Vicia – St. Louis, MO
A few months ago, I caught wind of one of the top rated restaurants in St. Louis: Vicia. After hearing that it was one of the best in the area, I knew I just had to try it. Vicia is a “vegetable-centric” restaurant, but fear not, carnivores, it is NOT vegetarian. They have plenty of meat options, too! This sleek, modern restaurant is very close to Forest Park. Vicia takes under-appreciated vegetables and turns them into something amazing.
I’m a bread lover, so anytime I see bread, I get bread. The sourdough was crusty on the exterior with a soft, slightly acidic interior. Though the bread was good, the the star of the dish was the tomato tartare. The spreadable tartare was zestful and had a good texture. The egg yolk burst and I spread the tartare on the bread with some of the fresh butter and a sprinkle of the tomato skin salt…it was a completely different concept on a bread course, and I couldn’t have loved it more. The creamy butter with the rich yolk, tangy tomato, and salt packed a huge punch of flavor on the bread.
Succulent, sweet scallops scored (I’ve been practicing my alliteration skills) on top. The scallop itself was cooked to perfection, though I am not sure about the scoring on top. The score caused it to lack a nice crispness from the sear. The tart grapefruit contrasted the sweetness of the scallop and butternut squash. Overall, this was a great dish, but if the scallop were left un-scored, I feel that it would have been even better.
You’re probably thinking “chicken fried what?!” I know, I was, too. Let me tell you, this dish was PHENOMENAL and I could honestly eat it in place of fried chicken…it was THAT good! They cook the carrot until it is tender, but not mushy. Then, they bread and fry it to create a delicious, crunchy, just plain awesome crust. I took my deep fried carrot and dipped it in the honey mustard. The sweet yet stout bitterness of the honey mustard caused an explosion of amazing flavors in my mouth. Hands down, this was the best dish of the night.
See? I told you carnivores not to worry. This Berkshire Pork dish showcased four different cuts from the pig: the loin, jowl, belly, and tenderloin. All four cuts were cooked beautifully. The savory sauce that was poured over the top had a slightly acidic component to it, which helped balance out the rich pork.
This dish surprised me. The rice itself was incredibly creamy and smooth, like a risotto. After taking a few bites, the waiter informed me that the dish had no dairy in the rice whatsoever and that the creaminess was imparted by pureed onion! The proscuitto on top mixed with the braised leeks added a salty, crunchy element with a hint of onion. It was then topped with a cheddar foam, which added a very faint hint of cheesiness to the dish.
Talk about flavor…this braised beef was packed with it. Rich, tender, juicy beef served with crispy sunchokes all over the top. The sunchokes not only gave a crisp bite, but a sweet, nutty flavor. The beef completely melted in my mouth and left me wanting more.
I’m not a sweet potato fan when it comes to desserts, but this is an exception. The mousse was silky and light, as a mousse should be. It then had a thick layer of chocolate ganache, which simply could not hurt anything. The coffee cake crumble gave a contrasting texture, which was much needed. On top of the crumble, there was a coffee granita (semi frozen coffee, then scraped with a fork to make flakes, then frozen again..so basically coffee ice shavings), which added a slightly bitter flavor and brought out the chocolate even more. It was all topped with an allspice foam that added a warmth to the dish. I loved this dessert and would 100% order it again.
Vicia is one of the best restaurants I’ve dined at in the St. Louis area. All of their dishes are well-crafted and, well, just simply work. Everything from the chicken fried carrots to the sweet potato chocolate mousse is absolutely delicious. The vegetable-centric restaurant offers something for everyone, not just vegetarians, so if you’re a meat-lover like me, I still recommend you check this place out!