Selecting Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis 2011 was no picnic. Choosing the winner meant several worthy candidates would go unmentioned -- until now. In this Gut Check series, we are chewing our way through notable runners up in a number of categories. To see hundreds more winners and finalists and download the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis mobile app, visit our Best of St. Louis homepage.
Everybody loves Sunday. It's the last day we get to do whatever we want before we get back to the grind and work, work, work. In order to best enjoy this most special of days, one should take time to eat a delicious, filling meal. Common knowledge allows that Sundays and brunch go hand in mimosa-cupped hand. Why not eat at a restaurant that gives the meal its due respect? With Easter Sunday only a few days away, Gut Check offers its list of five best brunch restaurants in St. Louis to make the upcoming holiday a tastier time.
Rooster (1104 Locust Street; 314-241-8118) Rooster, culinary multitasker Dave Bailey's beloved creperie, offers a profusion of possibilities for your crepe-composing delectation, mixing and matching from a variety of fillings (cheeses, vegetables, meats, sauces). If you prefer a more protein-based approach, any crepe can be prepared as an omelet instead. Or you can opt for pancakes or any number of other breakfasty/lunchy/brunchy treats. If you want the full crexperience, save room for dessert. While we aspire to that level of self-discipline, we've never actually achieved it -- we always get sidetracked by Rooster's mimosa menu. Or, if we've carried with us the fuzziness of the previous night's overindulgence, the bloody marys. (For medicinal purposes, of course.)
Café Madeleine (4256 Magnolia Avenue; 314-575-5658) While walking your pup around the ruins upon a Sunday morning or cruising on your ten-speed around the park, surely you've noticed the tables and chairs dotting the grounds around the Piper Palm House on the north side of Tower Grove Park. And if you've slowed your roll enough to have a peak at the plates sitting on those tables, you've no doubt taken in the enticing French-inspired dishes, soups and tempting pastries, including the café's signature dessert, a traditional French madeleine. If so, what you have witnessed is the relaxing and classic Sunday brunch at Café Madeleine, a weekly experience that includes fresh juices, white tablecloths, sharply dressed waiters, European newspapers and traditional brunch bites. After your eggs and potatoes, lox and bagels, meats, veggies and fruits, you can allow your meal to settle while strolling around our city's lovely Victorian park or while sitting in a horse-drawn carriage circling Tower Grove Park.
Nadoz Café (3701 Lindell Boulevard; 314-446-6800) Brought to us from the fine folks at Steven Becker Fine Dining, Nadoz Café serves delicious European-style treats seven days a week, but on Sundays the Coronado location delivers a special gift to St. Louisans: brunch. Guests can choose treasures from the regular menu, including waffles and omelets, or feast on the buffet. All the perennial brunch faves make appearances, such as bacon, sausage and eggs Benedict. And what goes better with brunch than booze? At Nadoz, brunchgoers can imbibe mimosas or, for those wanting to get the most bang for their pre-Monday buck, try out the vodka bar. If brunch leaves you too full for dessert, be sure to take one home for later. Everything at Nadoz tastes great from the éclairs to the tarts to the cookies.
Eau Bistro (212 N. Kingshighway; 314-454-9000) On the one hand, the brunch found in Chase Park Plaza features an upscale setting and an exceptional omelet station. On the other, unlimited mimosas. Back to that first hand, which is holding fresh seafood, smoked meats and decadent housemade desserts. While in hand two, unlimited bloody marys. At Eau Bistro, the two hands come together for the finest brunch to be found in our fair city. The buffet, which isn't cheap, provides a top-dollar return on your investment, with selections that include Belgian waffles, caviar, a carving station of sliced meats and an array of pastries. Top off your meal with a choice from the dessert section, which offers up a sweeping variety small plates with different cakes, pies and tarts.
Home Wine Kitchen (7322 Manchester Road; 314-802-7676) Sunday brunch is a sacred meal - that divine in-between time when you can choose breakfast or lunch items, or both. Why not eat at a restaurant that gives the meal its due respect? At Home Wine Kitchen chef Cassy Vires cooks up classic brunch choices with an upscale twist. Here, pancakes aren't just pancakes. These pancakes include lemon, ricotta and vanilla. Feel like some French toast? At Home it's bread-pudding French toast with figs, tea, coffee, brown sugar and maple. Other delicious dishes include biscuits and gravy, eggs Benedict, chicken and waffles, and duck hash, which features duck confit, horseradish, peppers and a fried egg. We can't think of many better ways to finish off the weekend.