So, were you getting worried that we'd closed up shop? Never! However, working a lot of extra hours all summer kind of created another forced hiatus. But, we're back! And for our first dinner of the fall, we're visiting an awesome new restaurant in St Charles called Prasino. You've probably heard of the "locavore" (also called farm-to-table) movement; the idea is that a restaurant sources all of its food locally. This is considered a very "green" practice, as there is less transportation and storage involved, not to mention the food is obviously much fresher. And it supports the local farming economy. Plus, best of all, we have a lot of truly fantastic farming and ranching going on in our region, so why not take advantage of it? Having hormone and antibiotic-free meats, sustainable seafood, and organic produce isn't just good practice, it tastes delicious as well! Prasino even goes further, using almost entirely recycled materials in their construction and decor, so it's more than just their food that is green. So, clearly, a visit is in order!
Cuisine - Prasino is contemporary American cuisine, which means a variety of steak, seafood, chicken, pork, and other items... although they do have some clearly non-American dishes, from Mideastern items like kefte (lamb meatballs, utterly awesome) and hummus, to Mexican (an entire section of the menu dedicated to mini-tacos), to Japanese, with some truly amazing sushi rolls. But notwithstanding those, don't let "American" make you think it's less than interesting; some of their preparations will blow your mind! Case in point: If you're a native here in St Louis, then you know about pork steak. Now, I'm not a native, so I don't really care for it that much. But the pork steak at Prasino is, I guarantee you, the best pork steak you've ever imagined! Nearly an inch thick, boneless, so tender you could cut it with a butter knife, and topped with an incredible Fitz's root beer-based barbecue sauce! I kid you not, if you like pork steak, order this dish! But it doesn't stop there. I tried the dry-rubbed and wood-grilled skirt steak with tomato jam, served with sauteed kale and mushrooms. Incredible! Or the halibut, pan seared with oregano, lemon, and olive oil, with cauliflower and green beans. Amazing! Other dishes like the pesto salmon, grilled trout, or short ribs with truffle-mushroom cabernet sauce, might be more your style; but all are nothing short of sublime. An assortment of sandwiches, salads, and rolls complete the entree section, and appetizers, flatbreads, mini tacos(!), and sides complete the menu. Well, almost... their dessert menu is something you really need to save room for; the grand marnier creme brulee with fresh fruit is absolutely to die for, and it's just one of their amazing desserts. All in all, the food at Prasino is nothing short of fantastic from start to finish. And, the menu identifies items as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free for those with special dietary needs, how can you beat that?
Cost - For a place this good, you wouldn't expect the food to be cheap. And it's not; but I can tell you it's also less than I would have expected. From single digits to around $10 for appetizers, to the teens and low $20s for entrees, the prices at Prasino are, in my opinion, very reasonable for the fantastic food you're getting. I've seen steaks that were half as good for twice the price!
Other Info - Prasino is conveniently located on Fifth Street just south of I-70 in St Charles on the east side of the street. You can easily see Tucanos from the street; Prasino is located directly behind Tucanos but you can't really see it from the street. There is a ton of parking right to the side. Yes, I realize this is all the way over there across the river, but I don't need to hear any excuses; it's only minutes across the bridge!
I know there will probably be a baseball game going on, but guess what? There are lots of TVs in the attached bar where you can keep an eye on the game! So, I'll be looking forward to seeing lots of my west county foodies at Prasino on Monday the 28th... where you can join me in saying, "we're back!"