Friday, January 27, 2023

Westchester, A Family Owned Dining Restaurant Impresses St. Louis Chesterfield

It tastes like someone started a fire in your neighborhood and set it ablaze.” This is how the owner of the Chesterfield restaurant described one of the premier Scotch whiskeys in Westchester.

Okay. We are in. After being pampered and spoiled for an hour, we were ready for a challenge. We had already mastered a more-laden dish of fettuccini, a deliciously rich and decadent duck-fat fried potato, and smoked salmon with lemon cheese. That was just for starters.

Westchester opened in an unassuming strip mall earlier this year. Its pedestrian location belies its high quality. It’s cozy inside, with dark walls and ceiling baffles that reduce noise and tables designed to be both comfortable and friendly. The subdued cool air is created by the tabletop lighting, which looks like a candle. Walls are decorated with art photos of various music venues, including Red Rocks and the Grand Ole Opry. On a weekday evening, the polished bar is already packed with patrons. As the night progresses, more people join the fray. Westchester offers dinner until 11 p.m.

There are seven main dishes. Each of the main courses is exceptional and there are no mistakes. A grilled chicken’s caramelized skin promises a juicy interior. The bird is plated alongside a bright Panzanella filled with red tomatoes and green beans, and a slice of hearty grilled bread. This is a visually stunning and artistic arrangement. Flat-iron steak is cut with the center rose-bright. It’s then plated alongside whipped potatoes, tender asparagus shanks, and whipped potatoes. The meat is accompanied by Marrow Butter, which adds depth and shine. Flavorful filet mignon is adorned with a pillow of buttery potatoes and a syrupy demi glaze. This reflects the skills of a skilled kitchen who knows how to prepare sauces.

One word about portion sizes: Midwesterners are more inclined to eat full meals. Westchester is a good example of this. Starters here would make for a full lunch; they invite–demand–sharing at dinner.

Fettuccini is tossed in cream Alfredo-type sauce, with thumb-sized morels and the earthy flavors from fungus. The pasta is perfectly cooked and rich. Hot duck fat is not bad, and this is especially true for Duck Fat Truffle Fries. These crispy, thinly sliced potatoes are perfect for scooping up the peppercorn sauce. The Smoked Salmon Plate comes with a swirled bouquet of smoked salmon slices, with red onion nibbles and capers, and piled on rye bread crostinis.

Westchester restaurants are often called “American” or “contemporary” because they have chefs who make “I like that, and I bet others will too” menus. You can be sure that the result will be wonderful. For example, take the halibut. This fish is a great choice because of its firm, snowy flesh and requires minimal preparation. It’s pan-roasted here, and the crust is delicious, with no saucing or razzamatazz. Below it is a scoop of farro nubbins, baby carrots, and green beans. However, the fish is still the star of the meal.

You can visit Westchester, Missouri, just past Myrtle Fertilizer, Feed & Seed. The bourbon barbecue glaze makes this a gorgeous, thick cut of chop. It’s the sine qua non of pork.

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