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One Year Anniversary: St. Louis’ Favorite Foodie Finds of 2011, Part 3

January 5, 2012
:  Continuing with our Top 5 St. Louis Foodie Finds of 2011…. (click #5#4  & #3 to get a recap).
    • #2  Peppe’s Apt 2: April of 2010 was the opening month for Peppe’s Apt 2, but Peppe Profeta has been in the restaurant scene long before that. As a young adult, he started working in his family’s restaurants. He and his parents had come over from Italy and immediately started what they knew best, Italian restaurants. They started a pizza place in south county and finally Gian Peppe’s in St. Louis’ mecca of Italian restaurants, The Hill (1981). Having difficulty with the English language, Peppe’s parents stayed the kitchen, while Peppe was working in the front of the restaurant gaining experience. Eventually Peppe started a place of his own, Apt 2. It is a bit of a distance from the Hill, in a corner building that has served many purposes in the past in Kirkwood. The ambiance, as well as the food, is classic and elegant. This former deli was transformed into what feels like old-world Europe. Chandeliers blanket the ceiling, and gorgeous molding lines the walls with a clean, warm white finish. Peppe’s presents a wonderful elegance that is inviting, but not overly stuffy. We were greeted by Joe, a very friendly host who is perfect for the front of the restaurant. Over the course of our stay at Apt 2, my husband and I were treated like royalty. Our night began with appetizers. For me, it was the Finocchi e Fungi, a cold mushroom salad mixed with crisp fennel and juicy tomato and coated with a lemon vinaigrette and a sharp parmigiana reggiano to balance the flavors.
    • My husband ordered the Polpettine di Mamma, a gathering of classic-style meatballs with polenta fries. Peppe’s mother had cooked this recipe, and Peppe has been following the tradition. These meatballs are so soft and moist – a definite must order!
    • We were tempted by many of the traditional Italian dishes. My husband tried the fettuccine alfredo, one of Peppe’s signature dishes, and I quickly decided on the Ravioli Toscani. The ravioli were stuffed with veal and portobello mushrooms in a tender blanket of pillowy pasta. The romano cream sauce that smothered the ravioli was eagerly cleaned off my plate by the warm rolls. Next I tried a classic preparation of Pollo Parmigiana, a very traditional and incredibly tender chicken parmesan…so tender in fact that you only need a fork to cut it. The brilliant, red tomato sauce that smothered the chicken was hearty and rich. In Italy, the tradition is to have your salad course just before dessert rather than at the beginning of the meal, so my husband and I moved on to the next course with a Sformata di Pomodori. A layered salad of tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil with extra virgin olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Beautiful! I can’t imagine how much better this salad will be next summer when the tomatoes are in season!
    • Finally, with extremely full bellies, my husband and I were forced to have dessert. (Well, forced is a strong word, it might not have taken that much persuading.) All desserts are made in-house (except the spumoni). Several traditional Italian goodies were offered, but we settled on the vanilla panna cotta and a chocolate torte.
The chocolate torte turned out to be moist and delicious, but my husband and I decided the panna cotta paired with the delicious cinnamon-nutmeg espresso prepared by our gracious host and server (Joe) was the perfect end to the meal. Thanks Joe!

Although the interior is classy and sophisticated, the many happy customers (you could tell Apt 2 attracted several regulars) and the great service made us feel right at home! We look forward to many more evenings at Peppe’s Apt 2!

Come back to  this weekend to find out who is #1!

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