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Restaurants & Bars 10

Richard Perry's Lindell Terrace -- St. Louis (long report)

wayno | May 30, 200208:40 AM

I’m happy to report that Richard Perry’s Lindell Terrace is well worth repeat visits. Having heard much ado about it from my parents-in-law after their initial visit last month, we went with them last Saturday night. It is a very, very good deal: very well prepared food, excellent ingredients, a hospitable proprietor and a very reasonable price. For a fixed price of only about $24, you get a soup, salad, intermezzo, entrée and dessert, plus a variety of breads. You have a choice of about 5 entrees [one of which is vegetarian] while the other courses are set. I do have some quibbles about our experience there last weekend, but, first, the food: The soup was a vegetable consumme, which was really good. It consisted of a very rich vegetable broth with sweet onions, among other things; I could have eaten several bowls. The salad, which was called a chopped salad but didn’t look anything like one, was composed of a variety of organic spring greens, some fruit and a light vinaigrette. Again, excellent ingredients and very sound fundamentals made for a flawless course. The intermezzo was melted brie on the housemade bread [w/ one other element I’m forgetting]. My entrée was boneless chicken breast, cut into medallions, stuffed w/ fontina and spinach, with a lemon sauce. It sounded dated, gloppy and reminiscent of a “florentine” dish from a past decade, but it was very light and delicious. [I picked it because my 1st choice was already snagged by Mrs. Wayno – god, she’d shoot me if she were to read this – and we wanted to try to cover the menu.] Mrs. W. had the braised veal shanks, which I thought were excellent [though, she thought were only okay – why, I’m not sure]. They were lean, yet still moist and falling apart tender. Dad in law’s beef filet looked terrific and mom in law liked her fish [can’t recall the details other than a light lemon sauce -- after her 1st visit she had said the salmon was about the best she’d ever had]. The sides were, on this night, garlic mashed potatoes, which had the right amount of lumps and no overpowering garlic flavor, and thus were as good as everything else that night, and some stewed tomatoes that everyone – even the stewed-tomato hating Mrs. W. -- loved because they were so sweet [carmelized onions in the mix, maybe???]. I alone thought the side portions were too small. I had heard a lot of good things about the house made breads, which were country white, wheat and strawberry applesauce. All were quite good, though not mind blowing. The pear butter was a nice rustic, and happily not overly cloying, touch. Richard Perry greeted us at the door, and made the rounds to the tables during the evening. He stopped me to chat as I was leaving, and was very gracious about my bringing my own wine, which was a ’94 Far Niente Cab. Corkage was $10, and Mr. Perry said that he encourages his patrons to bring their own to avoid his having to stock extensive high-priced wines for which the customer would get socked. Dessert, BTW, was a very good gooey butter cake. Now, the quibbles: I’d heard about how pleasant and nicely attentive the staff was, and so it appeared …. at all the tables but our own. We felt like the unwanted stepchildren. We sat for a full 15 minutes after being seated without anyone approaching us at all. No menus, no drink orders, no water. Nothing. We were in Siberia. Yet, we were surrounded by attentive waiters interacting with all the neighboring tables. Finally, our man arrived and, to his credit, apologized repeatedly for the lapse; however, service remained the weak point. We did not get the professional service that other tables did. The bread service, which we were looking forward to, was inadequate. We went through our basket quickly and got only one belated refill, which also was emptied quickly and left empty. In general, we were ignored. Then, after all that inattentiveness, the check, unsolicited, was placed in front of me while we still were enjoying dessert and coffee -- a dereliction cited by another hound in a recent report on Modesto. I do believe, though, that our shaky service that night was an aberration, and certainly would not cause me to refrain from returning. The food, overall atmosphere, and the gracious host, warrant a return visit and a recommendation to all. In fact, upon our leaving, when Mr. Perry was chatting with me about wines, I just didn’t have the heart to mention the service issues and instead just complimented him on very good food done very well.

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