Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Almond Joy Clayton Restaurant Puts the Snap in Snapper

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Almond Joy Clayton Restaurant Puts the Snap in Snapper

Article excerpt

`I can't stop thinking about the snapper," said the friend who accompanied me to Almonds for dinner the night before. "The fish was so delicious, so tender. Do you think it's baking it in that oven that plumps it up so nicely?"

My friend is talking about the tortilla-encrusted snapper we sampled at the relatively new Clayton restaurant, located in the space that once housed Robbie's Grille and before that, Woods. Both my friend and I, it turns out, spent much of the day after our dinner telling anyone who would listen about this incredible dish; how a snapper filet had been coated in egg wash, rolled in crushed corn tortillas, pan seared in olive oil, then finished off in an oak log wood-burning oven and served with a dollop of homemade salsa, the kind that helps clear out the ol' sinus passages.

It was truly outstanding. Served with the vegetable du jour (fresh green beans cooked to a perfect al dente) and pasta with a light sun-dried pesto, the dish also proved an excellent value at $12.95. Almonds is one of those finds you selfishly hate to share for fear everyone will start going. The restaurant is intimate and exudes a romantic vibe, with subtle lighting to help hide the circles under your eyes, but not so dim that you can't easily read the chalkboard menu on each table. Owners Tony and Kelli Almond serve as welcomers, waiters, and if need be, bottle washers. Tony Almond co-owns the wine shop a few doors away, and has crafted a wonderful wine list, featuring several Italian varieties and selections by the glass ranging from $3.50 to $5. The kitchen area is visible, and it's not uncommon to find chef Haley Griscom-Hurford dancing at the grill to an Adam Sandler tune as she prepares Cajun specialties and dishes such as pork tenderloin ($9.95) and pasta and chicken ($8.95). Griscom-Hurford is a vegetarian and menu selections reflect a few of her creations along those lines. We tried the vegetable cakes ($8. …

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