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Indo: shrimp toast

Shrimp toast at Indo, located at 1641 Tower Grove Avenue

Troy Stolt, Post-Dispatch

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

Bait

Where 4239 Lindell Boulevard • More info 314-405-2797; baitstl.comHours Dinner Wednesday-Saturday

The cuisine • Chef Ceaira Jackson presents exuberant seafood dishes, with dazzling presentations backed by thoughtful compositions.

What to order • The Flaming Wicked Prawns in a broth of dark beer and sherry and the whole fried red snapper best embody the Bait experience.

The Bellwether

Where 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.

Bulrush

Where 3307 Washington Boulevard • More info 314-449-1208; bulrushstl.comHours Dinner Thursday-Sunday

The cuisine • At one of the best new restaurants of recent years, Rob Connoley presents modern interpretations of historical Ozark foodways from 1820-1870.

What to order • The oft-changing tasting menu ($100 per person, tax and service included) provides the full Bulrush experience, but there is also an a-la-carte food menu at the bar.

Chao Baan

Where 4087 Chouteau Avenue • More info 314-925-8250; chaobaanstl.com • Hours 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.

Elmwood

Where 2704 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood • More info 314-261-4708; elmwoodstl.com • Hours Dinner Tuesday-Saturday

The cuisine • Acclaimed chef Adam Altnether returns to restaurant cooking with an eclectic menu of modern, coal-fired fare.

What to order • Silken Bangs Island mussels with the punch of Aleppo pepper and Szechuan peppercorns are the best mussels I’ve eaten in St. Louis.

Han Lao

Where 1250 Strassner Drive, Brentwood • More info 314-932-1354; hanlaostl.com • Hours Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)

The cuisine • Thom Chantharasy showcases the cuisine of his native Laos. In addition to Lao fare, some Thai dishes are also available.

What to order • Khao poon is a spicy soup (pork broth, red-curry paste and coconut milk) with ground pork, vermicelli noodles and fresh herbs.

Indo

Where 1641 Tower Grove Avenue • More info 314-899-9333; indo-stl.com • Hours 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.

Jerk Soul

Where 2016 Salisbury Street • More info 314-601-3871; facebook.com/jerksoulstl • Hours Noon-8 p.m. Sunday-Friday (closed Saturday)

The cuisine • Jerk chicken, braised oxtails and more stellar Caribbean fare from a carryout-only storefront in the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

What to order • Jerk chicken is the star here, either as a standalone dish or as the featured ingredient in pizza or other fusion dishes.

The Midwestern Meat & Drink

Where 900 Spruce Street • More info 314-696-2573; midwesternstl.comHours Lunch and dinner daily (closed Tuesday except during sporting events and major downtown events)

The cuisine • Barbecue, burgers and more from Ben Welch, who won acclaim for his late Maryland Heights restaurant Big Baby Q and Smokehouse, and the team behind the blockbuster downtown restaurant and bar the Wheelhouse

What to order • The standout dish is the weekend-only Crispy Pig Head: smoked and then cooked confit-style in lard and finished in the oven at high heat. (You must order it at least 48 hours in advance.) For everyday dining, go with the pastrami platter with pit beans and collard greens as sides.

Mike’s Hot Dogs, Soups & Sandwiches

Where 7293 Olive Boulevard, University City • More info 314-776-9225; mikeshotdogsstl.comHours 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)

The cuisine • The eponymous Mike Eagan Jr. dishes up hot dogs with toppings both expected (a Chicago-style dog) and not as well as burgers, sandwiches and soups.

What to order • Besides the hot dogs (I like the spicy Volcano and Old Mexico varieties), Mike’s serves very good gumbo and the best buffalo-chicken sandwich in town.

Pie Guy Pizza

Where 4189 Manchester Avenue • More info 314-899-0444; pieguystl.comHours 4:30 p.m.-midnight Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight Wednesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 a.m. Friday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)

The cuisine • New York-style pizza by the slice or whole pie is the focus of Pie Guy Pizza, Mitch Frost’s pizzeria in Forest Park Southeast’s Grove district. Bonus: The restaurant’s walk-up window is open until 3:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday

What to order • Pizza, I guess? The crust, based on a sourdough starter and cold-fermented for three days, is terrific however you top it.

Rockwell Beer Co. (Brasswell)

Where 1320 South Vandeventer Avenue • More info 314-256-1657; rockwellbeer.comHours 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday)

The cuisine • This new craft brewery in the city’s Botanical Heights neighborhood includes Brasswell, a casual dining concept from acclaimed chef Gerard Craft serving burgers, brats and other beer-friendly fare.

What to order • Craft’s Brasserie by Niche provides the template for Braswell’s griddled burger.

Sol Azteca

Where 4232 South Broadway, Suite A • More info 314-449-1505 • Hours Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)

The cuisine • At this small Mount Pleasant storefront, owner Jesus Rojas features dishes from his native Mexico City.

What to order • The Big Quesadilla is a Mexico City-style quesadilla: a long, oblong corn tortilla folded over its fillings. Opt for the cochinita pibil as the meat.

Thai Table

Where 7403 Manchester Road, Maplewood • More info 314-449-6919; thaitablestl.comHours Lunch and dinner daily (closed Tuesday)

The cuisine • Natthinee “Joy” Teerakawanid serves a personal selection of Thai dishes, including recipes she learned growing up in Buriram in northeastern Thailand.

What to order • Nam tok beef delivers grilled steak with cilantro, red onion, scallion and toasted rice in a very spicy, lime-sharpened dressing.

Wok O Taco

Where 10633 Page Avenue, Overland • More info 314-473-1027 • Hours 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday (closed Sunday)

The cuisine • Brothers Abel and Marcos Cervantes offer both Mexican and Chinese fare — and a few dishes that mash up the two cuisines.

What to order • The best of the Mexican-Chinese fusion dishes is fried rice with al pastor-style pork. Be sure to add the tomatillo salsa.

By Ian Froeb