by Cheryl Baehr
Fans of chef Rex Hale's rustic American comfort food no longer have to wait until dinnertime to sate their cravings. This month, the Restaurant at the Cheshire (6300 Clayton Road; 314-647-7300) began lunch service, featuring versions of its dinner favorites interpreted for the daytime crowd.
The Restaurant's menu will rotate seasonally, with current offerings leaning toward the fresh, light flavors appropriate for the hot and humid St. Louis summer. Still, don't pass up some of the heartier fare. The short rib French dip and kale, artichoke and smoked spinach dip may be rich, but it's totally worth it.
Check out photos of the Restaurant at the Cheshire's new lunch offerings below. Lunch is served Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The Restaurant at the Cheshire house smokes its meats. For lunch, an appetizer of simple smoked salmon with micro greens, capers and dill citrus mascarpone cheese is a play on bagels and lox.
Our server said that the spinach, artichoke and smoked bacon dip is a life changer. This wasn't an overstatement. The creamy dip -- a twist on the more popular spinach artichoke dip -- is infused with smoky bacon and a hint of spice from some pico de gallo.
It's hard to beat summertime tomatoes, and the restaurant at the Cheshire celebrates these beauties by making them the focal point of this lovely salad. Some fresh Ozark mustard greens and a Maytag blue cheese Cabernet vinaigrette round out this simple plate.
Chef Hale uses fresh cod for his fish and chips. The mild, buttery fish is lightly battered and fried and served with traditional tartar sauce, hand cut fries and creamy cole slaw.
The "BLAT" sandwich came highly recommended, and it was immediately apparent why. The mammoth sandwich came overstuffed with thick slices of house cured bacon, local tomatoes, bibb lettuce and a generous portion of avocado.
The Restaurant at the Cheshire serves its house cut fries in individual fry baskets.
The blueberry, rooibos and ricotta cheese cake was a light and airy -- almost like bread pudding. It is served with a scoop of subtly sweet blueberry rooibos gelato.
We asked chef Hale if he was trying to kill us with this sundae; he laughed (notice that he did not deny it). The concoction is out of the mind of a mad dessert genius. He says it is a take on the banana split, but we're calling it the kitchen sink sundae. A fudge brownie, bananas, oatmeal raisin cookies, marshmallows, almonds, blueberries, strawberries -- coconut ice cream, cherry ice cream and vanilla ice cream filled the bowl and sent us over the edge.