It’s hard to miss Nathalie’s restaurant, housed in the white historic mansion on Lindell in the Central West End.
When I moved to the Central West End 2 years ago, this building held a popular restaurant SALT. I heard great things about SALT’s Sunday brunch…and I absolutely love brunches…but I just never made it over there before the restaurant closed.
When I heard that a new restaurant was opening in the same location, I promised myself that I wouldn’t make the same mistake and would start hitting the restaurants I wanted to try while I could…since you never know how long they will last.
When old friend Leslie asked me to join her for a show at the Peabody and dinner, I was excited to both reconnect with her after so many years and to check out two St. Louis gems that I haven’t yet visited.
Nathalie’s – The Setting:
I should have walked around and taken more pictures, but I got so caught up in reconnecting with Leslie that this is the only interior shot I snapped.
I know that it’s a minor detail, but I think the decor would have looked better with chairs made of a dark brown wood. The house is just so grand and these chairs struck me as belonging in a lady’s tearoom or banquet center.
The mansion was built in 1890 and has over 8,100 square feet of space on 3 stories, plus a basement that adds another 2,000 square feet. That’s a huge house!
I can only imagine the grand lifestyle of the family who built this house.
The main floor of this home is well suited for a restaurant. Consistent with homes built in this era, there is a large foyer as you step into the building and several large rooms that lead directly into each other through pocket doors rather than hallways. The current configuration has 3 similar sized rooms with a 4th room used as the bar at the back. We were seated in the middle of the 3 dining rooms so we had a great view of the entire main floor.
There is more seating up the grand staircase plus bathrooms that Leslie said were pretty amazing, but I forgot to check it out before leaving.
According the the MLS real estate database, the home underwent a major renovation in 2005 that cost over $3,000,000. The building includes an elevator, 2nd floor cabaret theater (not sure if that is in use now), a private wine cellar and the 3rd floor was promoted as usable as a residence or private offices.
Nathalie’s – The Food:
Nathalie’s offers a very limited menu of farm to table items, with most of the primary ingredients coming from the owner’s personal farm, Overlook Farm in Clarksville, MO.
Basically you have a choice of one beef entree and one pork entree, which vary from day to day, plus a chicken and 3 fish entrees. There is an assortment of appetizers, soup and salads, plus a few desserts.
Our meal started with a basket of fresh bread and butter. The bread was good but none of the variations were better than what you get at any other nice restaurant. I had a couple of pieces and then stopped as I didn’t want to fill up on bread.
I almost went with the cheddar broccoli soup, but decided instead to go with a blueberry salad as my starter. I figured you can’t go wrong with a salad that has blueberries and goat cheese. The salad was very tasty and the perfect size as a 1st course. It was big enough to split. If I go back, I would likely order an appetizer and split a salad with my dinner companion so I could try more things.
Leslie ordered the Kale Caesar salad. I love caesar salads and the reviews said this was really good, but I decided to go a different direction because my favorite part of caesar salad is the croutons, and this salad does a trio of crostini instead of croutons. Leslie seemed to like the salad though.
For the entree, I ordered the pork tenderloin. I do have to say that I was a tad disappointed because both the website and the menu they gave us listed the pork as having a blackberry Zinfandel demi and I thought it sounded amazing. Our waiter didn’t mention that it was no longer available until I got confused when he described the pork entree as a daily special. Honestly, they need to update the menus. How hard can that be?
I went ahead and ordered the pork tenderloin daily special which was wrapped in bacon and served with potatoes and green beens.
The dish was fine, but I wasn’t bowled over. The pork had a prime rib style texture, and I guess I prefer a different texture…more steak-like. The bacon also was soft like it had been steamed. I love bacon, but really only only it when it is crispy. I ended up eating 2 of the 3 medallions. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, just not what I expected for a meal this expensive.
The potatoes and green beens were also good, but nothing spectacular. I could make something with more pizzazz at home myself.
Leslie ordered the trout special. I remember exactly what was in this dish but it was a skin-on treatment to to the fish and it was served over spaghetti squash, some greens and had almonds on top.
I normally would have ordered a steak if I was spending this much since I LOVE a great steak. I didn’t because the only steak they were offering was 18 oz! The waiter did say that the steak included a bone that was typically 4 oz, but 14 oz is still way too large for me. I realize there are people who like huge steaks, but most restaurants also offer a filet or something in 8-10 oz range too. If Nathalie’s had done that, I would have ordered steak and I’m guessing I would have walked out liking my meal more.
I can’t leave out my drink. The waiter suggested an off the menu beer and I’m really glad I ordered it. It was a nut brown ale from Arcadia Ales out of Michigan. YUM!
It’s hard to believe that I spent 20 years of my beer drinking days sticking with Bud Light. I’m so glad that I’ve branched out and discovered what beer has to offer.
The price tag is a bit steeper than places I usually go. We each ordered an entree, a salad and one drink (Leslie had a cocktail and I had a beer), and our bill came to just under $100 before tip.
Peabody Opera House:
Instead of after dinner drinks and dessert, we headed over to the Peabody to see comedian Brian Regan.
The show was great and I was really impressed with the Peabody Opera House. If you ever have a chance to see a show there, it’s worth the drive downtown.