KP and I find ourselves in the St. Louis area every few months or so, and we almost always try to go and check out a new (to us) spot for dinner. There have been places we’ve liked so much that I’d go back in a heartbeat (Sidney Street Cafe, Brasserie), but we try to branch out. Recently when we were in St. Louis, we checked out Franco, a casual French restaurant right next to Soulard Market.
I love a good French bistro, but that’s not the vibe of Franco. It feels more… rustic urban. Is that a thing? It sits on the corner of the first floor of a building that dates back to 1899 and previously housed a shoe company and a baby carriage factory. Like so many places in St. Louis, Franco has an industrial loft feel with its high ceilings and exposed duct work, but there’s plenty of stone (check out that tiled bar) and wood (see the wave-like wooden structures hanging from the ceiling in the dining room). When we arrived, KP and I cozied up to the bar. And a cozy bar it is. Dimly lit, it’s one of those bars that you can just sit at for hours and maybe order something to nibble on when the mood strikes. There are also these cushy window seats in the bar area, perfect for a more intimate affair.
Our party of four shared oysters and a cheese & charcuterie flight to start. We were surprised when our waiter delivered the oysters and announced that they were from New Zealand, since that’s not what he originally said when we ordered them, but they were nice and meaty nonetheless. Two of us had the mussels and pommes frites, and the other two had the grilled rib-eye. Delicious meal, good portion sizes and the greenest, freshest brussel sprouts I may have ever seen (and tasted). We shared two desserts, too — the flourless chocolate cake and Tahitian vanilla crème brulée. I don’t usually opt for dessert when we’re at restaurants, but I had a taste of each. Nothing to write home about, but a sweet finish to the meal.
One of the things I liked most about our dinner at Franco was the speed of everything. I hate rushed meals, when each course is brought out the second you finish the prior course. They got it just right at Franco so we had plenty of time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company. Franco is definitely on my “I’d go back” list.