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“They know how to do it up!”
Review of Vin de Set

Vin de Set
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Ranked #119 of 2,900 Restaurants in Saint Louis
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Lafayette Square
Cross street: Mississippi
Description: An upscale, casual bistro with a lively outdoor terrace featuring approachable, Southern French cuisine. Situated on the rooftop of a national historic landmark just minutes from downtown St. Louis, Vin de Set offers an expansive open-air deck for dining and outdoor bar, indoor dining rooms and a breathtaking indoor bar. The seasonal cuisine of southern France and the panoramic views of the arch, Union Station and downtown St. Louis create a distinctive atmosphere & culinary experience.
Saint Louis
Level Contributor
22 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“They know how to do it up!”
Reviewed July 6, 2011

Attended a special 4th of July dinner and music festival at the restaurant. Amazing food offerings (everyone was drooling over the salmon and homemade mac & cheese). The owners were on-hand and made sure everyone was satisfied before heading to the rooftop area to listen to live music, gorge ourselves on an assorted dessert buffet, and watch riverfront fireworks at the perfect moment. Weather was very accommodating which helped in every way. Would recommend this restaurant to all who enjoy great food, great wine, and great ambiance.

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank loveItalianFood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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259 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
190 reviews
108 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 327 helpful votes
“Fun, yet Elegant. Gourmet, yet great food. Restaurant has identity crisis, though.”
Reviewed May 23, 2011

We went in expecting noise, pretentious staff and an overall bad experience. I based the expectations on the reviews herein, but kept an open mind. Yes, there were weddings below the restaurant.. it was noisy from beneath the floors. We opted, thankfully, to NOT sit on the deck (SAT night) because there were loads of people in shorts (?!?) having "just drinks.." that would be awkward for diners. I do see some points herein about the restaurant.. the weddings/receptions below ARE instrusive to the diners. But that being said, once we sat down, indoors, we loved the staff, the food. The desserts are made in-house, from scratch, which is refreshing. The meat and chicken dishes were amazing, as was the lobster bisque. If you want steak of chicken this is the place to go. If you want French cuisine this is is the place to go. There were a few Canadians (Quebec) speaking French amongst themselves at this restaurant, which tells me if you are French you will dine here. Those diners had escargo among other things such as crepes. We loved the food and found it amazing. I did feel a bit like we were intruding on people's weddings.. I am trying to figure out if this place is a reception hall or a restaurant. More power to the owners if they can pull off both successfully. If they even bother reading this review, I would suggest they make the diners feel a bit more welcomed because the staff downstairs (restaurant is on floor 3) inquired what party we were with.. we explained we were there to DINE.. and they said, "oh.. ok.. that's on floor 3.." that's not exactly welcoming for a $120+ meal after tip! It's kind of tacky in fact. Beyond this, though, the food, which is why we go to restaurants, was amazing. The salads, bread, entrees were made very well and were inventive/gourmet all the way. The restaurant itself is romantic and I would recommend this to anyone. I would in fact recommend sitting indoors. There was NOTHING.. and I mean NOTHING romantic or quiet about the deck!! People on the deck were in jeans, shorts(!), T Shirts, and just getting drunk, even yelling at one point (Cardinals hoosiers??? Yes, I'd bet). I am shocked such a sophisticated restaurant would allow this. I am glad we did not dine out on that deck because our dinner would have been absolutely RUINED by the crowd out on the deck, none of whom were eating. Inside, the decor is elegant and all diners were dressed "business casual."

This restaurant suffers from a crisis of identity.. seriously. While I loved the place, what is it??? A reception hall? A pizza place (floor one has a new pizza restaurant which looks decent).. A Happy Hour Deck attraction? Or a fine dining bistro? If the answer is "yes, all of the above.." then I would tell the owners to SEPARATE each effort more meaningfully, via signage, sound insulation--DON'T MAKE YOUR DINERS FEEL LIKE THEY ARE THE MINORITY WHEN YOU'RE CHARGING BIG $$$ FOR ENTREES.. it seems , to me, like perhaps Vin De Set on its own failed.. and they are trying to infuse other things to save it. (what's next?? A gift shop selling Paris trinkets??) Beyond this criticism, I would say this restaurant is among the top in St. Louis--based on its food. The menu incorporates French and American cuisine inventively. If this place loses its chefs, it's done.. I don't think the management here really knows what they are doing, despite the success of Eleven Eleven.

