I’ve been less than impressed with the quality of restaurants in the Power & Light District, so when I tried Drunken Fish I kept my expectations in check. It’s not exactly a chain: there are three restaurants in St. Louis by the same name, and this is their first foray outside of the city. It occupies the space previously occupied by Bice–in fact, they haven’t even replaced all of the awnings yet. If recollection serves me correctly, even the furniture is the same, but don’t quote me on that.
The menu is quite large, not the typical sushi restaurant in that it has substantial entrees in addition to the raw fish component. And I’m not talking just teriyaki–pork chop, tuna, Chilean sea bass and even lobster tail are options for the non-raw eater.
There are of course the ubiquitous makimono rolls, some typical, some intriguing. But what sets this restaurant apart from all the others are the appetizers listed on the menu under “new style sashimi”. Sizzling Snapper comes to the table on a lovely long oval plate, already dressed with sesame seeds, ginger, garlic and yuzu-soy. The server then pours hot olive oil all over the thin slices of fish. The oil cooks the fish a tad, and combines with the other ingredients to form a dressing of sorts. The Yellowtail Mexicano features sashimi with a jalapeno pico de gallo and ponzu sauce, a bit of heat to marry with the umami taste.
In another twist, instead of standard tuna poke or tartare, tuna sashimi was mounded atop a cucumber slice, and topped with wasabi mayo, scallions, tobiko and eel sauce. Not a dainty bite to be sure, but worth figuring out how to get it in your mouth.
The sushi rolls were standard, though they all had creative names. The portions were skimpy relative to the price tag.
Once this restaurant is on everyone’s radar, it will probably draw the typical P&L clientele. They’ll undoubtedly appreciate the vast and inventive cocktail list. I’ll stick to Japanese beer, but I think this is a welcome addition food-wise to the uninspired selection of restaurants in the entertainment district.