I do not write Yelp reviews often. I believe in writing quality and not quantity. As a Restaurateur, I also only believe in writing Yelp reviews for places that I am moved by in some way. St. Charles Place (SCP) moved me.
True Story: 1 American, 2 Italians, 2 Swiss, 3 South Africans, 1 Dutchman, 1 Belgian, 1 Turk, 1 Mexican, 1 Austrian were in the city of St. Charles for the next few weeks and wanted to celebrate an occasion – they looked online on Yelp and found St. Charles Place, to celebrate and made RSVPs.
Prior to arriving, I reviewed the web-site and was so pleasantly surprised that SCP catered to a variety of tastes. The menu was fairly extensive in my opinion and had some very classic offerings for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
When we arrived at SCP, I was impressed at the sheer enormousness of the place. The current web-site does not do justice to the size of this place. If you are looking for a place for any-sized celebration, SCP can definitely accommodate. My group was greeted by a friendly man, by the name of Thomas – came to find out that he was the Executive Chef and Owner. Very down to earth and funny, with a little bit of Chicago moxie mixed in.
We walked through a crowded main dining room at 8:00 pm, to the back of the restaurant, with our own private dining area. Then appeared the goddess Athena herself, as our waitress. Our waitress, was very friendly and commanded a very pleasant demeanor which was great for our unruly international contingent. Owning a restaurant, I was impressed, that only 1 waitress was assigned to our table, as I observed a full team in action at the vast restaurant.
We put in our drink orders, a couple of red wines, some martinis, imported beers and a coca-cola classic for me, the party animal.
Then came the really fun part – ordering. I ordered 5 appetizers for the motley crue. Didn’t really need too, as SCP serves so much food. Warm bread and butter is delivered to the table and the main entrees usually come with a house salad or soup and a side. Seriously, SCP, is not frugal in anyway.
For starters, I ordered the Coconut crusted shrimp, Goat cheese bruschetta, Maryland crab cake, Calamari and Garlic Bread. I was so in love with the dipping sauce that the Coconut crusted shrimp came with, that I practically confiscated the sauce and told everyone that if I couldn’t have all of it, that I would start an international incident at the restaurant – the look in my eyes meant that I was serious; hence, my international team allowed me to eat most of the sauce – it was phenomenal – a raspberry reduction with a hint of wasabi or horseradish.
I need to pause here to comment on the decor. I loved it. High vaulted ceilings with a woodsy lodge theme, with trees growing inside the restaurants, that were decorated with tiny white lights. Gave it a rustic romantic charm. Perfect for a date or a very nice evening with a bunch of hooligans like us.
For main entrees, the ladies ordered their demur dishes, like vegetarian pastas or fish dishes; however, for most of us, we ordered carnivorous dishes. I ordered the Canadian Baby Back Ribs. When my order came out, I thought, that they were surely mistaken, because my dish was huge – enough for two people and only at $23???? Surely, there was some mistake; however, the person across from me got the same and hers was just as big. We could not stop laughing in awe on the portion size. And the most memorable aspect of my dish was the sauce. What is it with this place and the sauces??? They are phenomenal. I am not ashamed to say this, I ate very primitively and with my hands and had sauce all over my mouth and literally licked the shot of sauce that came with my already drenched ribs – the sauce was that good. I woke up this morning still thinking about it.
After dinner, the crew ordered desserts and coffees as well as after dinner drinks like Frangelico. The mousse and turtle pie were good.
What made the experience really memorable was the hospitality. I told the waitress how much fun we were having and she liked hearing that. Later, I can’t remember how it was disclosed, but it turned out our waitress was part owner and the sister-in-law of Thomas, the Executive Chef. Shortly before we closed our tab, Thomas came over to our table and chatted with us briefly. I thanked him for a wonderful time and told him his food was awesome.
Being a restaurateur, I know what it takes to run a restaurant. It is not for the faint hearted. The glamor, glitz and lifestyle that you think we restaurateurs have, is just a very nice romantic allusion. The truth is, that it is a lifestyle that we have chosen and one that we are committed too. Thomas and his team are obviously committed as well, given the top notch non-elitist service that we were afforded.
We closed the restaurant down and Thomas chatted with us while we were waiting for the taxis. 2 words – Magnanimous & Charismatic. Will be back