There are many tempting options available at La Vallesana (2801 Cherokee Street; 314-776-4223), but whether you're getting quesadillas, burritos or tortas, there's something on the menu that leaps out to most people as something to avoid: tongue.
Offal is something that most Americans would consider, well, awful. But the undesired cuts of meat actually make for some great food. Tongue is best described as gateway offal. Because it is a cut of meat that's primarily muscle, it's typically braised and cooked down over several hours until it's tender. If you're a fan of pot roast, then tongue is something you need to try.
Why not on a taco? La Vallesana serves its tacos without a lot of bells and whistles: two flour tortillas, your choice of meat, cilantro, onion and a lime wedge. The simplicity allows the meat to really come through with a touch of acid from the lime. One taco quickly turns into another two, and then three.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
#50: Bread Pudding at Harvest #51: Root Beer Float at Dr. Jazz #52: Le Croque Monsieur at LaBonne Bouchée #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