Sidney Street Cafe

by Whiskey and Soba

Let’s be real: there are heaps of good-to-great restaurants in St. Louis, but two stand at the top – Gerard Craft’s Niche and Kevin Nashan’s Sidney Street Cafe. You can argue, but you’d be wrong. If you’re looking to impress, seduce, congratulate, or wallow in self pity, these are the places to do it. The dinner you see below was of the congratulatory kind – a dinner to celebrate me! I decided to leave the corporate world and make Whiskey and Soba my full-time job.

I have total faith in both Nashan (and Craft), so I’m willing to be more experimental in my ordering at their restaurants. I typically avoid sweetbreads (thymus gland), but Sidney Street found one of my weaknesses: the Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich.

Sidney Street’s version put smoked then fried sweetbreads over a sourdough griddle cake, then thinly sliced jalapeños, radishes, cucumber, fermented daikon, and a dill aioli on top. A few springs of cilantro – a bahn mi necessity – made their way on at the end. The sweetbreads were crunchy and delicate, a surprisingly fitting substitution for the typical sliced pork and pork pate. The crunch and smoke gave a meaty element, while the texture inside had that pate-like softness.


The veal dumplings are a menu staple, one that I thought I remembered eating long ago and not caring for. Wrong. These little dumplings pack a punch of flavor mostly thanks to their teriyaki and honey glaze, but the cilantro salsa on top gives it a bright freshness that makes it pop.


With each entree comes a soup or salad, and each evening there’s a special salad option. My dad opted for the special, which had pickled rhubarb and a chimichurri dressing. I only got a small bite, but the dressing was the herbaceous explosion one would expect from a chimichurri.


How the hell is a chilled pea and mint soup so good? Someone tell me? I feel like people are going to think I’m lying when I say this soup was flat out amazing (or they’ll accuse me of secretly working for Nashan, as someone did previously), but I promise you I’m not.


My dad went the healthy route for his entree, ordering steamed halibut over asparagus and a lemon nage, topped with a halibut chicharron salad. Five balls of dirty farro with crawfish lined the plate. The way he hesitantly gave me only a tiny bite of just fish – no asparagus, no farro, no chicarrons – made me think he enjoyed his meal.


I was fortunate enough to get their lamb Wellington, just days before it was removed from the menu. It’s a perfect example of Sidney Street taking a classic dish – Beef Wellington – and playfully spinning it into something beautiful and different.

Lamb loin topped with herbs and wrapped in puff pastry is the dish’s focal point, flanked by crispy lamb sweetbreads, creamed nettles, and a few drops of some kind of intense lemon puree. The little cauldron on the right side of the dish is a Merguez meatball ragout, a dish so good that I’m salivating just thinking about it again. It’s cheesy, it’s meaty, it’s spicy; it should be an appetizer of its own.


If I went back again tonight, I’d get the grilled quail. The tiny, adorable bird is grilled and served over harissa tossed papas bravas (fried potatoes), charred carrots, and chimichurri. It’s a perfect dish for summer with its smoke and char flavors.


Oh, vanilla ice cream and a chocolate chip cookie! Wrong. That ice cream is popcorn flavored, and unlike most popcorn ice creams I’ve had, it doesn’t taste like movie theater butter/a popcorn Jelly Belly. It tastes like creamy, delicious popcorn. Get it.


Dessert of the year so far for me right here, folks. I typically detest deconstructed dishes. I don’t want to order tiramisu only to receive a plate of Dippin’ Dots. But this…this was something special. A crumbled piece of moist, wonderful carrot cake is served with shards of crispy ginger meringue, dabs of passion fruit gel, black currants, cheesecake puree (a “holy shit” delicious ingredient), and a carrot-passion fruit sorbet.

Pastry chef Bob Zugmaier and his crew looked at what the rest of the kitchen was doing with entrees and apps, said “let’s show them what we can”, then dropped the mic with this.


Sidney Street Cafe

2000 Sidney St

St. Louis, MO 63104


Sidney Street Cafe celebrates over 20 years at Dining Out for Life

by FOX 2 News, Kim Hudson


ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- Restaurants are warming up their ovens for the annual Dining Out for Life to benefit St. Louis Effort for AIDS. The agency works on prevention, testing and services to help keep HIV from spreading through the metro area. Many restaurants, like Sidney Street Cafe, have been donating a portion of their profits for over 20 years. All businesses will donate at least a quarter of their earnings to the effort. Some are even donating half.

Dining Out for Life is April 30, 2015.

