Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seafood Specialties in Dogtown

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seafood Specialties in Dogtown

Article excerpt

FISH IS the order of the day at RL Steamers, one of Dogtown's newest restaurants.

When chef/owner Larry Shifrin was planning a restaurant, he studied the restaurant scene in this area, looking for a void he could fill.

"Seafood is so versatile," he says. "There are so many varieties and ways of preparation." Shifrin chose the name Steamers because it signifies seafood. "It sounded a little plain, so I added the "RL," my first initials," he says. RL Steamers also offers meat, chicken, pasta and salads, but 90 percent of its orders are for seafood. The menu includes steamed clams and mussels, oyster nachos, crab cakes, smoked salmon and pesto savory cheesecake, Greek swordfish salad, salad Nicoise with grilled fresh tuna, fried oyster poor-boy sandwiches, scallops, salmon, shrimp and trout. Sunday brunch features salmon hash with poached eggs, seafood sausage and all kinds of omelets. The kitchen has been Shifrin's favorite room since childhood. "I would get bored watching football with my father and brothers," he says. "I'd go in the kitchen and cook with my mom. I'd help with whatever she was doing." When he was 15, he worked as a busboy at a Flaming Pit restaurant. "I thought I got a great promotion when they made me dishwasher," he says. "At least I was back in the kitchen." Shifrin graduated from Johnson and Wales Culinary School in 1983, then traveled through Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, studying the food as he toured. He says he opened New Zealand's first Cajun and Creole restaurant. When he returned to the United States, he spent several years opening restaurants for other restaurateurs - planning the menus and decor and selecting the staff. He was a chef at restaurants in Florida and St. Louis before opening RL Steamers. "It's an accomplishment," he says. "There is gratification in having one's own restaurant and not working for someone else." RL Steamers occupies two storefronts. One side houses the bar; the other, the dining room. A collage of red and yellow fish stitched onto black fabric covers the south wall of the dining room. Works of local artists hang on the north wall, and French doors at the front of the restaurant open onto streetside dining in good weather. …

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