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Homemade butterscotch pudding from Atlas

Homemade butterscotch pudding as prepared by Atlas on Friday, Feb. 24, 2012, in St. Louis. Photo by Johnny Andrews, jandrews@post-dispatch.com

Q: When my 86-year-old mother visited from Canada, we took her to Atlas in the Central West End, and she absolutely loved the butterscotch pudding. She has returned to Canada but is still talking about that pudding.

— Kim Carrothers, Ladue

A: Chef Bryan Carr knows why people love Atlas' butterscotch pudding: "It tastes good." Like Carr's brief description, the pudding's ingredients are simple and the presentation uncluttered.

Atlas is tucked into the DeBaliviere Place neighborhood north of Forest Park. "Other places say they serve good, fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared simply," he said. "But we really do it."

Carr grew up 70 miles south of St. Louis in Potosi, Mo., and trained at fine restaurants in Napa Valley, San Francisco and Santa Barbara, Calif. "But my family is here; I wanted to come back," he said. "And there are many advantages striking out on your own here."

Carr and his wife, Diane, also operate almost side-by-side restaurants in Clayton: Pomme Restaurant, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and the more casual Pomme Café and Wine Bar. In 2010, the Carrs purchased Atlas from its founders, retaining the name, much of the staff and the menu, including the recipe for butterscotch pudding.

"It's very popular," Carr says. "Consistency helps determine how something tastes. The pudding has a smooth, voluptuous consistency that coats your taste buds a little."

Special Request is written by Kirkwood resident Alanna Kellogg, author of the online recipe column KitchenParade.com and "veggie evangelist" at the food blog about vegetables, A Veggie Venture.