Trend Alert: 3 Restaurants Serving Great Rabbit Dishes

by Feast, Liz Miller and Bethany Christo

Rabbit clemenÇeau

In March, chef Kevin Nashan ran rabbit clemençeau as a special at Sidney Street, a riff on the traditional New Orleans chicken clemençeau.

Rabbit Clemençeau

Kevin Nashan believes rabbit is overlooked in most restaurant kitchens. The chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe in St. Louis has been working with the game meat for years and describes it as a highly versatile, lean protein that has a noticeably nuanced flavor. In March, Nashan ran rabbit clemençeau as a special, a riff on the traditional New Orleans chicken clemençeau. Nashan’s interpretation plated hearty seared rabbit with brabant of chayote, radishes, preserved lemon and black truffles in a rich mushroom velouté sauce. “It’s one of those dishes – whether you grew up with it or not – it’s familiar,” Nashan says. “You eat it, and it’s very comforting.” –L.M.
Sidney Street Cafe, 2000 Sidney St., Benton Park, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.771.5777,


Ian Froeb’s STL 100: Sidney Street Cafe

by STL Today, Ian Froeb

Sidney Street Cafe | Ian Froeb's STL 100 - The 100 Best Restaurants in St. Louis

Kevin Nashan enjoyed quite the year in 2014. In January, a group of locally and nationally renowned chefs gathered at Sidney Street Cafe to celebrate Nashan’s 10th anniversary as the chef and owner of the Benton Park institution. In March, he was named one of six finalists for Best Chef: Midwest at the James Beard Awards. (He didn’t win, but through 2014, no St. Louis chef had.) Then, in August, he opened his second restaurant, the Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co., a casual seafood spot that was an immediate hit. At Sidney Street, meanwhile, it’s been business as usual, with Nashan balancing tradition — yes, the filet béarnaise and wasabi-encrusted steak are still on the menu — with a much more modern aesthetic. My favorite dish from my most recent visit found a happy medium between the two: a painterly composition of roasted lamb loin “Wellington” and lamb sweetbreads over creamed kale paired with a rustic, strongly flavored Merguez-meatball ragout in a cast-iron dish.

10 Secret Weapon Ingredients from Star Chefs

by Yahoo! Food

Shiro Dashi
“I first discovered it when I staged four or five years ago at Quince, Saison and Manresa,” says St. Louis chef Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe. “Each place had these same bottles with Japanese writing, so finally I asked what it was. It’s life-changing. It’s a completely different flavor than anything you’ve ever had in your life. It comes in this big magnum bottle. It’s aged in barrels in Japan, so it’s quite expensive—I paid $102 for it. It’s so yummy. It’s a good Band-Aid for my food. Take our monkfish dish—we cure monkfish in shiro dashi for a couple of hours, and then smoke it for just 20 minutes because the shiro dashi is also a little smoky. It gives this beautiful, delicious aged flavor that you would never get any other way. It’s almost Parmesan-y.”

Why Lardo Reigns Supreme

by Plate, Matt Kirouac

An Italian mainstay, lardo is pork fat cured in spices and herbs. In Tuscan lore, it was made in marble tubs that allowed the lardo to breathe as it cured, resulting in a lusciously tender piece of salumi prime for enriching just about anything.

Evan Funke of Los Angeles’ Bucato makes a chopped lardo mousse he calls “pesto Modanese.” His riff on this Italian tradition includes walnuts, wildflower honey and black pepper. “Because lardo is pure fat and highly seasoned, one should pair it with ingredients that have body and a bit of acid,” Funke explains.

“You should be able to taste the product; it shouldn’t taste like cinnamon or bay leaves, it should taste like pig,” says Kevin Nashan, of St. Louis’ Sidney Street Cafe. Draping slivers of lardo over brûléed scallops, the chef showcases pig purism while balancing out the sweet, buttery bivalves with a salty component.

Inspired by his mother’s childhood lard sandwiches, Greg Baker of Tampa’s The Refinery cures lardo with black pepper, juniper and rosemary before puréeing it and splaying it on bread. “Grinding and whipping it improves the mental picture of a lard sandwich and makes for an awesome crostino with some sliced turnip and finishing salt,” he explains.

“Lardo is the perfect use for a product that you just can’t make yourself throw away,” says Will Fincher of Charleston’s The Obstinate Daughter. He cures fat for several months before spreading it over pizza or crostini.

Andrew Wiseheart has brought his love for lardo to his Austin restaurant, Gardner. “I love working with lardo because of its rich, decadent mouthfeel,” he says. At Gardner, he dices, freezes and blends lardo into a powder. When added to an okra dish with almonds and dill, Wiseheart says it amplifies the textural experience of the dish.


