There's nothing more relaxing than lounging in a steaming hot tub, letting the hot water soothe away the day's tensions. For food, the equivalent of relaxing in a hot tub has to be sitting in a simmering, fragrant mixture of tomatoes, white wine, butter and garlic, like the seafood ravioli at Gian-Tony's Ristorante (5356 Daggett; 314-772-4893).
Six little clouds of ravioli come served swimming in their bath of Italian goodness. Fragrant, fresh and light, the sauce is almost good enough to eat on its own, and certainly worth soaking your bread in. Fresh chunks of garlic and tomato dot the sauce along with tiny bits of diced bay scallops.
The diced scallops in the sauce add a chewy texture, a contrast to the fluffy ravioli. Tender shells of pasta are stuffed with a mash-up of shrimp, crab and clam. The seafood mixture is slightly chunky, with noticeable bites of shrimp, and it soaks up and takes on the flavors of the light tomato sauce.
Overall, this sauna of Italian flavors makes for a light meal, and pairs well with a Gian-Tony's salad or a shared appetizer. Just one note of caution - you can smell the garlic in the tomato sauce from a mile away, so pack some post-dinner mints if you plan on wooing your next date with this dish.
Beginning last year, RFT restaurant critic Ian Froeb counted down -- in no particular order -- 100 of his favorite dishes in St. Louis. Now Gut Check has taken up where he left off. Check back frequently as we detail our 100 favorites, and don't hesitate to send us yours, too, either via the comments thread or at email@example.com.
#60: Raw Veggie Burger at PuraVegan #61: Hot Chick On-a Stick at Fast Eddie's Bon Air #62: Mixed Grill Platter at Flaco's Cocina #63: Arancini From Mangia Mobile #64: Three Coins in the Fountain at the Fountain on Locust #65: Pan-Fried Noodles at Pho Grand #66: Pastelitos at Fritanga # 67: Bento Box at Blue Ocean Sushi # 68: Lamb Burger at The Scottish Arms #69: Crispy Pork Spring Rolls at Bobo Noodle House
#70: Turkey Melt and Field Greens Salad at Schlafly Bottleworks #71: The Vegetarian Platter at Ranoush #72: Vegetarian Meatballs at Lucas Park Grille #73: Sizzling Rice Soup at Hunan and Peking Garden #74: Straw and Hay Pasta at Trattoria Marcella #75: Spaghetti Pomodoro at Babbo's Spaghetteria #76: Shrimp Fajitas at El Matador #77: Vegetable Quesadilla at Chava's #78: Companion Rustic Olive Bread #79: Salt and Pepper Shrimp from Wei Hong #80: Ba-Mee Mhoo Dang at Basil Spice #81: Catfish Platter at the Gumbo Shop #82: Shrimp & Andouille Flatbread at the Shaved Duck #83: Vegetarian Pasta at Terrene #84: Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms at Zia's #85: Legend Club at LeGrand's Market & Catering #86: City Coffeehouse & Crêperie's Nutella-Banana Crêpe #87: Raw Vegetable Lasagna at Scape #88: Quesadilla Azteca from Tower Tacos #89: The Perfect Pear at Foundation Grounds #90: Banh Mi Sandwich from Sweet Art #91: Chicken and Dumplings at Yummies Soul Food Cafe #92: Cuban Sandwich from La Tropicana #93: The Prosperity at Ruma's Deli #94: Cherry Cheese Danish from Missouri Baking Company #95: Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse #96: Egg Salad Sandwich at Township Grocer #97: Cheeseburger and Fries (Extra Crispy) at O'Connell's Pub #98 Mussels & Fries at Brasserie by Niche #99: Beef Taquitos Mexicanos at El Indio #100: Spinach Artichoke Dip at Cafe Eau