It’s a tradition that’s been going strong for three years now. Mikey and I ring in the new year with tasty cocktails and a delicious dinner at a swanky restaurant.
This year, we went to a new place in St. Louis called Basso. The year before it was Taste in the Central West End, and the year before that it was Niche in Benton Park. NYE dinner is a success every time (when food is involved, why wouldn’t it be?), so we’ve kept it going for a while now. It gets us out of the house at a decent hour too and back home safely without having to risk the irresponsible drinkers on the road once the wee hours of the night roll around.
Basso is St. Louis’ newest see-and-be-seen dining destination, and it’s located in the lower level of the newly renovated and remodeled Cheshire Inn. The underground gastropub is inconspicuously marked by a simple sign above a small door. Once you enter and descend the winding staircase, you’ve arrived. There’s an open kitchen to your left that dishes out an array of Italian eats, including pastas and wood-oven pizzas. Straight ahead is a roaring fireplace, surrounded by some comfy couches. To your right is an impressive bar with plenty of seating, and more importantly, 32 beers on tap!
We were seated at one of the high-top tables near the bar and immediately started ordering up small plates from our server, TJ. We had the Mezzi Rigatoni, Potato Gnocchi, Beef Ribeye Carpaccio, Lobster Arancini and the Zeppoli Donuts to end on a sweet note. The Potato Gnocchi was our absolute favorite. I’m a sucker for gnocchi, and Basso’s is undoubtedly the best I’ve had. They should call it Melt-In-Your-Mouth Gnocchi because that’s what it did.
As for drinks, Mikey had a trio of beers, including the Tank 7, Moose Drool and Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro. I opted for fancy cocktails — the Spicy Aperole and Mistletoe Smash. The latter wins the award for best presentation. With a sprinkle of cranberries and a strand of fresh rosemary for garnish, it looked pretty enough to take home and use as a centerpiece.
What I loved most about Basso is that it felt trendy without feeling pretentious. And its ability to feel casual, yet intimate. What I disliked most about Basso was the company that sat directly behind me at the bar (which is no fault of Basso). If you read my Ireland post about the joyous couple we sat next to during our anniversary dinner in Kinsale, you’ll remember how I absolutely despise when other restaurant patrons feel the need to insert their snobbery or ridiculous conversations into your dining experience. But back to Basso… Really, chick at the bar, if the conversation with your man friend involves the words “cotton thong” and “I think about you all the time”, you may want to keep your voice down.
Overall, it was an excellent dinner, a perfect way to ring in the new year and a sign that we’ll be back for more Basso in the future.