by Nancy Stiles
Owner and executive chef Anthony Devoti debuted his rotating pop-up concept inside Five Bistro (5100 Daggett Avenue; 314-773-5553) in February. It began with a French bistro-style menu called Ma Petit Chou that ran for ten weeks. The second of four pop-ups this year began Thursday, May 29. Root & Vine is a garden-to-table, local, vegetable-centric menu. And when we say garden-to-table, we mean it -- the greens for our salad had literally been picked from Five Bistro's own garden earlier that day.
"We wanted to do something really hyper-local, and I think we're kind of known as a farm-to-table-y meat kind of place," Devoti tells Gut Check, "so I wanted to do something a bit different than what we usually do, and something we could have fun with."
"We're really wine-focused, so that's where the 'vine' comes from, and the vegetables this time of the year are kind of little vines and beans and things like that," Devoti explains, "and of course roots and beets and radishes are your first veggies of the year, so that's kind of how we came up with that."
The meal is six courses for $50, with wine pairings for an additional $25. Reservations are required -- you can call 314-773-5553 or email email@example.com It starts with an amuse bouche: a house-made sea salt cracker with scallop mousse and micro greens. Then the meal began in earnest with a deviled duck egg and bok choy kimchi.
Devoti says meat-lovers shouldn't shy away from the Root & Vine menu, though. There is a trout course, so it's not completely meat-free.
"if you are a big heavy meat-eater, that's even more of a reason to give it a try," he says. "We are going to do things in the year that are more meat-focused or traditional fare, [so] you should give it a shot. You might as well go out of your own comfort zone."
After the deviled egg, it's house-made empanadas with Ozark Forest oyster mushrooms, ramp, Baetje Farms goat cheese and micro greens. The aforementioned salad has greens from the Five Bistro garden, radishes, a sheep's and goat's milk mixture cheese, rattail radishes and other assorted veggies.
Next up it's house-made gnocchi with green onion, roasted onion and onion puree. The main entree is creamed turnip panna cotta, slaw, house-pickled cucumber, fennel creme fraiche, greens and smoked Troutdale Farm trout. After that we had a palate cleanser of house-made strawberry sorbet (yum).
For dessert it was Bergerbluff carrot cake with butter pecan ice cream and whipped cream icing -- plus espresso macarons to finish.
"I think really the focus is ultra- or hyper- local and I think it's really fun, interesting concept," Devoti says. "I really like it and it's going be a good time."
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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