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Food & Restaurant Writing

I've been writing about food and restaurants in St. Louis (and occasionally elsewhere) since 2006.

I was the restaurant critic for the alternative-weekly Riverfront Times for seven years. Since 2013, I've been the restaurant critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Here are a few pieces I especially enjoyed writing.

 

Profile: Mike Randolph

St. Louis Post Dispatch, December 17, 2016

Mike Randolph is the chef-owner of the acclaimed restaurants Público, Randolfi's Italian Kitchen, and Half & Half. He's also a recovering alcoholic in an industry awash in booze. He wants young cooks to know there's another way. 

Review: Nixta

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 2, 2017

Tello Carreon, a native of Guanajuato, Mexico, is executive chef of Nixta, from chef-restaurateur Ben Poremba. His approach to Mexican cuisine – sometimes painterly, sometimes rustic, always soulful and delicious – has made Nixta one of the most exciting St. Louis restaurants of recent years.

Review: Sardella

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 9, 2017

Gerard Craft is St. Louis' most acclaimed chef. In 2015, he won Best Chef: Midwest at the James Beard Awards. In 2016, he closed his flagship restaurant Niche for a daring and, in my opinion, successful reboot as Sardella.

Profile + Travel: Minneapolis, Paul Berglund, and Jorge Guzman

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 14, 2017

Outside of Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul might be the Midwest's most exciting restaurant destination right now. Two of the chefs at the forefront  of the Twin Cities scene hail from St. Louis: Paul Berglund of the Bachelor Farmer and Jorge Guzman of Surly Brewing Co. I visited Minneapolis to learn more about the two chefs and eat at some of the area's newer restaurants.

Review: Olive + Oak

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 19, 2016

Owners Mark Hinkle and Greg Ortyl and chef Jesse Mendica have created an open-hearted, joyful dining experience in the suburb of Webster Groves. Olive + Oak was, deservedly, St. Louis' blockbuster opening of 2016.

Review: Sheesh Restaurant

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 24, 2016

Sheesh Restaurant, serving Turkish cuisine (with an emphasis on kebabs) and owned by an immigrant from Iraq (via Turkey), is one of my favorite restaurants to open in recent years. The unexpected conversation I had with the owner over Turkish coffee is a favorite moment of my career.

Review: Guerrilla Street Food

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 15, 2015

Guerrilla Street Food was one of St. Louis' first food trucks and, thanks to the inventive Filipino fare from chefs Joel Crespo and Brian Hardesty, the first St. Louis food truck that merited comparisons to traditional restaurants. In 2015, Crespo and Hardesty opened a bricks-and-mortar Guerrilla Street Food with an expanded, even more inventive menu.

Review: Público

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 4, 2015

Mike Randolph was one of St. Louis' most talented, ambitious chefs, but he'd never put all the pieces together in one place until Público, easily St. Louis' best new restaurant of 2015 and currently one of its best restaurants, period.

Review: Panorama

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 27, 2013

Without question, the greatest debacle I've encountered in 11 years of restaurant reviewing and still, to this day, the only 0-star review I've written.

Profile: Qui Tran

Riverfront Times, May 1, 2013

Qui Tran's mother, Lee Tran, founded St. Louis' first and still best-known Vietnamese restaurant, Mai Lee. Qui grew up in the restaurant and has become its public face as well as one of St. Louis dining's most compelling personalities. Here, he tells his family's story.

Review: Takaya New Asian

Riverfront Times, March 27, 2013

The second greatest debacle in my restaurant-reviewing travels. Inexplicable mistake after inexplicable mistake. This review appeared in Da Capo's Best Food Writing 2013.

Guerrilla Street Food (Truck)

Riverfront Times, March 29, 2012

My original review of Guerrilla Street Food, when it was only a truck. At the end of 2012, I'd name its signature dish, the Flying Pig, my No. 1 dish of the year.