This Flower Tastes Like an Oyster

by Food & Wine

We asked chefs to peek into their crystal balls and tell us what foods we’ll be talking about in the next five years. Here’s what they predicted.

Chef Kevin Nashan of St. Louis’s Sidney Street Cafe thinks the future of food is growing in his garden right now. “I love growing stuff that’s off the beaten path like saltwort, lovage and borage,” he says. “They help elevate flavor in place of salt or spices. If you were a vegan, you could eat a borage blossom to learn what an oyster would taste like. Get a fresh blossom with a little of its stem, season it with shiro dashi, and it would make you flip out.”

Two St. Louis Beers to Drink Today

by Food & Wine

After a night on the line, most chefs have a go-to drink, from cheap beer to a house bartender’s expert cocktail. Here, star chefs reveal their favorite drinks.

Chef Kevin Nashan of St. Louis’s Sidney Street Café is a huge supporter of the local brewery scene. “We have a ton of microbreweries that do some dynamite, kickass stuff,” he says. He recommends Urban Chestnut’s Zwickel, an unfiltered, unpasteurized Bavarian-style lager. “I could drink copious amounts of that stuff,” Nashan says. He also is hooked on the Barrel-Aged Sump Coffee Stout, a collaboration between Perennial brewery and Sump Coffee (“my favorite coffee dude in town,” he says). It’s a dark Imperial stout aged for a year in Rittenhouse Rye barrels, blended with Sump’s coffee,. “I’m not a heavy-beer guy,” Nashan says. “But it’s not too heavy—it’s great.”

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Perennial’s Barrel-Aged Sump Coffee Stout

The 10 Dishes that Made My Career: Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe

by First We Feast, Alia Akkam

The St. Louis powerhouse talks pierogi, pozole, and paella.

Photos courtesy Sidney Street Cafe

“I tried to escape the restaurant world by going to law school, but it was the pits,” says Kevin Nashan, the Illinois-born, New Mexico-bred, James Beard-nominated chef behind Sidney Street Cafe and the newly opened Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. in St. Louis. “I was meant to cook, I just didn’t know it was in my DNA until I was force-fed it at the Culinary Institute of America, where I fell in love with the kitchen instantly.”

After graduating from the other CIA (you know, the Carrie Mathison one), Nashan’s Hispanic grandfather opened the restaurant La Tertulia, a vibrant hacienda in Santa Fe. A young Nashan spent a good amount of time washing dishes, but he also got experience in all aspects of kitchen life—all while developing a deep appreciation for the chile-inflected cuisine of New Mexico .

Once he realized he wanted restaurants to be his fate after all, Nashan kicked off his career with an internship in New Orleans at Commander’s Palace. Chicago and the great chef Roland Laccioni of La Français beckoned next. Perhaps Nashan’s most “important step” was venturing to Spain, where he mistakenly thought he had secured a stage at Santi Santamaria’s El Racó de Can Fabes. “I knew I had to find something else, so I went through the Michelin guidebook and kept contacting restaurants,” the Nashan remembers. “Martín Berasategui, in San Sebastian, brought me on, and I stumbled upon a year’s worth of learning. I also got to stage at elBulli—before it was popular.”


His European sojourn was rewarded with a job in the kitchen of Daniel, but he soon left New York for on-the-rise St. Louis, where he and wife Mina took over Sidney Street Café. Eleven years later, they’ve transformed the Benton Park restaurant into an icon of the region—a destination for dishes like Carolina-style BBQ sweetbreads and pea-filled pierogi with caramelized crème fraîche that embody Nashan’s playful, globally-inspired modern American cuisine. The Peacemaker, an ode to both the humble seafood shack and the nomadic Acadians who migrated to Louisiana from Maine, turns out buttery lobster rolls, po’boys, and freshly shucked oysters.

“I opened the Peacemaker with selfish intentions,” Nashan admits. “What did I want to eat at the end of day? Not a fancy meal. It’s not less work—I could argue that it’s even more—but it’s about figuring out how to cook yummy food and keep the lights on in a fun atmosphere.”

Nashan has certainly solved the conundrum. From childhood bowls of fiery pozole to David Kinch’s graceful assembly of vegetables, the energetic chef—and multiple Ironman vet—recalls 10 of the dishes that celebrate his diverse cultural heritage and far-flung travels.


