An October 2003 trip
to St. Charles by Re Carroll
Quote: St. Charles was Missouri’s first state capital and is a great little place to get away from the big city pace of St. Louis. During a week spent visiting family in nearby O’Fallon, my sister and I discovered the addictive joys of dining and shopping in St. Charles.
Upon entering the restaurant with its oversize leather booths, heavy dark wood tables, high ceiling, large framed art prints and dimmed lighting we felt like we were walking into the study of an English country manor. The impressive wine room in the middle of the restaurant and the open kitchen in the rear reminded us that this was all about food.
Port Street is the place to come for beef and prime rib is one of their specialties. That became apparent as soon as we got a whiff of the mouth-watering aroma of prime rib slowly roasting in the oven. That was all that was needed for three members in our party of four to order it as their meal. Served au jus with baked potato, steamed green beans and creamed horseradish each large, thick cut was prepared exactly to order and was proclaimed melt in the mouth delicious.
I was the lone dissenter in the prime rib love fest but was just as satisfied with my order of chicken marsala. Served with a green salad, roasted potatoes, whole button mushrooms and green beans; it was also an excellent choice. I especially liked the mango vinaigrette salad dressing and would have snapped up a bottle to take home if it had been offered for sale.
My sister always drinks ice tea and was very impressed with the lemon half wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with ribbon to make sure no seeds fell out when she was adding the juice to her tea. Ice cubes made from iced tea ice also ensured that her drink stayed cold without being watered down.
We finished our meal with a huge piece of extremely rich and creamy New York-style cheesecake topped with strawberries. By the end of the meal, we were jokingly vowing never to eat again; however, that pledge lasted only until lunch the next day.
Service was extremely attentive without being obtrusive. As an added bonus we were in time to take advantage of their early bird dining special offered Mondays through Thursdays from 5pm to 6pm. Although entree prices alone are usually in the $20 and up range, we had salad, main course and dessert for the ridiculously low price of $13.99 per meal, beverages extra.
The restaurant is open nightly for dinner and reservations are recommended because this is one place you’d hate to miss.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 8, 2004
47 Port Street Grill
1260 S. Main Street
St. Charles, Missouri
Restaurant | "The Mother In Law House Restaurant"
The interior was a bit under lit and the old fashioned furniture, lace curtains and floral wallpaper reminded me of an elderly aunt’s house from my childhood days. Service was extremely pleasant and it felt like we were having lunch at a friend’s house.
The lunch menu featured burgers, sandwiches and salads with prices that were in the $6-8 range. Bea had a chicken salad sandwich and Tracey ordered turkey melt on sourdough bread. Both sandwiches were served with a green salad with a tangy celery seed dressing. I was very pleased with my curry chicken salad filled with chunks of chicken, juicy pineapple, chopped celery and green onion. It was garnished with a sliced hard boiled egg and served with a moist banana muffin that left me no room to even think about dessert despite my sister’s tempting.
Pies are the dessert specialty here, especially their signature coconut cream. Bea had a slice of apple pie that was chock full of sliced apples and had a light, flaky crust. For me, the mint with our bill was more than enough.
The restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Saturday and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Interestingly, all the patrons during our lunch were women -- maybe the restaurant was too fussy for men or was it just the thought of a mother in law that had them bypassing it?
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 8, 2004
Mother in Law House The
500 S. Main Street
St. Charles, Missouri 63301
Lunch entrees and appetizers are in the $8 range and there is a very good selection of Missouri wines as well as a full bar. The menu here has everything from fried catfish to steaks and even a few vegetarian options including a portabella mushroom burger. My niece is a sucker for the chicken breast sandwich filled with bacon, brie cheese and served on an onion roll with potato chips. Friends have suggested the deep fried catfish served on focacia bread with potato salad but we wanted something lighter. We shared an order of barbecue shrimp skewer and baked mushroom caps. The skewer held seven plump shrimp basted with a sweet barbecue sauce and the mushrooms were stuffed with crab and cream cheese. Both selections were winners that we’d order again. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A few blocks away from the restaurant is the Wine Shop at 710 Main Street where you can sample many of the winery’s offerings. I liked their Seyval Blanc and my sister enjoyed their blackberry. They also have a large selection of wine related gifts including pre made or made to order gift baskets. There are even baskets for non wine drinkers with a selection of coffees, teas and other goodies. The fellow operating the store is lots of fun and if you’re lucky he’ll give you a card for a 10% discount at the restaurant.
