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Posts Tagged ‘Seafood’

New Orleans is a city full of vibrant music, bold parties, and spiced up cuisine. So it’s no surprise that Pappadeaux is a big, bold, and loud restaurant eager to usher in some fun. Even on a typical Tuesday in October, Pappadeaux was drawing big crowds. Who says you can’t have fun on a Tuesday?

There are times when you dine out purely for the food and other times you go for an experience. The experience side is done right! Right off the bat, the hostess is knowledgeable and eagerly gives you a brief tour of the fresh seafood available that evening. Décor is geared for fun as well, with tall ceilings and monstrous chandeliers in the shape of compasses. pappagumbo

 

So now that you’re feeling bold and ready to have fun, all that’s left is that party in your mouth! Dishes are boldly seasoned and one could never mistake them as bland, but might some find them over seasoned? The appetizer trio is the first item sampled and it consists of shrimp and crawfish fondue, calamari, and fried alligator. The calamari was a bit chewy, the deep fried alligator could have passed for chicken fingers, but the true oddball was the fondue. Shrimp and crawfish swam in a soupy bath that had cheese melted on top similar to french onion soup.

 

Speaking of a soup type dish, next up was the gumbo. The flavorful broth was joined by spicy andouille sausage, shrimp, crawfish, and rice. A good gumbo has layers of flavor that work together, while the broth was flavorful, the ingredients didn’t work harmoniously. This gumbo felt as if it was thrown together and not created, as if each ingredient was cooked separately and then put together at the last minute without a chance for the flavors to marry.pappashrimp

 

First entrée was the Stuffed Shrimp Montage. Large oven baked shrimp are stuffed with crab cake and a parmesan cream sauce. There is no shortage of flavor here! If you’re looking to taste the shrimp, then there is too much flavor. Over seasoned and over sauced, these jumbo shrimp get lost in the flavor shuffle. The parmesan topped lobster is luckily restrained from the over seasoning. The salty characteristics of the parmesan actually work quite well with the very fresh lobster.

 

A smile is brought to my face when I see the dessert tray. Sweet potato pecan pie was a nice twist to the often too sweet dessert, while toasted pecans added a delicious crunch. Key lime pie is a personal favorite dessert, although this version is very sweet with only a hint of tartness, true key lime should be the opposite.pappapecan

 

Entrée prices range from the mid teens to upper forties, so diners have plenty of options. So what does all this add up to? A fun, loud, and bold restaurant that may please the everyday masses, but will leave true foodies with a little too much spice in their mouth.

 

Location

798 W. Algonquin Rd

Arlington Heights, IL

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

Funny thing about secrets, everyone knows one, and everyone wants to hear the juiciest one. It can be something as scandalous as infidelity, or something as innocent as that one ingredient you just can’t share. When it comes to dining out, everyone wants to be the one to discover that one great place no one knows about yet. Psst…I have a secret, Parker’s in Downers Grove just might be that place.parkerpizza

Away from the spotlight of the big city, Parker’s boasts a large menu with a focus on freshness. Glance over the menu and you will know exactly where your particular dish hails from. Our journey starts in Naples with their VPN (Vera Pizza Napoletana) certified Margherita pizza. Buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, and Basil adorn a thin crust with just the right amount of chew.parkersalad

Surfer dudes will make the trip to South Beach with a salad tower loaded with grilled salmon, avocado, fresh mango, scallions, ice berg, and drizzled with honey cumin dressing. Don’t head for land just yet, the cold water oysters Rockefeller are stuffed with baby spinach, parmesan cream sauce, and topped with melted Swiss cheese.parkeroyster

To warm up on a cool night the excellent bouillabaisse is loaded with king crab, mussels, and other favorites in a rich saffron tomato broth that pleases your soul. For a visual treat, the Lake Superior Whitefish Wellington is a show stopper. This is a case where all the ingredients should be enjoyed in each bite. On it’s own the whitefish is a tad dry, but when you add the Shitake’s, pine nuts, leeks, and the lemon beurre blanc sauce is when you discover its true harmony.

Fear not, carnivores shall not be left out in the cold. The lamb trio is a must try for the lamb lover. Two tender chops star in a dish accompanied by lamb sausage and braised shoulder. If low and slow is more your speed, then the red wine braised short ribs will have your mouth watering.parkercotton

You must not leave without dessert! While many fine choices are found on the menu, the absolute show stopper is the cotton candy. Oh yes, the childhood treat that you grew up with is available and is more fun than ever. Spun in house, this Vermont maple sugar treat will tickle your funny bone as well as your taste buds.

