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Pomme in Clayton: French Cuisine, in Two Ways

Bryan and Diane Carr operate Pomme Restaurant, along with Pomme Cafe and Wine Bar, on Central Avenue in downtown.

In the heart and in St. Louis city's Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood, Bryan and Diane Carr operate a triad of restaurants: Pomme Restaurant and Pomme Cafe and Wine Bar are located on Central Avenue in Clayton, and a short jaunt away Atlas Restaurant serves up French-Italian cuisine on Pershing Avenue.

Pomme, in French, means apple. Pomme Restaurant opened during the apple harvest. The Carrs like the ring of the word "pomme" and the colors of apples, the restaurant's website explains. The apple-green that frames the exterior windows of Pomme Restaurant subtly allude to the name as does the interior apple decor.

Diane Carr, who has a background in hospitality and education, takes on the task of designing the dining room and handling front-of-the-house administrative duties while her husband, Bryan, handles the culinary side of the establishment.

Bryan Carr, a native Missourian, left for California in 1982 to work in restaurants and begin his culinary career. Much of his knowledge and expertise comes from working at Auberge du Soleil under Michel Cornu and at Fleur de Lys under Hubert Keller. Both are Michelin-rated restaurants. Carr considers these establishments his formal training.

"Culinary schools are a shortcut," Carr said.

Cornu was born and raised in Paris and has an extensive resume that has taken him across the globe. Some of the events he has directed included celebrity chefs such as Lidia Bastianich, Michel Richard, Wolfgang Puck and Paul Bocuse

Keller began his culinary career living above his father's bakery in Alsace, France. He received training from the French chefs Paul Haeberlin, Gaston Lenôtre, Roger Vergé and Bocuse. Keller received the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef award and was named one of Food and Wine magazine's Ten Best Chefs in America. He also owns Burger Bar at Lumière Place Casino in St. Louis.

Carr took their culinary guidance and opened both Pomme locations, which offer distinct dining experiences.

Pomme Restaurant, the more formal of the two, focuses on dinner service. It offers white tablecloths and an upscale fine-dining experience.

"It is quite romantic, as well," Diane Carr said. The short French-inspired menu includes delicacies requiring daily attention to detail. Her favorite dish is the rainbow trout filets with almonds, mustard and capers.

"We make sure everything we do, we can do well," Bryan Carr said.

Pomme Cafe and Wine Bar is more laid back. It is open seven days a week and serves breakfast, late-night snacks and everything in between. The cafe menu is steeped in French cuisine. It includes quiche, croissants, duck confit salad, salad nicoise, trout almandine and filet mignon. The cafe also offers an extensive wine list, which is consistently updated.

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