Ed note: One final St. Louis installment from Steph. The next time you go to St. Louis don't tell me you didn't know where to eat!
Chava's Mexican Restaurant
925 Geyer Ave
St. Louis, MO 63104
On our last two trips to St. Louis, we have eaten at Chava's in the Soulard neighborhood, just a couple of miles south of our hotel in the heart of downtown. Last year, we went on a glorious weekend day in early spring. There was a wait for a table, and there were lots of people eating outside on the patio. There was a really great atmosphere, and we couldn't wait to return on this trip. This time we went on a Sunday night. It wasn't as crowded, but everything was as good as we remembered.
The menu has what you would expect from a Mexican restaurant- build-a-burrito, enchiladas, tostadas, tacos, tortas, etc. However, the food is anything but run-of-the-mill Tex Mex. The flavors are wonderful and the portions are huge, and at no time did we think that they were just taking the same three ingredients and putting them in different combinations on different plates. (**cough**ElPorton**cough**)
The chips were hot and the salsa fresh and spicy. We all dug in happily as we checked out the menu. Connor, who refuses to even eat cheese quesadillas these days, noticed no kids menu and vowed to just eat cheese dip. Fine with me- I had an apple back at the hotel to give him after the meal. The cheese dip was fairly standard, but good.
Surprisingly, Chloe just wanted their plain cheese nachos from the appetizer menu. There is really no way to mess up that particular item, so I'm happy to report that her meal was great too. I ordered the tortilla soup combo, with a bowl of chicken tortilla soup for me and a beef taco for Chloe. The soup was excellent, although it was really more like a hearty enchilada soup than a brothy tortilla soup. Chloe's taco was good- the beef was very well-seasoned.
Chip ordered a grilled chicken salad, which was about the biggest salad I've ever seen. It was topped with tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cheese, and jalapeno bacon. Anything with creative bacon is good to me! He and I both had a margarita (well, I wasn't driving, so I might have had two), which was excellent- definitely some fresh lime juice in there rather than an overly-sweet margarita mix. I noticed that their frozen/flavored margaritas were hand-blended with real fruit, but I wasn't in the mode for something that heavy. I think next time I'll have to try one (or two), especially considering there are choices like cherry, mango, and raspberry.
I can't remember how much we spent, but I do remember it was in line with all the other meals-with-a-drink we had while we were in St. Louis- somewhere around $50. I imagine Chava's will remain a constant on our family trips to St. Louis- interesting neighborhood, great atmosphere, good food, and family-friendly. I recommend it highly, especially if you are staying downtown and looking for something nearby.