Our food columnist, a certified executive chef, is a transplant from the mid-Atlantic coast, and he says this suburban seafood restaurant is one of the best in the state, and he shares what he ordered.


Photo courtesy of Daniel Pliska


By Daniel Pliska, a certified executive chef and author, who teaches culinary arts at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield.

The first-rate 801 Fish is a seafood restaurant in Clayton, a suburb of St. Louis.

The restaurant first came on my radar when I heard that Jenny Grob, one of my former pastry chefs from Mizzou’s University Club, was at the helm of their dessert program. Executive Chef Michael Sullivan and Sous Chef Jeff Marsh run the culinary brigade of this seafood mecca. Michael grew up in the kitchen of his family’s resort in New Hampshire.  With that experience ingrained in him, he went on to receive his culinary training in some of Boston’s finest kitchens.

For the past nine years he has been running the kitchen at 801 Fish. He is proud of the consistency of the seafood dishes that the kitchen creates daily and explained with gusto how he and Jeff personally prepare all the soups, sauces, house made-dressings, and signature cold sauces. He described in loving detail the New England clam chowder made from chopped northeastern chowder clams simmered in a creamy broth with red skin potatoes and applewood-smoked bacon.  The flavorful chowder is garnished with steamed little neck clams in the shells.

Among guest favorites are the miso-glazed Chilean seabass served with black garlic puree and house-made kimchi, and lobster tail risotto prepared in the classical fashion with short grain rice, parmesan cheese, and butter. That dish features two split Maine lobster tails that are made extra special with the addition of lobster bisque and a garnish of chopped lobster knuckle meat.


Photo courtesy of 801 Fish


Michael spoke highly of the dessert menu that Jenny and her crew prepare at the restaurant. One of his personal favorites is her Bananas Foster Baked Alaska, a melding of two classic desserts. Jenny described some of her current favorites: a white-chocolate cheesecake with a hazelnut cinnamon crust and strawberry rhubarb crisp with crystalized ginger served with lemon sour cream ice cream.

The wine program at the 200-seat restaurant has received the Wine Spectator award of excellence since 2016. General Manager Andrew Patania feels their list is particularly strong in French white wines and Champagnes, which classically pair so well with the delicate flavors of seafood.

Andrew told me that many of their patrons indulge in the extravagant iced shellfish platters, which can be ordered in three different sizes. Known in France as a specialty of Brittany, le plateau de fruits de mer is a style of serving chilled seafood in multi-layered towers on crushed ice and is always a dramatic presentation.

The restaurant has a special agreement with a Virginia oyster farm that exclusively raises their signature oysters, a Rappahannock variety, that can be had for a special price of $2 an oyster every Thursday night.

801 Fish has two private dining rooms: one for groups up to 20, and a smaller one for groups up to 12. The restaurant also features a raw bar and chef’s bar for a more unique seating option.


Photo courtesy of 801 Fish


With decorations of shimmering ocean- blue glass and alabaster marble, the ambience in the dining rooms matches perfectly with the sublimely fresh coastal cuisine of Chef Michael and his talented kitchen staff.

To view current offerings and learn more, surf over to 801Fish.com/st-louis.