Linguine Tuto Mare
Though I wasn't planning on and didn't check my email while in St. Louis, that didn't stop the Mrs. and she saw R. Sherman's comment to a post recommending Cunetto's House of Pasta. By our third day of my quest for the Holy Grail of Barbecue, I was about barbecued out and thus readily took her and R. Sherman's suggestions to try it out. So we set our Garmin GPS for the address and drove there in the rain.
Parking is a little tight in the tiny parking lot off to one side or the little wedge of a parking lot formed by the intersection of three roads, but we lucked out and got a spot right near the door as someone was leaving. When you are married to a spouse who melts in the rain, it is definitely a plus to get a close parking spot when it rains.
When you enter the door to Cunetto's, you are in a bar and a sign points you to a side door in the back as to where to enter the restaurant. I might had been confused as to the proper way to enter the restaurant had there not been a small line in front of me but for a weekday noon meal, that certainly was a good sign to the quality of the food. Despite being a small line, we were soon seated in the back of one of apparently several rooms full of seating, almost all of which were full. The two waiters in our area were fast, efficient and soon we had ordered the specialty pasta of the place according to our server, of Linguine Tuto Mare which is linguine served with a seafood sauce, clams, crab and shrimp. Though the place was packed with probably at least two hundred people, we had our food in probably fifteen minutes within being seated and it was excellent. I am not an Italian food expert and have a hard time telling the subtleties between types of pasta and sauces so I can't tell you that this is the Holy Grail of Pasta. But what I can tell you is that the food was outstanding and I would go there again if given the chance. Even rarer these days, the service was outstanding. If the same crowd had been in my local hometown diner where I like to eat, I would still be waiting for service and the ratio of waiters to patrons there is probably four times greater. Obviously, Cunetto's cares about service and it showed.
Despite being full and having a walking tour next on the agenda, we couldn't resist ordering some traditional Italian desserts. My wife ordered the tiramisu and I a cannoli. Hands down, the cannoli was the best I had ever eaten and I regretted that I only had one to eat. Had I had a plate full, they would have been gone and the Mrs. and Little Abbey would have been doing the walking tour on their own. I don't like coffee and never have so don't care for tiramisu but the Mrs does and said it was good. She couldn't finish it all but Little Abbey did. Now Little Abbey had been kind of grouchy all day and hadn't eaten any of her pasta but really liked the coffee laced tiramisu. So rather than her be hungry and grouchy during our next tour, we decided to break our rule of dinner before sweets and let her finish the tiramisu. In hindsight, that was one of the smartest things we had ever done. A small toddler hopped up on coffee is one that is raring to go on a long walking tour through a large brewery and she was the star of our tour group. People even commented on how well behaved she was for a three year old and other than the seven stories of escalators and a couple times when she was jamming up people in the stairways with her slow progress, I didn't have to carry her. My back felt great compared to after the mile and a quarter I did with her on top of my shoulders the day before.
So in conclusion, if the search for the Holy Grail of BBQ isn't your thing, perhaps the Holy Grail of Pasta is and it just may be found at Cunetto's House of Pasta. Or if like me, you are disillusioned with how bad service in this country has gotten, stop in for a dose of some A-plus service and know that all is not yet lost.