first impression | The second location of Copia, a popular wine bar/steakhouse on Washington Avenue, opened in May in the former Morton’s spot in Clayton. It has great ambience in a clubby, dark-wood kind of way, and the menu (on the pricey side) has plenty of variety, with steak, pasta and fish dishes, many with a Creole bent. The service was friendly, but still somewhat disorganized well into late summer.
wash it down
Copia shines when it comes to spirits. The wine list is enormous, and some of the beer offerings are hard to turn down. Like the Elysian Superfuzz, a blood orange-infused pale ale from Seattle. It was malty and sweet with a definite orange aftertaste. There also are hundreds of wine varieties, plenty offered by the glass.
Copia has a high-end ambience, yet the menu is varied enough to appeal to a wider audience than its predecessor, Morton’s. In identity, it’s part chop house, part Creole, part wine bar.
» watermelon gazpacho soup: $5; Deliciously sweet and cool, it had a pleasant blended-veggie chunkiness with well-balanced savory and sweet flavors.
» caesar salad: $8; It delivered the salty creaminess diners look for in this traditional bed of dressed romaine. The pieces of lettuce were well-dusted with parmesan, and while the rich Mayfair dressing was good, there needed to be more of it.
» alaskan halibut: $33; Fresh and pan-seared in butter, it came with a sweet strawberry coulis and fruit salsa, which worked well with the buttery fish. Accompanying grains of quinoa and an arugula-orzo medley added a touch of bitterness to offset the butter.
» creole whitefish etouffee: $25; Spicy and creamy at the same time, the dish had blackened cod sitting on a bed of dirty rice smothered (the literal translation of étouffée) by herby, brown, Cajun gravy. The sauce was heavily flavored with bell peppers, tomatoes and spices.
» roasted organic chicken: $23; Also trending Southern, this was the essence of comfort food, with half a chicken hidden under a pool of andouille and roasted corn gravy. The flavors were great; I only wish the chicken skin had been browned first. The dish came with a creamy mash of Yukon Gold potatoes, perfect for the gravy.
» gooey butter cake: $9; It’s atypical here, but very good. More of a custard sitting on top of a buttery graham cracker crust, it was decadently sweet—just what you want in a dessert.
» cinnamon apple bread pudding: $7.95; If you like things less sweet, order this. It’s chewy with plenty of punch from nutmeg
7822 Bonhomme Ave. | 314.241.9463
the dish | Slow-Roasted Prime Rib with broccoli and Yukon creamy buttered mash