3 new St. Louis restaurants to try this month
Khanna’s Desi Vibes
Khanna’s Desi Vibes opened quietly this October in a warm and inviting space designed by owner Pravin Khanna and his cousin Bobby Jaggi. Familiar favorites like lamb rogan josh and butter chicken are offered alongside fusion dishes like paneer tikka quesadilla, a flour tortilla stuffed with mozzarella cheese, paneer and grilled vegetables. Start with the traditional vegetarian samosas served with a tamarind sauce and the tricolor paneer tikka: cheese marinated in either mint and cilantro, tikka masala spices or a spiced cream sauce, all cooked in a tandoor oven and served with mint and onion. Then be sure to order the standout entree: DV Veg Navratan Pulao, a rice dish cooked in cream scented with saffron, cumin, coriander and chiles. Studded with raisins, cashews and a mix of crisp-tender vegetables, the pulao was perfectly executed. The dal makhani, a popular north Indian dish made with black lentils in a tomato sauce incorporating ginger, garlic and cream, was also delicious, especially when sopped up with fresh butter naan and amritsari alu kulcha, a potato-stuffed flatbread.
13724 Olive Blvd., Chesterfield, 314.392.9348, desivibesstl.com
The Annex Coffee and Foods
From the owners of Frisco Barroom and Civil Alchemy, the Annex Coffee and Foods offers far more than your morning cup. Locally roasted Coma coffee is available to go along with house-made pastries and breads. You can even sip on cocktails while you peruse the grab-and-go menu or shop the wide selection of specialty foods like tinned fish, preserves and fine olives. Try the light, fresh Moroccan chickpea salad, made with shaved carrots, pistachios and shallots in a lemon-cumin vinaigrette. It’s a great complement to the Cuban sandwich, which combines ham hock terrine, mojo citrus-marinated pork loin and sweet and sour shaved pickles and peppadew peppers on a house-made baguette. Though not entirely traditional, it’s a sandwich even a Cubano purist could love. Be prepared to leave the Annex with something from the cooler for dinner, like house-made duck and sausage gumbo or potato pierogis.
8122 Big Bend Blvd., Webster Groves, 314.731.6329, theannexstl.com
We’re happy to report that Diego’s, the long-anticipated Mexican cantina from the team behind neighboring Frida’s, was worth the wait. Co-owner and chef Natasha Kwan won us over with well-executed classics like creamy esquites (Mexican corn salad) and an incredible shrimp tostada with avocado mash, radish, tangy pickled onion and super fresh crema. Left-field tricks included a flavorful and picturesque barramundi fish taco and the massive, cylindrical queso chicharrones, which wooed our resident cheese-lovers with its rich combination of queso Chihuahua, monterey jack and Parmesan cheeses along with roasted chiles. The University City restaurant’s prices may not make it the first stop for casual Taco Tuesday warriors – most tacos are $6 – but for those who can swing it, you’ll be glad you stopped in.
630 North and South Road, University City, 314.553.9906, diegosstl.com
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