We can be hip in the suburbs too, and the opening of Mosaic in Des Peres proves it.
Although located in a strip mall, after walking through the doors of this second location of the popular Washington Avenue establishment, patrons are transported to a warm, stylish and inviting tapas restaurant.
The décor is modern with clean lines, dark fabrics and light woods. Large comfortable couches accompany the bar area so a friendly night of cocktails and small plates could easily be had without ever going into the main dining room. Brightly lit, the main dining room has an open-works ceiling design which tends to make a restaurant noisy, as was the case on a Friday night. But the large booths available helped make the dining experience more intimate.
I started the night with a signature cocktail, the Pink Knickers. Basically a martini with Absolut Mandarin, Grand Marnier and a splash of cranberry, this orangey drink was a nice alternative to my usual lemon drop and kick started the evening festivities.
Mosaic serves tapas, sometimes called small plates. This style of dining lends itself to sharing many dishes of varying flavors.
My group of five started our meal with North-African Style Hummus and Flash-fried Baby Artichoke Hearts, both described as very shareable by our server. Not only very shareable but very delicious, each of these were perfect starters. The hummus was flavorful and topped with chopped olives, feta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Served with warm, crunchy, grilled pita points, this may be one of my favorite local hummus. The artichoke hearts were crispy, and the dipping sauces—chipotle mayonnaise and sweet chili sauce—were spicy but with a gentle burn.
We decided to share our entrees as well, so we carefully ordered a variety. Mosaic serves their dishes market-style which means they bring them out as they are finished, not in any particular order. Each dish was beautifully presented and as one fellow diner pointed out, each serving dish was unique too.
The portions may seem skimpy, but they truly are enough for five ladies to share two to three bites of each dish without any of us leaving hungry. The Pork Tenderloin was served a little rare for my liking but was moist and accompanied by a soft cooked quail egg, which I love.
The Herb Potato Gnocchi were a creamy bite of delight. Served with goat cheese and spinach, these little ovals of potato flour pasta were outstanding.
The Creole Lobster and Crawfish Risotto was my favorite dish. One reason was the beautiful presentation. It came out with a large, round parmesan crisp sticking out of the dish and the flavor was excellent as well.
The Beef Tenderloin was tender and cooked just as ordered (hate when meat comes out other than ordered). It had a blue cheese butter melting over it. Paired with our final dish, the grilled asparagus, this was practically a whole meal in itself.
For dessert we chose French Toast Bread Pudding and Salted Caramel Panna Cotta. Both were tasty but neither knocked my socks off; next time I’m more likely to order an extra appetizer or entrée and skip dessert.
I do find going out for tapas can be expensive, but in the case of Mosaic, while not cheap eats, dishes were not as pricey as some other small plate restaurants. We all left satisfied in our tummies, our glasses and our wallets.
I recommend a reservation, but call, do not use the online reservation system because it didn’t work two different times I tried it.
Hip, stylish and delicious, Mosaic will surely please.