by Cheryl Baehr
It was a given that I was going to be dazzled by the drinks at Planter's House (1000 Mississippi Avenue; 314-696-6203). After all, owner Ted Kilgore is the town's undisputed mixology master. With such a high-profile cocktail program, Planter's House could have phoned it in on its food menu. Patrons are coming in for the drinks, right? Heck, they'll probably be so liquored up by the time they get hungry, they'd be fine with some Ritz crackers and Cheez-Whiz.
That's not how Kilgore operates.
As a consummate food and beverage professional, Kilgore shows the same commitment to excellence toward the Planter's House food menu as he does the cocktails. Nowhere is this embodied better than the duck burger, a juicy mix of ground duck, pork and bacon, served open-faced and topped with a fried duck egg. It's sometimes served on malty pumpernickel bread with Gouda cheese and lightly dressed frisee, although the Planter's House crew has a few different iterations of this glorious dish. One off-the-menu version involves chunky red wine duck gravy. Gilding the lily? Perhaps, but after a few cocktails, one is inclined to live large.