Step through the front door of Acero and you might think you've left sleepy downtown Maplewood for one of New York City's hippest 'hoods. The unflappable hostess telling you there will be a wait. The bustling, black-clad waiters. The noise. Yeah, Acero's loud, but everyone's talking about the food Italian cuisine unlike anything else you'll see in St. Louis. Start with salumi from some of the nation's best artisanal producers. Then indulge in small but oh-so-satisfying portions of pasta. (The single raviolo filled with a poached egg might be the most luscious dish you eat this year.) Entrées hearty portions of steak, veal, pork, chicken and fish are fantastic, but consider an order of polenta. Your server pours the hot polenta onto a marble slab and then tops it with a sumptuous rag. (The lamb and goat rags, especially, are revelations.) Room for dessert? The homemade sorbets are a delight. Restaurateur Jim Fiala made a name for himself with the Crossing and Liluma, but at Acero he and executive chef Tim Zenner have swung for the fences and hit it clear out of the ballpark.