  • Visited March 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank blah114
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St Louis
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“How to ruin fine dining”
Reviewed May 16, 2011

To say I had the worst experience in fine dining wouldn't be an overstatement. From the reservation to the food on my plate I was utterly dissatisfied. After making my reservation for a birthday celebration I called the restaurant to talk with the maitre d' about helping me make the celebration a memorable experience and discuss the seating, only to be snubbed by the woman who answered the phone saying he couldn't talk to me. Three more calls later and still no one would talk to me.

On the way to the restaurant I was informed by OpenTable that my reservation had been canceled. I called the restaurant to see what had happened and they told me they canceled the wrong person and offered no concern for the mixup.
The reception at the hostess station was cold at best. This is a high end restaurant and for what I am paying I expect a level of service that exceeds Chili's but here there was nothing. With nary a greeting they sat us at a table that wobbled so badly I had to have them put a shim under the leg to steady it, which I had to ask for.

Then the music began, the loud, almost deafening base-laden thumping from a party on the floor below us. Asking the waitress what that was she gave a shrug of an answer to the fact that a wedding was having a reception party downstairs. It went on throughout the meal.

On to the food…This was the worst food I have ever paid money for, hands down. My appetizer was the steak tartare which was bland with zero seasoning. The meat was not prepared well and had large amounts of fatty inedible tissue still left in it. My girlfriend's appetizer was the Red and Green leaf salad. It had little to no dressing, bacon, cheese or anything listed on the menu. It was basically dry lettuce.

My main course was the Seared Grouper. Before it even made it to my table I could smell it coming and not in a good way. I smelled a foul odor of fish as it came toward my table. The fish was gray in color and looked like a crime scene on my plate. Living in Florida for years, mere feet from the Gulf, I know what good grouper looks, tastes and smells like. It should never look or smell like this. I tried to eat it and with one bite I almost gaged. It was not only bad tasting but rubbery. With that bite I sent it back to the kitchen.

My girlfriend chose the Steak Tenderloin Medallions with asparagus and yukon gold mashed potatoes. The meat had no seasoning and was cool to the touch throughout. The potatoes were cold too and had a coagulated texture with a skin on the exterior. The asparagus was actually green beans, which they didn't inform us of the change. Even they were not prepared well being totally cold and just about raw. Her sauce was described by her as "indescribable". I tasted it and it truly was horrible.

Dessert was Beignets. They were also cold, chewy and mostly flavorless except for the taste of the grease they were fried in. This was the cap to my night ruined by Vin De Set

A woman who I can only assume was the restaurant manager, because she never introduced herself, came to the table and offered to remake my horror-show of a plate of fish and I explained to her that my appetite for the dish was ruined. With that she left with barely an apology, no real concern for my ruined meal and my ruined birthday celebration. All she offered was a gentile touch on my shoulder, invading my personal space, as she slumped away with no effort to rectify the train wreck that was my first and last Vin De Set experience.

At the end of the night I was only comped the Grouper dish and had to pay in full for the rest of the worst meal I have ever eaten. $100 later and I was still hungry. The $20 Dominoes Pizza I had to order to satisfy my hunger was better than the meal I got all dressed up for, planned for weeks and hoped to make a birthday experience special. This was a deplorable dining experience and I will never recommend Vin De Set to anyone.

  • Visited May 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank KZimarik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Wow! - And, not in a good way...”
Reviewed May 16, 2011

I had looked forward to dining at Vin de Set for months. After hearing numerous reviews about how amazing the food and atmosphere was, I was incredibly excited when I was taken to Vin de Set for my birthday celebration.

I couldn't have been more disappointed.

How did it begin? Well, en route to the restaurant my dinner companion received an email saying that our reservation had been canceled. We immediately called and were told, "Oh, that was a mistake." which should have been the first clue this wasn't going to be a good night.

