Eclectic Dinner: Balaban's!

While I enjoy finding little-known gems for the group, sometimes a restaurant is legendary because it's just a great restaurant!  Balaban's is such a restaurant, and one which took the usual step of upending itself and moving to Chesterfield from the Central West End a few years ago.  I wasted no time checking it out, but at the time it was both too popular and not large enough to handle our group!  But now they have opened a new banquet room with a huge amount of space...  so I checked it out, and am pleased to report that, first, the food is still as awesome as ever, and second, they are happy to accommodate us!

Cuisine - Balaban's menu is pretty hard to define, which is why I just called it "eclectic".  Because they are very much into wine (if you are a wine-drinker, you definitely shouldn't miss this dinner!), most of their menu is somewhat bistro-style, with a focus on quality over quantity.  From real pate to pan-seared Hawaiian prawns to artisanal cheese plates to a great selection of salads to seasonal bruschetta, their selection of lighter dishes is incredible.  They are famous for their smoked trout on a corn and chive pancake with horseradish creme fraiche!  My own favorite is the house-made lobster ravioli, which is amazing enough to start with but then it's made with fennel and pistachio, and served in the best lobster buerre blanc I've ever tasted... I had to ask for extra bread to soak it up or I would have been licking the bowl!  They have an entree section which again covers a wide variety without any specific focus... their Ligurian (northwest Italian) shrimp pasta with walnuts and garlic is delicious; they have a spectacular paella (Spanish seafood-and-sausage thick stew over rice); my favorite is the beef wellington - filet mignon and mushroom pate in puff pastry served with a madeira sauce - which is absolutely to die for.  They have several additional choices, as well as some very creative flatbread pizzas.  Bottom line here is that they have a creative and widely varied menu, and everything on it is incredibly delicious!  And for the oenophiles, every dish comes with a recommended wine pairing!  And you really might want to save room for dessert, too...

Cost - For the most part, the individual dishes are pretty inexpensive, with most running from under $10 to the mid teens; a few of the entrees are clustered around the $20 mark.  Quite reasonable for such awesome food!  But to be fair, the menu is designed with mostly smaller portions for you to have more than just one dish; an appetizer/tapas, soup or salad, and entree makes a filling meal but it does add up a bit.  In my book the food is easily worth it, but I would not consider this to be a cheap dinner.

Additional Info - Balaban's is located in the Dierberg's shopping center on the northeast corner of Clarkson and Baxter, and their building is right out on the corner.  Tons of free parking, of course!

I'm looking forward to seeing lots of my west county foodies at Balaban's on Monday the 10th!  Plus, since I'll be on vacation the last half of the month, this will be our final west county dinner of 2012!  So come one come all!

Balaban's

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Fab dinner! Brought three first-timers. All had great time.

    December 13, 2012

  • Jann G

    Actually my food was one that was forgotten, but between the enjoyment of the company, & the bottle of wine special, I did not notice it until desserts were delivered. They did computer coffee & dessert..that was something. I did not ask for special treatment. Really had a great evening! Kudos to Neale!

    December 13, 2012

  • Helen

    Great food, wine and company! Neale chose the perfect day of the week to come to Balaban's as on Mondays they have 3 courses for $25 and no corkage charge for bottles of wine. Like Glen, I feel some adjustment should have been made for the dinners which came late after reminding the staff. Our table conversation was engaging and lively, no one would have noticed a delay if they had served the whole table of 6/7 late. I agree with Kasey that being able to mingle with the whole group would have been a bonus, easier managed if we had been in the function room perhaps. I'll be returning some other Monday for sure!

    December 13, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Neale excellent choice of restaurant and a great group to dine with. I look forward to other events during 2013. Thank for the invite.

    December 12, 2012

  • Mary

    Everything was decked out for the holiday season and the food was wonderful. Merry Christmas and Holidays, and as always, thank you to Neale !

    December 12, 2012

  • Nancy

    Delicious food, excellent company!

    December 11, 2012

  • matthew

    What a great way to continue into the holiday season by having such an enjoyable dinner with so many great folks. Really enjoyed meeting and greeting new and old friends.

    December 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great Company awesome food. Altogether fun night :)

    December 11, 2012

  • Troy B.

    I enjoyed the food, and the conversation with those at my table.

    December 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great food and wine. Even better people!

    December 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    My fig and cheese salad and the sea bass were very good. The wine flight was a great way to try 3 new wines. Wish I had taken a spin around the wine racks in the retail wine area but I was having a good conversation with new friends so I did not get a chance. It would have been great to have been able to mingle a little more before or after dinner and meet more people. However I really enjoyed myself at my little corner of the table.

    December 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Nice. A little overwhelmed by the size of the group. Two dinners didn't come out until everyone e else had been finished for a long time. Server promised todo something extra for the inconvenience but nothing was done. I would go back with a smaller group though and give them another chance. The food was worth the wait!

    December 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was great

    December 10, 2012

  • joyce

    The food was delicious and the table conversation was great. Thanks Neale!

    December 10, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great location, food and company.

    December 10, 2012

  • Neale

    Excellent food and great bunch of people - perfect way to close out the year of dinners!

    December 10, 2012

  • Deborah

    Had a great time, good food, good wine and great conversation.

    December 10, 2012

  • Jann G

    Great group..awesome food!

    December 10, 2012

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Allison

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