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Erato Delivers After Really, Really, Long Car Ride

May 3, 2010

Saturday, Kelly convinced me to drive to Edwardsville for a long-overdue visit to Erato on Main. Erato underwent a chef change this past winter when Kevin Willman left to start Farmhaus in my own hood, leaving sous chef Jon Olson in charge. I was anxious to see what Olson was doing now that he’d taken the reins.

Dining with the Food Blog Mafia girls is always a treat because we usually share everything we order. Kelly and I knocked out two generously-sized bruschetta appetizers–one with buttermilk ricotta and poached rhubarb, one with fresh mozzarella, bell peppers, and balsamic. The ricotta was creamy and light, and the tang of the rhubarb paired nicely. I was happy to listen to Kelly talk about life’s drama so I could stuff my face with more than my share of these little toasts.

We followed the apps with escolar and a short rib ravioli.  The escolar had a nice crust that provided great textural contrast, but the star of this dish was the oyster mushrooms that accompanied the fish along with roasted cauliflower. Simply prepared and perfectly seasoned, these are the mushrooms people should try when they claim they hate mushrooms.  The ravioli was toothy, maybe just a touch too much, but the short rib and ricotta filling was incredibly luscious, and sage punched up the brown butter sauce.

We chose to focus on fruity desserts.  A lemon curd studded with chocolate cookie “crummies” and garnished with mint bubbles was solid, but totally forgotten once we dug into the strawberry ice cream with strawberries, chocolate, and whipped cream. Honestly, is there anything better than an in-season strawberry? Forget those fist-sized styrofoam things at the grocery store; they’re only a distant relative of what went into this ice cream. It’s nice to see a chef who clearly is as unnaturally excited about good strawberries being around as I am. Jon, can you make me some strawberry shortcake? Pretty please? Dessert was another reminder of how good chefs let great ingredients sing.

Service was friendly, and the atmosphere was casual. Olson came out to chat several times, even apologizing that he wasn’t able to get in asparagus because of the heavy rain. We even ran into a couple of friends who were eating at the same time as we were, but happened to be in a different part of the restaurant. Edwardsville is quite the distance from South City, but I’m glad I made the trip. Truth be told, I’d probably be in trouble if Erato was closer. I can see myself having a drink and a small plate a few nights of the week if it was in my neighborhood. I’d highly recommend you check it out, if you haven’t yet.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2010 12:29 pm

    Ok, KBO, I don’t want to hear your complain’ about driving to Illinois. I drive to St. Louis from the east side ALL THE TIME. It’s not THAT far. Sheesh. 😉

  2. May 4, 2010 9:20 pm

    Sounds like quite the pleasant trip. Reading the paragraph of fruit deserts made my stomach grumble .. mmmmmm cookie crummies .. strawberries .. chocolate .. ice cream .. yummy!

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