A unique eatery recently opened its doors in Creve Coeur. Cafe Coeur debuted on April 7, featuring kosher Italian-Japanese fusion cuisine such as arancini onigiri, matcha linguine and okonomiyaki-style pizza in an upscale casual setting.

The concept comes from husband-and-wife duo Moshe and Chana Plotnik, who partnered with New York-based restaurateur Yaniv Sides. According to executive chef Matthew Dawson, who previously cooked at River City Casino, Sides owns two sushi restaurants in Manhattan and a pizza place in New Jersey 

“Yaniv was staying in St. Louis and realized there aren’t really any kosher restaurants here that are open at night,” Dawson says. “He was introduced to Moshe, who wanted to open a restaurant in St. Louis, and they started collaborating on ideas. They brought me on to create a menu that bridged pizza and sushi together.”

“We always knew that St. Louis needed something for the kosher-observant community,” Chana adds. “We were really happy to meet people with the same thought process and experience to help us make it a reality.”

Dawson previously served as the executive chef of area restaurants including Peppertini’s Piano Bar and Grill, Quintessential Dining and Nightlife and Brandt’s Cafe. At Cafe Coeur, he works with sous chef John Qoines and sushi chef Naw Sang, previously of Cafe Mochi.

Cafe Coeur fills a 2,300-square-foot space, with around 60 seats throughout its dining room. The Plotniks worked with subcontractors to create a cozy, modern atmosphere with an open kitchen and booth seating. Qoines’ father contributed his own artwork for the walls.

From the menu, choose from a large variety of kosher pescatarian dishes as well as plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Highlights include small plates such as arancini onigiri, or panko-crusted rice balls stuffed with cheese and herbs, served with marinara and pesto. Another popular fusion item is okonomiyaki-style pizza topped with cabbage, bean spouts, carrots, okonomi sauce, eggs and Japanese mayo.

One of Dawson’s personal favorite entrees is trumpet mushroom “scallops,” with edamame puree, fried sweet potatoes, roasted corn, pickled enoki mushrooms, shiso and balsamic glaze. Italian and Japanese standards are also available including Margherita pizza and sushi rolls such as the Creve Coeur roll with tempura asparagus, avocado, jalapeños, yellow tail, spicy mayo and ponzu.

“The whole concept is taking kosher to the next level – redefining kosher cuisine and how it relates to people,” Dawson says. “People have a lot of preconceived notions about what kosher cuisine is, and I just wanted to show that any type of food can be kosher with a bit of forethought, planning and creativity.”

From the bar, choose from around wine and bottled beer selections as well as a small selection of specialty cocktails such as the Sake Sake Rumba with Ozeki sake, triple sec, habanero and celery shrub bitters.

Cafe Coeur is open Monday through Thursday from 11am to 2:30pm as well as 5 to 10pm; Friday from 11am to 2pm; and Sunday from 11am to 2:30pm as well as 4 to 10pm.

Cafe Coeur, 10477 Old Olive Street Road, Creve Coeur, Missouri, 314.439.8800, cafecoeurstl.com