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Chao Baan restaurant in the Grove

Fried whole fish with a chile-garlic sauce at Chao Baan

Photo by Hillary Levin,

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

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.


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.

By Ian Froeb