After visiting Eleven Eleven Mississippi last month, the lovely wife and I wanted to try its sister restaurant just down the street before the Symphony on Saturday night. After our experience there, I believe that Vin de Set is the one of the pair that I feel I’d be most likely to visit again. Not that there was anything wrong with Eleven Eleven, I just loved Vin de Set that much more.
If I were to choose one word to describe Vin de Set, it would be cozy. The main dining room was warm and inviting with the exposed brick walls, and soft but sufficient lighting. Also, there was a more relaxed feel to Vin de Set. I loved the open kitchen at Eleven Eleven, but at the same time, that adds to the noise and overall bustle of a restaurant. Vin de Set was a bit quieter. We had a very pleasant evening of conversation.
I am no francophile. However, I have slowly began to appreciate French food. I even enjoyed what I had always believed to be the most overrated French food of all time, the crepe.
My disdain for crepes stems from a bad experience I had in Paris with an overpriced dessert crepe. I have always considered them to be a glorified pancake…and a really thin, tasteless one at that.
(My apologies for the pictures, as it was quite dark)
However, the lovely wife wanted to order the ratatouille crepe as an appetizer, and I went along. It was an outstanding, light appetizer filled with traditional ratatouille vegetables, quinoa*, Boursin cheese, and topped with a balsamic glaze. We split the appetizer, and I found it to be a wonderful light appetizer to start our meal. Although I thought it was the vegetables that carried the dish, I have to say, the crepe brought body and structure to the whole appetizer.
*Quinoa, pronounced KEEN-wah, is the reigning king grains. As a matter of fact, did you know that this is the INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF QUINOA??? Lo and behold, the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2013 the INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF QUINOA. It is nice that the nations of the world can agree on some things. ALL HAIL QUINOA, THE BOLIVIAN WONDER GRAIN!
Meanwhile, back at the restaurant…
I ordered one of the specials that evening, rolled veal cutlets wrapped with ham and gruyere cheese, lightly breaded and fried. They were topped with Meyer lemon juice, and served with barley and broccolini.
The dish was marvelous. The breading was light, and the gruyere and ham melded with the veal to create moist layers of meaty goodness. The barley side dish was excellent as well.
The lovely wife had a half game hen with a house-made sausage and duck confit cassoulet. She raved over the game hen, but in her opinion, the duck-confit cassoulet was the real star. The white beans were enhanced by the duck fat and was her favorite part of the whole dish. The only downer was the house-made sausage, which we both found to be bland. But, overall the dish was a real hit.
All in all, our server was excellent, checking on us frequently before, during, and after our meal. He was even prompt with the check as we needed to be getting off to the symphony.
I personally can’t wait to go late in spring or summer to enjoy the outdoor seating and view of downtown St. Louis. However, it is not the view that makes Vin de Set worth visiting. It is a warm welcome, pleasant service, and great food that makes the restaurant. The view just happens to be the icing on the crepe…I mean cake.