Winery of the Little Hills Restaurant
501 S. Main Street
St. Charles, Missouri 63301
The restaurant is huge and also has a covered outdoor dining area. The interior is separated into two large sections each with an impressive wood and glass bar. Decor is brick and dark wood with a large wood burning fireplace and booths along the wall. I found it strange that they didn’t accept reservations, at least for lunch, and was told there is often a wait to get a table.
The menu is varied enough to appeal to all tastes: from burgers and salads to steaks and chops, the food is well prepared, attractively presented and portions are substantial enough that a late lunch will negate the need for anything more than a bowl of soup for supper.
Tracey ordered a grilled pork loin sandwich served on a brioche with melted jalapeno cheese and served with pear chutney and French fries. Joyce’s French dip was served au jus on a chewy French baguette with havarti cheese and fries. My clubhouse was stacked so high that it was a challenge to eat and was filled with turkey, ham, smoked bacon, tomato, lettuce and two cheeses. It was served with a spicy cracked pepper mayonnaise and fruit salad. Bea opted for grilled cheese but even that was a gourmet meal with cheddar, edam and gruyere cheeses all melted together on toasted sourdough and served with a cup of their thick and flavourful potato chowder.
This was our last lunch before Bea and I left for home so we went all out and finished our meal with dessert. Even this presented quite a challenge because of the wide variety of choices. Eventually we decided on two desserts to share - apple pie with cinnamon ice cream and a chocolate ganache torte with raspberry sauce and both were excellent.
Next time we’re coming here for dinner where meat lovers can choose from smoked pork loin chops, grilled lamb chops, New York strip steak, prime rib, filet and veal chops with additions like black truffle barolo wine sauce, foie gras, wild mushroom sauvignon cracked pepper sauce and portabella mushroom roasted garlic sauce. Dinner entrees start at $20 and can go upwards of $35. Appetizers are in the $10-15 range and include grilled prosciutto wrapped shrimp, wild mushroom raviolis, crab cakes, goat cheese and mixed green salad and a multi country cheese plate with selections from Belgium, France, and Spain.
Next door, the Country Market sells many of the imported ingredients and items used in Annie’s recipes and is a nice place to buy food items/gifts.
16806 Chesterfield Airport Road
Chesterfield, Missouri 63005
Main Street Marketplace: 708 S. Main St 636 940 8626
For gourmet cooks or those who just like to eat, this is the place. It is filled with cookbooks and accessories and all manner of coffees, teas, jams and spices. It has an extremely wide and varied assortment of packaged mixes - everything from appetizers to desserts and many are made up for sampling to allow you to try before you buy.
Riverside Sweets: 416 S. Main St 636 724 4131
Dieters beware - this place is so tempting that just inhaling the fragrance of chocolate and caramel could cause weight gain. There is a good variety of homemade fudge, handmade chocolates and jelly beans in a whole rainbow of colours and samples are always available.
Collectors’ Center 723 S. Main St. 636 946 1121
This year round Christmas store has everything from tree decorations to an amazing display of Department 56 pieces which thrilled my collector sister to pieces. The store isn’t limited to just Christmas and has a wide variety of other collector memorabilia.
The Flower Petaler- 620 S. Main 636 946 3048
This place is huge and has two floors jammed full of floral arrangements, limited edition prints, fine arts, candles and accent furniture. A popular place, it was almost too crowded, but they had some incredible multi media sculpture as well as whimsical Christmas decorations for tree or table top that made the crush of people more bearable.
Olde Towne Spice Shoppe 334 S. Main 636 916 3600
Not only do they stock a wide variety of spices, they also specialize in tea and tea accessories. Large glass canisters behind the counter are filled with loose teas from around the world including chocolate mint that smelled so much like candy I had to buy some to take home. Like most flavoured teas, the smell was much more distinctive than the taste but I enjoyed the tea anyway. The shop also sells customized gift baskets and has a large and varied assortment of decorative teapots.
St. Charles Shopping
St. Charles, Missouri
Abbotsford, British Columbia