There is a first time for everything. This blog will be totally devoted to one and only one restaurant, Bulrush. http://bulrushstl.com/ Mark and I were able to secure a reservation there recently as is our duty to research restaurants for our guests within 2 miles of The Mansion. I know my words will not do it justice, but all I can say is run, do not walk to this restaurant. It exceeded my expectations in every way (and I was very skeptical going in)
Before we go any further, please ask yourself the question: do I prefer to spend my money on experiences or material possessions? If you are the latter, you can skip the rest of the review. If you are the former, as Mark and I are, please continue reading.
The Bulrush website boasts a menu that is rooted in Ozark cuisine. Huh? What does that even mean? Don’t worry – you will learn. Now, let’s talk about the experience!! You are seated bar style around the prep kitchen with up to 14 other guests sharing your reservation time. You are given a complimentary welcome drink (ours was Missouri rice milk, fennel syrup, and local honey) and entertained by watching the chefs prepare your 7 course tasting menu. You can order drinks ala carte or get the flight of drinks that are carefully selected to go with your courses (this is what I would highly recommend), choosing either alcoholic or non alcoholic options.
Chef Rob Connoley, a James Beard semi-finalist chef and brainchild behind Bulrush greets you and multi-tasks getting your dining experience ready. Once everyone is ready, he explains what you will be experiencing over the next 2 hours. Ozark cuisine builds upon the past – where indigenous Osage people encountered settlers and immigrants. Each of your courses have been exhaustively researched to include ingredients, recipes, techniques, and traditions that give you a glimpse into the past. Chef Rob will explain each course in great detail and you have a QR code which you can scan to watch a video of further explanation as well. The menu changes frequently depending on what is available seasonally and what can be foraged locally. These were our courses: 1. Red Bud Explosion – literally a delicious red bud exploding in your mouth. 2. Braised and confit heirloom radish, sweet potato miso, acorn jelly 3. Brown butter poached walleye, sweet potato puree, candied pecans 4. Roasted celeriac, Guinea hog rillettes, acorn, wheat berry , and parsnip miso 5. Beef crueller, mushroom pate, foraged nettle, pickled redbud blossom (my favorite) 6. Pork roulade, cheese grits, chard and 7. Salt bread baked pear, sorghum cake, maple ganache, garden week granola, maple gel.
Although the food was exceptional and beyond compare, these are some other things that truly impressed me about Bulrush. They are a zero waste restaurant – averaging less than 5 gallons of food waste each week; they support everything and everyone local with farmers using seeds from 1841 to grow food for the restaurant; the details…every drink was paired perfectly with the meal and researched to also keep true to the time period represented; the intimate atmosphere allowed you to get to know the staff and vice versa. Here is my shoutout to Kyle for getting us all organized and serving us great drinks; to Evan for substituting my beer pairing with a cider he just knew I would like (their beer is made with beets and brewed locally at Earthbound brewery), and to Adam and T-yesha for helping Chef Rob give us a tremendous dining experience.
For our guests that would like to include Bulrush as part of your Fleur-De-Lys Mansion experience, please plan ahead and make your reservations. You will not be disappointed.