaging -- and one of the most exhilarating -- dining experiences to hit St. Louis this decade.

1831 Sidney Street; 314-773-7755; website

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