intermissionmag.com

TREE HOUSE RESTAURANT

By Gayle Wilson

With more than 2,000 Facebook followers, Tree House is earning praise from diners beyond the St. Louis non-meat-eating set. As a 20-year vegetarian, I was pleased with my first visit here, as was my omnivorous dining companion. The Tree House menu includes a diverse mix of vegetarian and vegan options as well as several items featuring meat stand-ins such as beef bourguignon and a chorizo tamale for those who crave carnivorous-like options.

The space is contemporary and open, but the openness comes with price: noise that evening was nearing an 8 on a 10-point scale. Our table butted-up to the front window, so that may have contributed to our conversation being littered with ‘huhs?’ and ‘whats?’ Service was attentive, but slow, which was understandable with every table being taken on this Saturday night, including outdoor seating. If one is looking for a relatively quick dining experience before an event, Tree House likely isn’t the best option unless reservations are made well in advance of curtain time. I opted for a non-alcoholic pear and ginger kombucha tea to start which was refreshing, light and not too heavy on the sugar content. It arrived in a can, surprising me that it wasn’t freshly-made. From the time we sat down until my companion received her freshly-made drink of sparkling white wine with fruit infusion, 35 minutes had passed. We did have plenty of water though and when our waiter brought her drink, he also served it with a sincere apology.

With eight appetizers, four small plates and seven large plates ranging from $10 to $14, the selections are diverse, seasonally focused and locally sourced. We shared a ‘snack’ of beet hummus with crostini ($5), and a crisp brussels sprouts salad ($9) with a tangy, light dressing. I selected two small plates: The chile relleno ($8) was a roasted poblano pepper with chihuahua cheese (and a vegan option), a panko breading and salsa. It was tasty, not too spicy, but a bit heavy on the panko. My second small plate was banh xeo ($8), a rice flour and coconut milk crepe with wild mushrooms, stuffed with mung bean sprouts and charred onions with fresh greens and herbs on the side. It was disappointingly stiff.

My friend opted for a large plate and was thrilled by the stuffed eggplant ($14) which was beautifully presented and very tasty with fennel, leeks, potatoes, bell pepper, onion, kalamata olives, dried fruit, lemon yogurt sauce with toasted pecan topping and a curried couscous base. My one bite of it ensured that I will return another evening, though I will plan for a less popular night to experience this restaurant’s food and service at its full potential.

We finished our meal by sharing a warm pear crisp—a big, vegan-friendly dessert that was a delicious end to our two-hour meal. With daily happy-hour drink pricing and sharing a dessert, our bill was $66 before tip.

Location: Tower Grove neighborhood
Address (click it for map): 3177 South Grand Blvd, St. Louis 63118
Reservations: http://treehousestl.com/reservation/

URL: treehousestl.com

Phone: 314.696.2100
Times: Open 5pm - 10pm weekdays and weekends for dinner except Mondays.                          Weekend brunches 10am - 3pm.

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