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Mayo Ketchup

Tostones con aguacate, four twice-fried plantains served with smashed avocado, pickled onion, cilantro and lime, at Mayo Ketchup in Lafayette Square

Photo by Sid Hastings

Looking to try something new? Here are some recommendations from restaurant critic Ian Froeb’s recent reviews.

Alta Calle

Where 3131 South Grand Boulevard • More info 314-282-0840 • Hours Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)

The cuisine • Creative, artfully plated Mexican fare from the team behind the Maplewood restaurant Las Palmas.

What to order • The vegetable-centric fare (black-bean hummus with raw and pickled vegetables and fresh herbs) is especially impressive, as is the chicken with pepián mole verde.

Beast Butcher & Block

Where 4156 Manchester Avenue • More info 314-944-6003; beastbbqstl.comHours Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sunday

The cuisine • The second location of David and Meggan Sandusky’s acclaimed Belleville barbecue restaurant adds a butcher shop and a live-fire kitchen with Sunday brunch service and occasional tasting menus and other special events.

What to order • All of the Beast favorites are present, including the incomparable fatty wagyu brisket, the pork steak and the basted pork belly.

The Bellwether

Where The Bellwether, 1419 Carroll Street • More info 314-380-3086; thebellwetherstl.comHours Dinner daily

The cuisine • The team behind the excellent Lafayette Square bistro Polite Society returns with more contemporary American fare in a sophisticated, “date-night” atmosphere.

What to order • Chef Thomas Futrell’s standout dishes include a scallop carpaccio and a range of pastas.

Chao Baan

Where 4087 Chouteau Avenue • More info 314-925-8250; chaobaanstl.comHours Dinner daily, lunch Monday-Saturday

The cuisine • You likely know the Prapaisilp family from their South Grand anchor the King & I. At Chao Baan, they are serving homestyle fare from Thailand’s northeast and south.

What to order • Go with a group and order many dishes to share family-style: the whole fried fish, nam tok and khao tod nam sod among them.

Cocina Latina

Where 508 North Euclid Avenue • More info 314-696-2294; facebook.com/cocinaslatinaHours Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)

The cuisine • The restaurant Maritza Rios has dreamed of opening since she moved to St. Louis from New York City almost 20 years ago. Here she serves lomo saltado, ají de gallina and more dishes from her native Peru.

What to order • Ceviche, mahi mahi “cooked” in lime juice and punctuated with the chile heat of ají limo, is an energizing start to any meal here.

Il Palato

Where 222 South Bemiston Avenue, Clayton • More info 314-224-5331; ilpalatoclayton.comHours Dinner Monday-Saturday, lunch Monday-Friday

The cuisine • Seafood is the focus of this Italian restaurant from Michael Del Pietro (Del Pietro’s, Sugo’s Spaghetteria, Tavolo V) and chef Tim Adams.

What to order • Basil, lemon and thyme perfume a whole grilled branzino in a basil-lime vinaigrette.

Indo

Where 1641 Tower Grove Avenue • More info 314-899-9333; indo-stl.comHours Dinner Tuesday-Sunday, lunch Tuesday-Saturday (closed Monday)

The cuisine • Nick Bognar, who electrified the area sushi scene at Nippon Tei, stakes his claim to the highest rank of St. Louis chefs at the wondrous, four-star Indo. Here he matches his peerless nigiri sushi with thoughtful cooking drawn from family history, the traditions of Japan and Thailand and his own restless creativity.

What to order • The limited-availability omakase menu is the greatest Indo experience, but the a-la-carte menu also dazzles with nigiri sushi, laab, short-rib curry, crab donabe rice and more.

The Last Kitchen

Where 1501 Washington Avenue • More info 314-390-2500; thelasthotelstl.comHours Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily

The cuisine • Chef Evy Swoboda traveled states bordering the Mississippi River for inspiration for the restaurant inside the new Last Hotel.

What to order • Frog legs with red beans and rice are a standout from the dinner menu; from the all-day bar menu, try the smoked and then fried chicken bites.

Mayo Ketchup

Where 2001 Park Avenue • More info 314-696-2699; plantaingirl.comHours 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)

The cuisine • Mandy Estrella (aka Plantain Girl) serves Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban fare in a fast-casual setting.

What to order • Roasted pork is a highlight on the strong menu, both as pernil with arroz con gandules or as part of a classic Cuban sandwich.

Morning Glory Diner

Where 2609 Cherokee Street • More info facebook.com/morningglorydinerstlHours 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday

The cuisine • Ari Ellis serves a compact menu of classic American diner fare with a chef’s personal touch.

What to order • Ellis previously operated the sausage-focused the Cut, so biscuits smothered in sausage gravy are a must. As appealing are springy johnny cakes topped with buttermilk-brined fried chicken.

Sides of Seoul

Where 10084 Page Avenue, Overland • More info 314-942-8940; facebook.com/sidesofseoulfoodsHours Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)

The cuisine • The Lee family serves delicious Korean fare in a fast-casual format.

What to order • The Spicy Pork Bop is a signature dish, and the soups, especially seolleongtang (ox-bone broth) and kimchi jjigae, are outstanding.

By Ian Froeb