CREVE COEUR, Mo. — Cheeseburger pizzas, taco salads and sushi burritos.

St. Louisans love mixing and matching their foods, but there’s a new food fusion that makes your breakfast fried rice look like child’s play…

Japanese Italian kosher.

It's all blending beautifully at Café Coeur in west St. Louis County.

“Half the fun is just playing and creating new things and finding ways to do it. Just a little bit different. And that's really the essence of what I want to do. Something that's unique and fun,” executive chef Matthew Dawson told Abby Llorico for the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast.

The St. Louis native is the mastermind behind the menu at Café Coeur.

And as far as he knows, the restaurant in Creve Coeur is the first of its kind in the country.

The idea came from a couple of the restaurant’s owners. One of them loves pizza, the other loves sushi. So, they brought in Dawson who came up with the idea to fuse the two together.

“Let's do a little bit of Japanese. Let's do a little bit of Italian. Let's do a lot of intermingling between the two and create a cornucopia of awesomeness that comes from the two styles of cuisine,” Dawson said.

And who doesn’t want to dig into a cornucopia of awesomeness?!

Hear more about food fusion and Cafe Coeur in the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast episode 'Fusing and freestyling' by clicking here.

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As for the kosher part of the fusion recipe, Dawson said he’s not Jewish but embraces it as a healthy alternative lifestyle.

“Kosher is more than just a set of rules. It's actually a way of doing food just a little bit better. It's making sure that your vegetables are 10 times cleaner than you would anywhere else. It's going these extra steps and extra miles to make sure that everything is about the highest quality,” he explained.

If you’re having a tough time figuring out how it all goes together, so were we. So, the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast crew tried some of the most popular dishes.

We unwrapped our napkins, grabbed the forks and chopsticks that were tucked inside and dug in.

Matcha linguine

House-made noodles with a matcha cream sauce and pecorino cream, with egg yolk and togarashi, which is a mix of Japanese spices

matcha linguine cafe coeur
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Think fettuccine alfredo… but because of the matcha powder, it’s green.

Pro tip: Chef Dawson suggests cracking the egg yolk and mixing it around before taking a bite.

Mixed mushroom fry-up

Different types of mushrooms marinated in a Japanese style broth and deep fried, then topped with Japanese mayo, oregano, basil and shiso

fried mushrooms cafe coeur
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Like calamari, but with mushrooms.

Arancini onigiri

Panko-crusted rice ball stuffed with cheese and spinach, shaped into a triangle, deep fried to a golden brown and topped with marinara sauce, pesto and grated parmesan 

Arancini onigiri cafe coeur
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“This sounds like an Italian word and a Japanese word, if I’ve ever heard it,” Abby said with a laugh as she gave it a try.

It's similar to fried mozzarella. Arancini is an Italian fried risotto ball. Onigiri is a similar Japanese dish that’s shaped like a triangle instead.

Cafe Coeur is located at 10477 Old Olive Street Road in Creve Coeur.

More from Abby Eats St. Louis:

About Abby Eats St. Louis

Abby Llorico tells the story of St. Louis based on what’s on the table. From the hunger for local ingredients, to the booming brunch scene and the craving for creative cocktails, Abby dives into the nitty-gritty of how St. Louis grew to become the foodie town that it is.

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