Soulard has a new French bistro. 808 Maison debuted on Jan. 2 with a soft opening, featuring a menu by former Franco chef Jon Dreja. The concept comes from Luke Reynolds and John Rogers, who also own the adjoined popular haunt, Molly’s.
“We honestly had more space with the Molly’s complex than we could really handle, and I really felt there was a need for something a little more upscale and more refined in Soulard,” Reynolds says. “We’re a small, intimate American-style bistro with traditional French cuisine. It’s a casual vibe but a bit sophisticated.”
Reynolds redesigned the approximately 800-square-foot, 48-seat space himself. Woodwork includes a new back bar, a bar top made from mahogany – salvaged from The Edge in Lafayette Square – and a communal table made from a walnut tree. The dining room’s exposed brick archways, tin ceilings and original floors coincide with new chic elements such as velvety seats, floral wallpaper and mid-century modern light fixtures.
Dreja, who also serves as the executive chef of Molly’s, offers a full menu of French fare for dinner service. Small plates include pommes frites; escargot served in the shell with Spanish chorizo, caramelized fennel, madeira and saffron-garlic butter; and smoked sweetbreads parmentier with wild mushroom-foie gras duxelle, duchess potato and veal jus gras.
“Fruits de Mer” options include oysters on the half shell, scallop tartare, trout caviar and perhaps most uniquely, smoked petite octopus. A small selection of soups and salads includes a French onion gratinee; celery root soup with black truffle, quail egg and celery leaf; and a beet butternut chevre terrine with field greens, shaved fennel, pumpkin seed and Pernod vinaigrette.
From the set of entrees, choose from options such as poussin, or chicken stuffed with veal sweetbreads and black truffles, with wild mushroom barigoule and perigueux sauce; Burgundy-braised lamb shank with Parisian gnocchi, mirepoix and arugula; and cassoulet with duck leg confit, toulouse sausage, braised heritage hog, haricot blanc and bread crumbs. Desserts include crème brûlée and apple tarte tatin with caramel and vanilla ice cream.
“I’m excited to bring Soulard a particularly comfortable, upscale and friendly place to come and get really good food done right with service that’s for a lack of better words, proper,” Reynolds says.
The beverage list includes wine by the glass and bottle as well as a selection of whiskeys, bourbons, cognacs and calvados. Absinthe service is also available. Becky Ward, previously of Cleveland-Heath, serves as bar manager. A menu of specialty drinks will be available soon, including Champagne cocktails and mixed drinks such as the Calvalier with Calvados, muddled house-brandied cherry, blueberry, simple syrup and black walnut bitters.
808 Maison is currently open for dinner service from Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 9:30pm. The bar is open until 1:30am. Brunch is available on Sunday from 10am to 3pm.
808 Maison, 808 Geyer Ave., Soulard, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.594.4505, 808maison.com