Six Fusion Restaurants That Bring Together a World of Flavors
The “Where do you want to go to dinner?” debate has driven a wedge between couples from the moment the first two competing restaurants ever opened in the same town. Deciding between sushi or pizza, tacos or ramen continues to plague even the hangriest of partners.
Thankfully, the eclectic menus of these six restaurants give diners more choices within one eatery, connecting everyone to the diverse flavors they crave. And even more important, they offer a delicious solution to the Friday night back-and-forth.
Sunday brunch usually revolves around all-American pancakes or eggs and bacon, but the Copper Pig in South City gives many of your breakfast flavors a global infusion while integrating more unexpected fare into the menu. Kill off your Saturday night hangover with the Wasabi Bloody Mary before digging into the Latin America-inspired green chili chicken chilequiles and breakfast chimichanga or Asian dishes like okonomiyaki (a savory Japanese pancake) and the Good Morning, Vietnam banh mi. If it’s too hard to drag yourself out of bed for breakfast, check out the Copper Pig at lunch and dinner throughout the week for the bulgogi cheesesteak or the loco moco, a traditional Hawaiian dish.
4611 Macklind Ave.
A Japanese-Italian hybrid, Café Coeur offers a menu that tempts any diner, regardless of dietary needs, religious restrictions or even downright pickiness. Here, handcrafted specialty pizzas, ranging from port-poached pear and Loxley & Bag-el, share the menu with sushi, sashimi and nigiri. But it’s the small plate and pasta lineup where flavors truly meld. Matcha-infused linguine provides a nest for egg yolk, oyster mushrooms and togarashi. Wakame, a type of seaweed, wakes up traditional fettuccine Alfredo. And tuna and Japanese mayo put a twist on bruschetta. Bonus: Café Coeur features several vegetarian and vegan dishes, and the restaurant is certified kosher.
10477 Old Olive Street Road
Burgers and tacos are drive-thru mainstays. But it’s not often those burgers are actually slices of grilled marinated rib-eye piled high with kimchi along with traditional American fixings. Or the tacos feature fish tempura or pork belly instead of greasy ground beef. Kimcheese, located in Chesterfield with a second site Downtown coming soon, has redefined fast food by focusing on fresh produce and authentic Korean ingredients and crafting every element of its cuisine in-house, from dicing the veggies for its pico de gallo to slicing the meat for its bowls and bee bim bap.
13435 Olive Blvd., Chesterfield
Kalbi Taco Shack
On a street lined with some of the best Mexican taquerias in the city, it can be hard for one taco to stand out from another. However, Kalbi Taco Shack puts a Pacific Rim spin on everyone’s favorite go-to. Owner Sue Wong-Shackelford and her staff load corn or flour tortillas with Asian slaw and Kalbi aioli sauce before piling on the protein, from boneless beef short ribs to sweet and savory jackfruit. In addition, the Cherokee Street restaurant serves up burritos and quesadillas along with bahn mi sandwiches and traditional Asian rice bowls. Wong-Shackelford will soon take her concept to a second location when she opens City Taco Shack at the new City Foundry next year.
2301 Cherokee St.
With BBQ at the forefront of both Korean and Mexican fare, one of St. Louis’ godfathers of fusion, Seoul Taco‘s David Choi, merged elements from both cuisines into street food that has gained national notoriety. Whether you grab tacos loaded with sesame vinaigrette salad mix and bulgogi steak from its legendary food truck or a burrito bursting with spicy pork and kimchi fried rice from one of its six bricks-and-mortar shops in the Midwest (with its latest restaurant soon to open in The Grove), the unexpected punch of flavor pops in your mouth with every satisfying bite.
46 Four Seasons Shopping Center, Chesterfield
6665 Delmar Blvd., The Delmar Loop
Wok O Taco
When the Cervantes brothers moved to the St. Louis region from Mexico, they mastered their cooking skills in the kitchens of local Chinese restaurants. Unable to find a dining spot that combined the food of their heritage with the Chinese food they’d come to embrace, they opened a place of their own in Maryland Heights. At Wok O Taco, dishes like mango sesame or sweet and sour chicken are served up with spicy Mexican rice while stir fry shrimp tacos can be paired with lo mein noodles. Close out your meal with wonton empanadas bursting with Mexican vanilla cream cheese and topped with berries.
10633 Page Ave.
Featured image: Shakshuka with chorizo. Courtesy of Copper Pig.