Flavors for Fall

Patricia Corrigan, Special to the Jewish Light

With a change in the weather and a change in the season, change also comes to local restaurants as chefs freshen up menus for fall dining. Plenty of local eateries now feature locally grown and produced food, and St. Louis is fortunate that about 60 percent of restaurants in the metropolitan area are independently owned.

In addition to enjoying hearty soups, root vegetables and meaty entrees in town this time of year, if you drive just a bit, you can feast on the brilliant fall colors on the way to lunch or dinner. Here are notes about what’s on the menu at seven local restaurants and also three suggestions for dining a little farther from home.

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A word to the wise: Always call ahead to check on a restaurant’s hours and whether you need a reservation.

Close to Home

“We change our menu with the seasons and availability of local produce,” says Adam Karl Gnau, the chef at Acero. Gnau’s fall menu features a different seasonal soup every day, ragu on polenta and grass-fed flank steak served with spinach, roasted garlic and lemon. 7266 Manchester Road in Maplewood.

Visit www.fialafood.com or call 314-644-1790.

At Cardwell’s at the Plaza, general manager Toni Collins is excited about the autumn pear salad. She also recommends the fall soup made with squash, sweet potato and apple. “Mike Farrell, our executive chef, makes changes on our menu every day, according to what’s in season,” says Collins. 97 Plaza Frontenac in Frontenac.

Visit www.cardwellsattheplaza.com or call 314-997-8885.

New “Autumn Leaves Lunch Specials” are now available at Duff’s Restaurant from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Diners may choose from chicken and dumplings, whole wheat pasta with vegetables or a bravo burger, which sports green chili mayo. General manager Brendan Kirby reports that fall dinner specials are also available. 392 N. Euclid Avenue in the Central West End.

Visit www.dineatduffs.com or call 314-361-0522.

Nick Miller, the chef at Harvest, offers hearty dishes this time of year, including soup made with lamb sausage and Israeli couscous, a vegetarian multigrain risotto and a grilled Angus hanger steak served with a horseradish and Yukon potato gratin and creamed spinach. You can also warm up with a Kaldi’s espresso martini. 1059 S. Big Bend Boulevard. in Richmond Heights.

Visit www.harveststlouis.com or call 314-645-3522.

Soups figure prominently on the fall menu at Herky J’s Café at the Jewish Community Center. “We’re doing leek and potato soup, pumpkin bisque, squash potato soup, lentil mushroom, carrot ginger soup and a fall vegetable soup,” says Charles Detmering, the chef. “We also are offering some special pasta dishes for fall.” Staenberg Family Complex, 2 Millstone Drive in Creve Coeur.

Visit www.jccstl.com or call 314-432-5700.

“Right now, I’m concentrating on potato pancakes,” says Tom Coghill, the chef at Iron Barley. “As the month goes on, I’ll see what’s available.” Coghill’s menu also features barley paella and schnitzel served with spaetzle. 5510 Virginia Avenue in south St. Louis.

Visit www.ironbarley.com or call 314-351-4500.

Roasted eggplant soup and avgolomeno (chicken broth with orzo and lemon) take the chill off a blustery day at Momos Ouzaria Taverna, where other fall favorites include the lamb gyro, lemon-oregano roasted potatoes and meatballs served in a compote of rosemary, orange, tomato and peppers. 630 North and South Road in University City.

Visit www.saucecafe.com/momos or call 314-863-3511.

Worth the Drive

American Bounty, just across the street from the Missouri River, serves hearth-baked pizzas and sandwiches in the wine bar, with more formal dining available downstairs. Chef Brian Manhardt is now offering baked onion soup with cracked pepper, tomato bisque with pesto, penne jambalaya and beef tenderloin medallions with a port wine reduction. 430 Front Street in Washington.

Call 636-390-2150 or visit www. bountyrestaurantandwinebar.com.

Another stunning view of the Missouri can be found at Les Bourgeois Vineyards, where the Blufftop Bistro is known for its gorgonzola cheesecake with polenta crust and housemade pesto. Other fall favorites include corn chowder, sautéed trout, pappardelle pasta and an artisanal cheese plate. 14020 W. Highway BB in Rocheport.

Visit www.missouriwine.com or call call 573-698-2133.

If you are a fan of the pizza at Balducci’s Winefest in Maryland Heights, you can enjoy the same hearty pies – and see some fall foliage along the way – at Louis P. Balducci Vineyard and Winery. The menu also includes appetizers, salads, a couple of sandwiches and several dinner entrees. 6601 Highway 94 in Augusta.

Visit www.balduccivineyards.com or call 636-482-8466.