"Let's go out for steak" usually connotes dinner at one of the numerous copycat steak houses that dot St. Louis' dining landscape. It may come as a shock, then, that the best steak in town is actually served by a bunch of Italians at a bistro in a Ladue strip mall. At Giovanni's Kitchen, the filetto ai ferri almost gets lost amid the housemade pastas, pizzas and Mediterranean specialties, but for those willing to dabble outside of the standard Italian fare, a hearty treat awaits. Giovanni's Kitchen's filet soaks for seven days in a Chianti and fresh-herb marinade so that the flavors completely permeate the meat. It's then grilled so as to give it a whisper of char flavor — a bitter counter to the wine's subtle sweetness. The menu says the steak is then "finished with a mushroom ragout," but do not be fooled by this humble description. The ragout is more like ambrosia gifted by Zeus himself. Giovanni's Kitchen smothers the steak in the creamy sauce, and rarely are we mere mortals treated to such a generous portion of fresh porcinis. The delicate, earthy flavor of the mushrooms enhances the flavor of the steak without covering up its robust, meaty flavor. Cooked to a perfect medium-rare, the filet is so tender a knife glides through it as if it were butter. It's luxury on a plate.
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