Indo • Contemporary, Japanese, Seafood, Sushi, Thai
Over the past 5 years, Nick Bognar has established himself as one of St. Louis preeminent chefs, and a table full of his Japanese and Southeast Asian inspired dishes creates its own special occasion.
Description: Indo could barely reflect on its sensational 2019 before the pandemic struck. My pick for the best new restaurant of that year, it debuted at No. 3 on the 2020 edition of this list and was named one of the best new restaurants in the country by GQ and Esquire magazines, while Food & Wine tapped owner Bognar as one of its coveted “Best New Chefs” of 2020. Two years later, Bognar’s unique style — drawing on sushi tradition, his Thai heritage and Southeast Asian cuisine more broadly (the lamb larb, based on his grandmother’s recipe) and a playful, flavor-first streak (such signature dishes as the shrimp toast and Isaan hamachi in coconut naam pla) — keeps Indo among the best and most exciting restaurants I’ve experienced over the past two decades in St. Louis. From the beginning, Indo has sought the vibe of a joyous dinner party rather than rarified fine-dining, but my recent visit found an even looser, more welcoming vibe. The sushi counter, once the center for lengthy omakase dinners, is now first-come, first-served seating, as are some tables on the expanded patio. (Reservations for dine-in service are essential.) Indo thrills, from newer dishes like crisp fried tofu in fermented black bean sauce to precisely seasoned misu, shima aji and other nigiri, each revealing its own rich, sweet depth of the ocean.
📍 Where 1641D Tower Grove Avenue • More info 314-899-9333; www.indo-stl.com • Hours Dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday) • Pricing $$$-$$$$