Only In Polite Society

For tastes that run from a juice-to-the elbows burger to something more on the lines of a fancy-schmancy, a dinner in Polite Society fits the bill.

By Barbara E. Stefàno
Photography by Kim Dillon


There are no pinkies up in Polite Society … unless that’s your thing. The restaurant’s Park Avenue location conjures swanky digs but one is as welcome to hunker down over a gooey grilled cheese as a delicate fish.

Not that a sandwich at Polite Society isn’t a notch or so above the norm, of course. Executive Chef Thomas Futrell grew up and started his culinary career in upstate New York, followed by stints cooking for customers in Florida and Michigan. Most recently, he served as sous chef at Scape in the Central West End before bringing his experience to the new Lafayette Square eatery. He’s hesitant to boil down Polite Society’s offerings to an elevator pitch; the seasonally changing menu is so much more than a “type.”

“We’ve always used the term American eclectic. I know that seems like a copout, but we really don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves into one cuisine,” he explains. “St. Louis — similar to New York City — has a very diverse group of diners. We have adventurous diners and not-so-adventurous diners. We want to create whatever we desire but have items on the menu that satisfy a large array of people.”

Those with a penchant for mac and cheese will be quite pleased to tuck into a dish of creamy gruyere spätzle, while the seafood lover can appreciate Futrell’s rich take on shrimp and grits, or bright mahi ceviche with plantain chips. Everyone, it seems, is wild about pork osso bucco, which is served with goat cheese polenta.

Perhaps nothing illustrates the balance yin and yang of Polite society quite like two of Futrell’s favorites: the ground chuck Jimmy Burger (complete with onion straws and a smoky glaze on a fresh pretzel bun) and Crispy Okabe, which features a soy-molasses-glazed tofu, stir-fried cauliflower “rice” and a cilantro-ginger pesto.

“Those two dishes define what we’re about because you can come in and enjoy dishes that are not too expensive, or you can come in and enjoy something really decadent.”   

Learn the ins and outs on three of Chef Thomas Futrell’s dishes at the Cooking School on Wednesday, June 13, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery.
The cost is $35 per person.
When:  June 13, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $35 per person
Where: Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery 
17895 Chesterfield Airport Rd. Chesterfield, MO 63005
RSVP by calling 636-230-9640, ext. 27 or email [email protected]
Reserve your seat online:
*Seating is limited.

Cooking School Menu
Diver Scallops: Perfectly seared scallops nestle on a pool of celery root puree in this savory dish. Students will learn how to blanch English peas to coax out the most vibrant flavor and color and make a citrus puree that brightens the whole meal.

English Pea Tartine: English peas and citrus make a repeat appearance here in new ways. This open-faced sandwich features the diverse textures of fried speck, blanched green onions, citrus mascarpone, peas and shaved radishes on toasted rye.

PEI Mussels: There’s no need to be intimidated by mollusks after this demo! Participants will learn proper mussel cleaning and steaming with white wine. Wine-citrus butter gives the shellfish their zing.