“Nice day for ducks,” we murmured approvingly as we approached the Boathouse in Forest Park. It wasn't pouring, but it was drizzling pretty hard, and we were still in a pre-breakfast mood, which means we were just warming up our clever word-plays while we observed a collection of our feathered friends. Their Sunday morning kaffee klatch and konversation klique, mostly mallards, but a few both more exotic and less so, were hanging around with their duck-smiles, amusing some children and obviously hoping for more largesse than oohs and ahhhs.
The ducks only add to the watery charm of the setting, one of St. Louis' very few (and too few) waterfront restaurants. The view across Post-Dispatch Lake with the Art Museum on the hill beyond, is pleasant indeed, which means that it's definitely a daytime spot, although they do dinners as well, later in the week, and now that daylight savings time is here, dusk could be pleasant. But we were out for brunch.
There are plenty of lunch-ish things on the menu as well as breakfast choices (and the menu is on the website), so we wandered in both directions. And bridging the gap is the fish platter, a generous rosette of smoked salmon with a toasted bagel, cream cheese, tomato and onion, and a serving of a creamy caper-laced smoked trout salad, quite tasty.
“Egg casserole” is perhaps not the most alluring name for what is essentially a baked frittata, but the version we tried certainly charmed. Diced bits of andouille sausage, minced cilantro and some pepper jack cheese all chimed in to lead the flavor band. The diced tomato was as wan as any other March tomato, but that's not surprising; the dish still tasted very good, not fiery but with a fair zip to it. The cheddar biscuit that came alongside was tender and fluffy, but arrived with no butter or jelly, nor was any offered.
The Boathouse salad tops off the usual lettuce-tomato-cuke-red onion combo with garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, olives, asiago cheese and a few croutons. Just for fun, we asked for a little bacon to be tossed in, too. The house vinaigrette didn't drown things, seemed nicely tart with no sign of sugar, thank goodness. The day's vegetable beef soup had some good-sized chunks of beef, but other than that, was pretty unremarkable.
Banana and ale bread pudding? Hmmm.. We didn't find much banana flavor, and the ale seemed to be doing business as butterscotch. It was warm, and the whipped cream on top seemed to be hand-dolloped rather than squirted from a nozzle, but the pudding itself was tough and studded with rather soggy pecans.
Service is comfortable, and it's a very pleasant place to enjoy warmer weather, when there's plenty of outside seating. Reservations would be in order for balmy Sundays
6101 Government Drive, Forest Park
Lunch daily, Dinner Thurs.-Sun., Brunch Sun.
Credit cards: Yes
Wheelchair access: Good