Some kids grow up with porridge, but since I was in diapers I was having red and green chiles. At my family’s restaurant there is one dish among many that stood out and it’s the pozole with hatch green chile. It was a sort of benchmark of simplicity and comfort. It didn’t matter if it was two or 90 degrees outside, it was one of those things we had three or four times a week. (Photo: James Ransom/Food52)


Kind of an empanada, kind of a pierogi, my mom made empanaditas every year at Christmas. They were shaped like a half moon and she filled them with deer meat, beef tongue, applesauce, molasses, pine nuts, and sherry. She always deep fried them. They brought our big family together, so it showed me the importance of tradition. I saw all the meat stewing, but she never told us what it was, and I never really asked. (Photo: Food Network)


In 1997, a group of Culinary Institute of America students all saved our money to eat at Daniel. It had been a long year and we wanted to treat ourselves to a celebration dinner. To this day, it’s one of my favorite meals of all time. But what stood out in particular was the artichoke barigoule. It was the first time I had experienced an unsung vegetable that way. It was one of those points in my life where I was like, ‘I have to work with this guy.’ Lucky for me, he let me in, and it was amazing. (Photo: Daniel Krieger)


When I lived and worked in Spain for a year, I came across paella, a dish I thought was familiar with. But it wasn’t until a friend’s family made it for me on an open fire that I realized how much technique went into it. It was communal, complex, fun, and downright delicious. My favorite bites were the ones from the side of the pan that were full of flavor, and both crispy and soft. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)


I will never forget my first scallop in the shell, when my sous chef, David, had me shuck it out. It was pulsating in my hand and then he said to eat it. It was so sweet, clean, and briny. You think you have an idea of what a food is, and then you taste something like this and you realize you’ve had impostors your whole life. If everyone ate this scallop, they’d never want to eat another kind. (Photo: Food Nutrition Table)


My dad is German and Polish, and we would spend summers in Chicago, where my grandmother would make all these amazing meals for family gatherings. She could have bought them, but she wanted to make her pierogies by hand. My favorite was stuffed with shredded pork and caramelized onions, oozing out garlic potatoes. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)


Liccioni was my main mentor. He took me in, showed me everything, and was meticulous in the kitchen. His French onion soup at Le Français is the cornerstone of my career because it taught me patience and discipline. I had to make it every day, the onions had to be sweated in a certain way, and it was just a pain in the ass. But after a few weeks I grew to love it and it wasn’t laborious anymore. My goal was to make it better each time. You have to understand a dish completely before you can move on. (Photo:


I skipped it this year because I was opening the Peacemaker, but for five years in a row I have had this tradition of staging at a different restaurant on my birthday. One year I did it at Town House, in Chilhowie, VA, and it was just incredible to find that caliber of food in the middle of nowhere. It would be easy to say that John’s minestrone was just another soup dish, but he stacked maybe 14 different types of vegetables with different textures in a pickled broth. Like Michel Bras’ gargouillou, he took such an elegant approach that stood out. (Photo: Starchefs)


This was a recent meal, maybe about a year and a half ago, and it was similar to eating at Etxebarri in Spain. It showed me how embers can make a fish I have eaten all my life taste that much better. You eat out all the time, and then you taste something like this, charred and so clean underneath, and it just hits you. (Photo: Peche/Facebook)


I’ve been lucky enough to eat at Manresa four or five times, and David Kinch nails it every time. He’s a cook’s cook, and what he does to vegetables—like in this dish, where there are over 30 of them, all so clean and with different textures—well, it makes you wonder why you do things the way you do. He always makes it look so simple. This dish made me want to be a better cook. (Photo: Manresa: An Edible Reflection, Ten Speed Press)


Best Chef St. Louis 2014 – Kevin Nashan, Sidney Street Cafe

by Riverfront Times

Kevin Nashan, Sidney Street Cafe

It was 2003, and Kevin Nashan had just moved back to town. Hot off the heels of a stint in New York City working under the acclaimed Daniel Boulud, Nashan and his wife had plans to open a restaurant, starting from scratch. Then they were approached by Tom McKinley, who was looking to pass on the torch of his Benton Park restaurant, Sidney Street Cafe. The St. Louis dining scene was forever changed. There’s no question that Nashan’s ten-year run as chef and owner of Sidney Street bears a significant amount of responsibility for the explosion of St. Louis’ culinary scene. Before Nashan, fine dining in this city meant a nice steak and a twice-baked potato. But once he got his hands on Sidney Street, he infused the menu with creativity and finesse that challenged diners to think differently about what a great meal means. It was a gamble. Sidney Street Cafe already had an established clientele and successful business model, but Nashan was convinced he could do something truly magical with the place. Ten years and heaps of national acclaim later, it’s clear that he has.