Tara and Michael Gallina, veterans of Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns, came to St. Louis with a staggering amount of dining and hospitality experience. At its most basic, their restaurant Vicia celebrates vegetables, the land they’re grown in, and the farmers who grow them, in a space that’s like a freshly pressed white linen shirt — cool, timeless, clean, and welcoming. Pre-COVID, the restaurant was known for casual lunches (tartines, soups, charcuterie, and salads with midday wine), but the restaurant truly bloomed in the evening, with 15-course tasting menus that astounded diners. The Gallinas are willing to put avant-garde preparations of vegetables center stage, like carrots cooked in beef fat, while using meat dishes cooked on the open wood-fired grill as supporting acts. The restaurant currently invites guests to celebrate the bounty of the Midwest through the humbler three-course farmer’s feast, a chef’s selection of dishes served family style. The menu changes daily, but previous offerings have included starter snacks like turnip-shell tacos with black beans, shiitakes, kale, yogurt, and carrot hot sauce, or a delicate dish of juniper-cured scallop with sorrel. A main might feature Berkshire pig with grilled strawberry mostarda or barbequed hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, served with sweet potato with fresh cream, preserved citrus, and toasted seed cracklings. Whether the menu is long or short, Vicia serves food that is more precise than seasonal, anchoring each meal to a specific time and place.
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