If I had to pick one neighborhood that I neglect in St. Louis, it would be Midtown. I get distracted by everything in the surrounding neighborhoods so the only time I go is when I’m driving through on my way to somewhere else. Now, I have a reason to stop there all the time because I discovered Turn.
Turn is a breakfast and lunch spot started by David Kirkland, the former chef at Café Osage. It’s in the .ZACK building, a collaborative space for performing artists. The menu and interiors at Turn take a cue from music. When you walk in, there’s an entire wall toward the back covered in old records. I stopped and took pictures for a few minutes because I’d never seen anything like it.
When I go out to eat during the week, I like to show up early to beat the crowd. It gives me a chance to do things like stand in the middle of a restaurant and take pictures of a wall. I was one of the only diners at Turn when I showed up at 11 yesterday.
The servers were warm and welcoming. They let me sit wherever I wanted and gave me a lot of time to deliberate over the menu. Finally, I decided on the “L.E.O.” with poached eggs, smoked salmon, caramelized onions, local goat cheese, and dill hollandaise sauce served on rye. I was craving something breakfast-y but not sweet.
While I was waiting for my food, a man with glasses came over to my table and started talking to me. It turned out to be Kirkland, even though I didn’t realize it until later. He introduced himself as “David,” so I put the pieces together myself. He was charming and welcoming and seemed genuinely interested in what I thought about the food.
The L.E.O. was, in a word, amazing. I love anything with smoked salmon, caramelized onions, and goat cheese, so I was sure that I’d be a fan. But the hollandaise sauce took things to the next level. It tasted just as vibrant as it looked, with a bright citrus flavor and the perfect amount of tang. I wanted to eat it with a spoon.
I wasn’t going to get dessert but then Kirkland, who was sitting at the next table working on an upcoming event, mentioned their grilled angel food cake with peach habanero sauce and whipped cream. Sold, I thought.
The angel food cake is the perfect backdrop for the rest of the dish. It’s sweet and slightly smoky from the grill and pairs well with the spicy peach habanero compote. The whipped cream adds some sweetness and cools down the rest of the dish.
“It’s not too spicy, is it?” Kirkland asked me. “No, not at all,” I said. I love spicy food so my tolerance is high. “He thinks it is,” he joked and pointed to the general manager, who was sitting beside him at the table.
Before I left, Kirkland came over to my table again and thanked me for coming in. I told him that I’d be back soon, which is true. The food was fresh and flavorful, the service was warm and friendly, and there’s always a steady stream of good music over the loudspeakers as you eat. Going to Turn is more than just breakfast or lunch. It’s an experience, one that I definitely plan on repeating.
Here’s a song that reminds me of Turn. It’s also been stuck in my head for twenty four hours so maybe putting it here will help me get it out…even though I kind of want it to stay.