Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mix Master; Ted Kilgore's Top-Notch Cocktails Set the Bar High for Planter's House in Lafayette Square. **1/2

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mix Master; Ted Kilgore's Top-Notch Cocktails Set the Bar High for Planter's House in Lafayette Square. **1/2

Article excerpt

A list of the most influential figures in St. Louis food and drink over the past decade would have to be very brief indeed to exclude Ted Kilgore. First at Monarch, then at Taste, Kilgore nurtured the craft-cocktail ethos from a huddle of bitters-obsessed aficionados to a full-fledged movement.

Few serious restaurants would open here today without a cocktail list that both respected tradition don't you dare shake that Manhattan; stir it and also showcased the bartender's skill, knowledge and creativity.

For that, thank Kilgore.

Kilgore left Taste last year and in December, with his wife, Jamie, and former Brasserie by Niche bar manager Ted Charak, opened Planter's House. Named for the historic 19th-century downtown hotel, Planter's House occupies a painstakingly restored building just ask Kilgore how many hours he spent staining woodwork at the corner of Mississippi and Chouteau avenues in Lafayette Square.

It's a striking space. You enter into the main barroom, where the aforementioned woodwork is the dominant feature. It gives the illusion of being a single piece of impossibly curved wood, extending up from the bar's high shelves, across much of the ceiling and then back down the wall. Upstairs is the Bullock Room, clubby in the Victorian sense of the term, with flocked wallpaper.

It should go without saying that Kilgore's cocktails are top- notch, but you needn't be a cocktail geek to appreciate them. In truth, as I sampled several of the house cocktails ($10 each), I was struck by just how approachable they are. The Coming Up Daisy (Milagro silver tequila, Rhum Clement Creole Shrub, grenadine and lime) lacks only the surf and sand of Playa del Carmen to be the best margarita of your life. The Daiquiri Experiment (two different rums, sweet vermouth and white crme de cacao, among a host of ingredients) is refreshingly tart.

The Get Behind the Mule is a powerhouse take on the classic Moscow Mule, with El Dorado Dark Rum in place of the usual, innocuous vodka and a potent ginger-cordial kick. The Down for the Count might be the best encapsulation of Kilgore's style. The components (St. George Botanivore Gin, Gran Classico Bitter, the apertif Salers and Zucca Amaro) combine for a taste that at first is similar to a negroni. Yet each sip reveals more depth, more character more personality.

If this were a drinks or nightlife column, I could continue through Kilgore's extensive catalog or end here with an exclamation point. But Planter's House is also a restaurant. The executive chef is Bradley Hoffman, who led the kitchen at Salt in the Central West End before its closure last June. (I happily recognized several veterans of that acclaimed but turbulent restaurant among the Planter's House staff.)

Hoffmann's menu is split into two categories, Nosh (smaller, though not necessarily small, plates) and Satiate (entrees). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.