Wine Spectator 2012 Awards Promotes One, Omits Three St. Louis Restaurants

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We learned last week that Wine Spectator magazine's 2012 awards for restaurant wine lists would promote Balaban's Wine Cellar & Tapas Bar (1772 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield; 636-449-6700) from its first-tier "Award of Excellence" to the grammatically knotty second-tier "Best of Award of Excellence." Now, we have a copy of the awards issue here at Gut Check International Headquarters, and the list of area winners is largely -- thought not entirely -- unchanged from last year's.

In total, Wine Spectator honored 3,795 restaurants worldwide this year. That honor comes at a cost, however: Each restaurant must pay a $250 entry fee when it submits its list for consideration.

No new restaurants joined the list this year, and Balaban's received the only promotion. Three restaurants that were on last year's list are gone from this year's: Cafe Napoli (7754 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-863-5731), Cardwell's at the Plaza (1701 South Lindbergh Boulevard, Frontenac; 314-997-8885) and Monarch (7401 Manchester Road, Mapelwood).

Monarch, of course, closed in March of this year. Toni Collins, general manager at Cardwell's, tells Gut Check that the restaurant decided not to apply this year. We have a call in to Cafe Napoli to see if that's also the case there.

Award of Excellence 2012

Charlie Gitto's (5226 Shaw Avenue; 314-772-8898) Charlie Gitto's (15525 Olive Boulevard, Chesterfield; 636-536-2199) Eleven Eleven Mississippi (1111 Mississippi Avenue; 314-241-9999) Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar (1855 South Lindbergh Boulevard, Frontenac; 314-567-7610) J. Buck's (101 South Hanley Road, Clayton; 314-725-4700) Lucas Park Grille (1234 Washington Avenue; 314-241-7770) The Melting Pot (6683 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-725-4141) The Melting Pot (Clayton Road & South Woods Mill Road, Town & Country; 636-207-6358) Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafood (620 Market Street; 314-421-1540) Morton's the Steakhouse (7822 Bonhomme Avenue, Clayton; 314-725-4008) Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar (222 South Bemiston Avenue, Clayton; 314-726-5757) Tony's (410 Market Street; 314-231-7007) Vin De Set (2017 Chouteau Avenue; 314-241-8989)

Best of Award of Excellence 2012

Annie Gunn's (16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield; 636-532-7684) Balaban's Wine Cellar & Tapas Bar (1772 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield; 636-449-6700) Gerard's Restaurant (1153 Colonnade Center, Des Peres; 314-821-7977) Truffles (9202 Clayton Road, Ladue; 314-567-9100)

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