Tuesday, November 15, 2011

ST. LOUIS – Mosaic: Nice Restaurant Near the Convention Center

Areas around cities’ convention centers can go two ways: either well-developed, or offering very little once you get out of your hotel (as is the wasteland around the Phoenix Convention Center). St. Louis strikes a decent middle ground, and one of the highlights of the area is Mosaic.

I walked by Mosaic while headed for lunch at the nearby Dubliner Pub and was intrigued but my first impression was that Mosaic was a place I’d like to linger. Time was short at lunch, so I returned at the end of a busy day of meetings and conference sessions to enjoy a delightful dinner at the bar.

Mosaic bills itself as a “modern/fusion restaurant.” Emphasis is on the modern. The interior is dim and inviting, with house/trance music playing on the sound system at a reasonable, conversation-friendly volume.

Mosaic offers a variety of small plates, though the portions are more generous than traditional tapas. Dishes were artfully prepared and presented, and my bartender Kathy did an excellent job of explaining dishes, making recommendations, and ensuring her guests were enjoying their nibbles.

However, the word “fusion” in the restaurant’s “positioning statement” created an expectation that Mosaic failed to meet.

The food itself was excellent but at the same time, not particularly unique.

On the night I visited Mosaic, the chef’s soup sampler featured butternut squash soup with vanilla, tomato basil, and cream of cauliflower. Based on the items I enjoyed, they were likely quite well-prepared and delicious, but nothing you couldn’t find in a number of fine restaurants.

That was also true of the Trio of Cheese platter. It came with Sage Derby, Drunken Goat, and an Amish blue cheese. Again quite good but rather prosaic, as was the plate of cured meats.

That’s not meant as a negative, per se. The food was fresh, well-prepared, and tasty; it just wasn’t unique or surprising.

If you’re in the area of the St. Louis Convention Center and are looking for a nice place with good food, service, and energy, Mosaic will not disappoint. Just don’t expect it to push the culinary envelope.

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