When Chris Bork announced two years ago that he was leaving Blood and Sand, the St. Louis food scene waited with bated breath to see what he'd do next. When he eventually made known his plans for a ramen shop, many reacted with confusion. Why was a rising star chef known for elegant, modern cuisine jumping on the food trend bandwagon du jour — especially one that seemed out of step with his culinary identity?
Folks needn't have worried. Granted, Vista Ramen (2609 Cherokee Street, 314-797-8250) is designed in the style of a noodle bar, and every main course offered contains ramen. And, well, it's named Vista Ramen. But at its core, this exhilarating Cherokee Street spot is fundamentally a contemporary take on (dare we utter the culinary f word?) fusion cuisine that happens to serve ramen — not, as you might expect from appearances, a ramen shop. Bork has assembled a selection of small plates that draw from classical French cooking to modern Thai and Burmese, each showcasing the expert technique and creativity you'd find at a Michelin-starred restaurant. And yes, there's ramen too, though there's no doubt Vista will outlast the trend.