Nick Bognar's Sado is off to running start with high-quality seafood on the Hill in St. Louis
The long-awaited new restaurant from Nick Bognar and his team has opened on the Hill, and they’re off to a running start. The space is dimly lit with two dining rooms and a sushi bar. The servers are knowledgeable and a good resource for navigating the menu, from food to drinks like the Higashi Tini (their take on a dirty martini) or the sake menu. While we were happy to see some beloved dishes from Indo on the menu, like their famed isaan hamachi and the vegetarian Japanese pumpkin dish with green curry sauce, there are also completely new dishes that are hard to find anywhere else in St. Louis, like the chawanmushi – a custard flavored with crab and seafood dashi. Topped with uni and salmon roe for added richness and salinity, it’s a super luscious, do-not-miss dish.
Their dry-aged fish dishes are also delightful; the aging process tenderizes the fish and adds complexity to the flavor. Try the madai yaki, dry-aged Japanese seabream that’s grilled until the skin is shatteringly crisp and served with chimichurri sauce and lime. The tempura menu is also serving fresh ideas, like the broccolini that’s fried crisp and served with aged Parmesan and umami aioli, and the acorn squash served with a miso caramel.
High-quality seafood is the cornerstone of the menu here, which makes ordering from the “fish market” section a smart way to learn what you like. The king crab was rich, the Hokkaido uni was a little nutty and sweet, and the kinmedai (goldeneye snapper) was mild with a little sweetness. While the menu reads ambitious, it doesn’t always take itself so seriously. Case in point: the fried Twinkie dessert – unpretentious, delicious and a fine way to end a thoughtful meal.
5201 Shaw Ave., St. Louis, 314.390.2883, sado-stl.com