Review: Cafe Osage in the Central West End

Walking into Cafe Osage, you’re greeted by an abundance of lush plants and cute home goods. The restaurant is located inside Bowood Farms – a rehabbed early 20th-century warehouse straight out of a twee romantic comedy, complete with a scrappy cat named Olive perched atop the bookshelf separating the shop from the cafe. Walk up the few steps to the right of that bookshelf – where Jack Russell terrier Ruby isn’t allowed – to find seating. The space is bright white, surrounded by paned windows and dripping with botanical prints, and cocktails come looking like floral arrangements. The clientele, on the other hand, seem more “Sex and the City 2” rather than “500 Days of Summer.”

the brie lt at cafe osage // photo by michelle volansky

Brie LT
The Brie LT is your Manic Pixie Dream Sandwich. The “L” here is arugula from Bowood’s own gardens, and the “T” is in marmalade form – a smart move for fresh, sweet tomato flavor during any season. Despite its name, the sandwich does include Nueske bacon along with the creamy cheese. All of this is served open-faced on toasty five-grain wheat, crowned by a flashy pile of arugula.

Cobb Salad
Cobb salad usually falls into the background, forgettable and ubiquitous on cafe menus, but CO’s cobb is the “She’s All That” version, all dressed up with contacts and a new haircut. You may not have noticed, but she’s been great all along. Standard with chicken, avocado, hard-boiled egg, bacon and Roquefort, the makeover transformation is completed by butter lettuce and green beans that showcase Bowood’s impressive green thumb. A buttermilk ranch dressing brings it all together without smothering any of the fresh flavors.

the moroccan chicken salad at cafe osage // photo by michelle volansky

Moroccan Chicken Salad
Sometimes salads that sound exciting still end up sad, but the Moroccan chicken salad delivers on all its promise, making it the main character of the menu. A rainbow of beets, butternut squash, avocado, carrots, Marcona almonds and dates nestle into crisp, lush butter lettuce. Honey mustard dressing wraps the individual ingredients in a warm hug. With so many textures and tastes to explore, I couldn’t let a single bite go.

The Downside
The veggies were always the best part of each dish, so I was disappointed that there weren’t more salad options. When surrounded by greenery, I want to eat any and all that is edible, but the menu seemed to play it safe. I’ve heard good things about the weekend brunch bar, but the two cocktails I tried on weekdays – the bloody mary and Bowood, Berries and Bourbon – were not good. The bloody mix was incoherent and heavy with sediment, and the Bowood, Berries and Bourbon was far too sweet.

Cafe Osage 4605 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.454.686,