LaBonne Bouchée (12344 Olive Blvd, Creve Coeur; 314.576-6606) offers the Francophile a wide selection of authentic French cuisine, ranging from le quiche du jour to le vol au vent to petit fours. But Gut Check's favorite way to eat à la française is to devour the restaurant's take on the ham-and-cheese sandwich: le croque monsieur.
You might see this as a simple grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich, but you would be terribly mistaken. Open your eyes, nose and taste buds to the creamy Béchamel sauce. Considered one of the "mother sauces" in French cuisine, it's an intoxicating mix of scalded milk, butter and flour -- and recipes such as fondue and lasagna could not thrive without its delicate texture and invigorating taste. Smothered over crisp, buttered bread, it moves this sandwich from the minor leagues to the big leagues.
The heft of this sandwich is enough to fill even the most gluttonous Gut Check reader up for the rest of the day. Translation: Lightweights need not apply. This is hearty, rich food -- perfect for a chilly October day.
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.
#53: Biscuits and Wild Mushroom Gravy at Blood and Sand #54: The Gracey at Fozzie's Sandwich Emporium #55: The Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza at Katie's Pizzeria #56: Brioche French Toast at Half & Half #57: Fish and Chips at Llywelyn's #58: Chicken Kabob at Al Waha #59: Seafood Ravioli at Gian-Tony's Ristorante #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