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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, hlevin@post-dispatch.com

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.

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.

By Ian Froeb