Several months back, there was a Groupon for a restaurant named Ernesto’s Wine Bar in Saint Louis, MO. This restaurant and bar is located in the Benton Park neighbourhood, which is just off of the 55 motorway near the Anheuser-Busch brewery.
Though their food menu isn’t very extensive–consisting of primarily some appetisers, flatbreads, salads, and a couple larger plates–the food was fairly tasty for the price. We started with the House Chips (which were actually crisps, not chips), and they were quite nice. They were cut from Russet potatoes, and were lightly coated in truffle oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano. As I’m highly allergic to cheese, I had to be careful, but it wasn’t all that big of a deal to avoid the cheese. For dinner, I had grilled chicken and vegetable linguine, which was nice. The sauce was a bit thick for my liking, but it was easy enough to simply use less of it. She had the fancied-up grilled cheese, which was apparently quite good (for obvious reasons, I couldn’t try it). For our wine offering, we went with a 2010 Pinot Grigio from Lagaria. Though overpriced for the vintage, it nicely complemented our entrées.
The best part, in my opinion, was neither the food nor the wine, though. Instead, the atmosphere is what made the evening fantastic. It was a lightly cool night, and we were sitting out on the back patio near the fireplace. The heat from the fire was just enough to take the chill out of the air, but not so hot as to be uncomfortable. The service was a bit slow, but that was to be expected on a Friday evening, and sitting out enjoying the light breeze made time pass quickly.
Overall, Ernesto’s is a nice change of pace from the typical dinner, but the cost seems to be out of alignment with the quality of the food and drink. That being said, it isn’t so outrageously off-balanced as to be off-putting. I would like to go back another time to try some of the flatbreads and another bottle (but this time, of a rustic red).