Lafayette square is getting a reputation in St. Louis for a great place for smashing New American cuisine, as well as a great place for Americans to get smashed. Planter’s House fits this mold perfectly with an extensive menu of cocktails and some very hearty dishes to match.
Planter’s House is the brain child of mixologists Ted Kilgore and Ted Charak, and as such the place has some amazing cocktails. I admit, I have a tendency to use hyperbole a lot in these write-ups, but these were truly amazing. The Manhattanite was the best Manhattan I’ve ever had. Their house made vermouth along with chocolate bitters and a flamed orange made for an incredibly full flavored drink. The chocolate bitters were not overpowering but added just the perfect complimentary flavor to the burnt orange. A classic drink turned even better by some subtle tweaks.
The Bleeding Heart was similar in nature, including crème de cacao and again chocolate bitters, so we assumed it was going to be dessert-like. Instead what we got was an incredibly smooth daiquiri with just the slightest hint of chocolate that again added this really nice background flavor that went so well with the other ingredients. Lovely drink.
We also tried the Blue Grey Fizz, which featured an earl grey liquor. Very simple and smooth and yet with a bit of a punch. I do not usually go for gin drinks, but this one I liked. It was almost like an agua fresca married with a gin-fizz. Again, classics turned new with just some minor but well thought-out changes.
My favorite of the evening was the Basil in Brazil, a fun take on a Caipirinha. It has the standard cachaça and lime, but adds basil and lemongrass flavored syrup. Very smooth, very strong, but perfect to sip on a patio with friends.
I have heard people say that the food at Planter’s House is just an afterthought and not enough to have a real meal. These people have no idea what they are talking about. The food is wonderful and will definitely leave you satisfied. There are indeed some light snacking foods, like the hushpuppies (very tasty and wonderfully textured) and the popcorn coated with either sesame oil or green tea and honey, but these are not the only dishes.
The mussels were very fresh, sizable, and served in a perfectly spiced green curry and coconut sauce. It also came with a giant chunk of some moist and flavorful cornbread, which was the perfect stuff for sopping up the broth of the mussels. Wonderful dish.
The Wild Mushrooms may be listed as a small plate, but it is big on flavor. The mushrooms were so fresh and delicious even by themselves, but the citrus based sauce they were cooked in made for a winning combination. We will definitely order this again next time.
But for the most filling, satisfying dish of the evening was the special of the week: Braised Pork Belly with Blueberry Ginger Purée. I’ve never actually been served a piece of pork belly so thick and succulent. Christine thought it was a cake when it was first placed on the table.
The blueberry sauce was so tasty in of itself, but paired with the layers of perfectly cooked fat and meat I was in heaven. Was all of this too much? I admit it was a bit of an overindulgence, but I’ll live.
And of course we had to get dessert and we got this delightful Fruit Galette. A very simple French dish that was the perfect end to the meal. Not too sweet but still full of wonderful flavors and textures with the flaky pastry crust and the simple dollop of lemon poppyseed ice cream.
So any cons about the place? Not much. We’ve only been there once and perhaps there’s something we’ve missed. Let us know what you think.
- Pros: Amazing cocktails and wonderful food. Beautiful interior and patio.
- Cons: Have not encountered any yet.
- Charlie’ Favorites: Mussels, Pork Belly (special), Manhattanite
- Christine’s Favorites: Mussels, Wild Mushrooms, Blue Grey Fizz