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Elaia & Olio (copy) (copy)

The Botanical Heights neighborhood twin establishments of Elaia & Olio. Photograph taken on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Photo by Laurie Skrivan.

Ben Poremba has returned to the role of executive chef at his flagship restaurant Elaia and the adjacent Olio.

The move follows a decision by Aaron Martinez, executive chef of the two restaurants since last October, to depart for Gerard Craft's Cinder House at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis.

(Though Cinder House has not yet formally announced Martinez's arrival, Craft confirmed the news to Off the Menu.)

Under Poremba's new direction, Elaia is now offering a four-course dinner, plus snacks before the meal and mignardises after, for $70 per person, or $125 with beverage pairings.

The menu — three set courses and the diner's choice from a slate of main courses — changes daily. A vegetarian tasting menu is also available.

In an email announcing the change, Poremba pointed to the renowned Berkeley, Calif., restaurant Chez Panisse as an inspiration: “There's an authenticity to the cooking and commitment to quality ingredients. The menus (which I read weekly) sound like dinner at home – if 'home' was Jacques Pépin's.”

Poremba's email conceded a “ slow but gradual decline” in business at Elaia, which opened to great acclaim in 2012.

“By no means is it suffering terribly,” Poremba tells Off the Menu. “It's just not what it used to be.”

In his email Poremba writes, “...I am determined to work hard to make Elaia not just relevant and busy, but also pioneering and exciting.”

Ian Froeb is the restaurant critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.