Upon arriving we were seated inside due to the inclement weather - it was raining and cold and our rooftop reservation had been moved indoors. (No problem, they can't control Mother Nature.) Our waitress was friendly and knowledgeable and helped us right an incredibly wobbly table (2nd clue...). She helped us select a nice bottle of wine and our evening began.

We ordered the Deconstructed Steak Tenderloin Tartare and Red & Green Leaf salad to start. The tartare was fatty and was not at all seasoned or prepared properly (it had some sort of inedible connective tissue in it), and the salad was a disappointment as it was practically devoid of any dressing whatsoever. (Don't get me wrong, I don't like my salad drenched in dressing at all - but this was like eating plain lettuce with the tiniest amount of the lovely cotswold cheese on top.)

And then the music began.

Yes, what sounded like a dance club - complete with shaking floors began. I asked the waitress what on earth was going on downstairs and she sheepishly explained it was a wedding in one of the private rooms below. The noise was unbelievable. Any ambiance or romantic atmosphere went right out the door as we tried to talk loudly over the music (as the rest of the restaurant patrons did as well) and felt the vibrations of the music through the floor. Really?

For dinner we ordered Seared Grouper and the Steak au Poivre. After the disappointing starter I was greatly looking forward to this.

My date's grouper came out looking gray, rubbery and had the most putrid smell. It actually smelled rancid. We looked at the heaping mound of gray fish, wide eyed, and he asked me if I "smelled that". All I could do was nod. He took one bite. It was disgusting, and I dare say, beyond its expiration.

My steak dish faired marginally better - lacking any kind of flavor, the steak tasted cold and charbroiled and reminded be of the flavor of a Burger King burger. (Not at all what I was expecting for the $22.99 price point.) The potatoes were coagulated, hard on the outside and cold. They looked (and tasted) as if they had been sitting under a warming lamp for hours. The green beans were not even blanched, I would actually say they were raw.

We flagged down our waitress and told her we could not eat the grouper dish, and instead chose to "share" my dish. It was difficult at best to eat.

Trying to make the best of my birthday and a date my wonderful boyfriend had planned for many weeks, we ordered the beignets for dessert. You guessed it, they were tasteless and grease laden.

Our waitress tried to make the best out of a bad situation - placing a birthday candle on one of the beignets in an attempt to salvage my birthday dinner which I did appreciate.

We left hungry. We left $100 poorer than when we walked in the door. We left frustrated. We left disappointed.

To add insult to injury the manager (I guess, as she never introduced herself) came over and gave us a half-hearted apology for our miserable dinner. I even went so far as to nicely ask if this was simply an "off" night - after all I had heard so many good things. Was chef not in the kitchen? Was there a large party they were catering to? What on earth was going on? I got no answer, just an apologetic shrug.

There was no attempt to make the situation - my birthday dinner - better. We were not comped any food other than the grouper that was sent back immediately. There was not an offer of a free dessert, a free drink, a voucher to come back and give it another try. We were given a bill minus the grouper meal and basically told to "take it".

I was not happy.

I by no means consider myself a foodie, however I have lived around the world and I have eaten some of the finest French cuisine. It is my favorite type of food. In my life, I have never - ever - had a meal as deplorable as the meal I had for my birthday at Vin de Set. I felt so sorry for my boyfriend who had gone out of his way to plan a lovely evening, a lovely dinner and presented me with a lovely gift. I could tell he was especially defeated, feeling all his hard work was for nothing.

I can only hope this review will prompt owners Paul and Wendy Hamilton and Chef Magruder to contact me, as I would like to know my birthday experience didn't fall on deaf ears.

Visited May 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank NinjaTrish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Excelsior Springs, Missouri
1 review
“Practically Perfect In Every Way”
Reviewed October 27, 2010

Enjoyed lunch on the patio. The view is nice, the service was excellent, and the food was perfect (we ordered crepes, of course). The experience landed Vin de Set at the top of my favorites for St. Louis restaurants. The cocktail and wine list was unique as well and offered some great options that you don't see many other places. It is within a short stroll to Lafayette Square where there is a lovely park to walk off lunch or relax under giant shade trees.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank AprilbyChance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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