Push Your Palate

Named for the classic cocktail, Blood & Sand is a private, members-only restaurant and bar in Downtown St. Louis known for its modern, even rule-breaking approach to food and drink. “The menu has a magical way of transforming your impressions of food and beverage,” says owner Tim Murphy. “Many of our members trust us with their dining experience utterly and completely.” Executive chef Tristin Dunker helms the kitchen, using local, seasonal ingredients to craft sophisticated cuisine that’s worldly, approachable and adventurous. Try the signature truffled tater tots – a rich and creamy combination of white truffles and Yukon Gold potatoes – the succulent wild boar bruschetta on crispy French bread or the seasonal scallop mousse ravioli with lobster reduction. Pastry chef and kitchen manager Jordyn Bell ends meals with a sweet bite and brings new life to classic treats, including her “candy bar,” a milk chocolate crémeux with banana ice cream, goats-milk caramel and chocolate-coffee shortbread.

Members’ meals are customized based on individual preferences, palates, dietary needs and even dining habits. “We have one couple who likes to linger at the bar for a drink before being seated, another enjoys everything extremely spicy, while another loves one table for business and another for date night,” Murphy says. “We take notes to make their experience effortless so that they never have to say or even think of what’s missing because it’s all in place.”

As impressive as dining is, the cocktail program, headed by Sean Coltrain and Taylor James, is equally enlightening and satisfying. “We bring in fresh and exotic ingredients that are generally overlooked in the day-to-day cocktail world,” Coltrain says. Murphy adds: “Much like the food, we have approachable drinks, as well as the daring and even peculiar. We don’t pull recipes from a book and put them on the menu; they are our creations. They reflect the time, the season and even the mood of the person making them.” Try the tart and herbaceous Be Good or Be Gone (Four Roses bourbon, basil, lemon, pumpkin-seed oil, sea salt) or the silky Leaf House (yellow and green Chartreuse, calvados, lemon, turbinado sugar, whole egg). Or, opt for a Bartender Creation – your drink recipe is stored in the “black box” behind the bar for any bartender to recreate any night you stop in and request it.

Thicker Than Water

When asked the appeal of becoming a member at Blood & Sand, Sean Coltrain has a simple answer: family. “It’s a place to escape from the day-to-day stresses of the world,” he says. “Whether you want to come in for a quick cocktail before a hockey game or sit down to celebrate life’s accomplishments – we’re here for you. This is as much the members’ restaurant as it is ours.” A $15-a-month membership (reduced cost for a yearly subscription) is a small price to pay for fully customized cuisine and cocktails in a sleek and welcoming space – the staff is able to track your palate and personalize your arrival with a specific bottle of wine or new dish the kitchen has been working on.

Clientele come from all walks of life – young professionals relaxing after a busy workday, executives wanting to impress a potential client, cocktail-drinkers who want to have their palates constantly challenged, artists, athletes, and like-minded folks and friends joined by love of good food and drink.

And Coltrain points out that you don’t need a membership to come to Blood & Sand for the first time: “We are not about exclusion. Anyone can come in for a trial visit to see what we’re about. Just give us a call or send an email, and we’ll show you how dining can be comfortable and exciting again.” “We turn the humble into the decadent and the unfamiliar into the approachable,” Murphy adds. “Everyone has different tastes, and we don’t pretend to be for everyone, but we truly believe it’s everything you never knew you loved.”

Blood & Sand, 1500 St. Charles St., Downtown, St. Louis, 314.241.7263, bloodandsandstl.com

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Bethany Christo is Feast's special projects editor who enjoys barbecue, grammar, good reads, thrifting, attempting humor and rapping by herself in the car, all to the detriment of her social life. You'll find her near the desserts.

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