Entrée’s range in the mid twenty dollar range which is reasonable for this amount of freshness and fun. So the secret’s out! Parker’s offers comfortable upscale dining with a fun youthful twist.

Location

1000 31st Street

Downers Grove. IL

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team

Perennial Chicago

Perennial Chicago

They say that three is a charm, but that’s not necessarily true for Chicago restaurateurs Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm.  That’s because the dynamic duo have already been successful opening two of the best and hottest restaurants in Lincoln Park, BOKA and Landmark Bar & Grill.  Both restaurants have received critical acclaim from local and national publications and continue to be considered two of the more popular spots for great cuisine, cocktails and atmosphere.  However, Katz and Boehm just weren’t satisfied with their two gems and decided to open a third restaurant about a year ago.  Perennial, has lived up to its name and Executive Chef Ryan Poli was added to bring a new casual dining experience to Chicago. 

Perennial’s menu boasts a plethora of approachable dishes such as the Soft Shell Crab” and the “Brown Butter Gnocchi” appetizers.  Both starters are prepared with flavors that are succulent and a presentation that differs from similar type dishes.   The entrees are a perfect mix of seafood, meat and pasta selections, which makes it a difficult task to choose.  However the “Grilled Salmon”, “Alaskan Halibut”, “Compart Duroc Porkbelly” and “Sea Scallops” are all popular dishes that won’t disappoint.  The “Perennial Mac and Cheese” side dish holds it own when compared to other mac and cheese dishes in the city.  An attractive array of desserts and cheeses complements the menu, but the standout is the warm chocolate brownie served with coffee ice cream.

Their specialty cocktail menu is also seasonal and the wine list is manageable.  The service was attentive, but not overbearing and the waiter was knowledgeable about the cuisine, cocktails and wine.  The vibe and crowd is casual elegance and atmosphere is loud enough to enjoy a dinner conversation.  As the summer weather heats up Chicago expect Perennial to be even hotter during the months to come. 

Coffee and Baileys Dessert

Coffee and Baileys Dessert

Perennial is located at 1800 N. Lincoln Ave in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  For more information log onto www.perennialchicago.com.  Visit www.efete.net to check out more reviews and to get an inside look at the newest hottest restaurants on Fete Select TV.

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

Rosemont, a city most known for conventions and concerts. But for those in the know, Rosemont is starting to build some serious culinary cred. While many city dwellers (Marcus Riley), don’t even know where Rosemont is (near Ohare), trust me, it’s time to learn.

Rosemont features some of Chicagolands finest restaurants, including “Gibsons” and “Harry Carray’s“. The newest addition to the mix is McCormick and Schmick. Located on River Rd, I had the pleasure of attending the VIP pre opening event. The beautiful restaurant was packed to the gills (sorry), so packed that you made friends rather quickly. So packed in fact, that I could have easily named this feature “Runaway Food”. The servers had to carry the trays high in the air, in order to make it to different parts of the restaurant. After a few hungry patrons made their displeasure known, the trays came down and the consumption began.

The menu featured seared tuna atop a tortilla chip and drizzled with creme fresh, crab cakes, mini burgers, and other bite size items from their expansive menu. It’s not an opening night party without some music and liquid libations. The beer, wine, and champagne flowed freely, while possibly the best lounge singer ever performed. By best I mean cheesiest. Now I’m actually not putting his act down at all. Think of those VH1 “Awesomely Bad” specials, in which you hear songs that are so bad, but can’t help to love. All the basics were covered with classics like “Sweet Caroline”, “Copa Cabana”, and “Celebration”.

All in all it was a fun night, and another feather in Rosemonts culinary cap. Make the trip out to the burbs and see what the new McCormick and Schmick is all about.

Location
5320 N. River Rd.
Rosemont, Illinois 60018
(847)233-3776.

Remember, you can read all my reviews/features at HungryZ.com

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

Here’s the recipe; take one part celebrity chef, throw in an outdoor lounge, a dash of contemporary style, and you get C-House by Chef Marcus Samuelsson. This is Chef Samuelsson’s first venture in Chicago, but that doesn’t mean he’s a newcomer. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, Samuelsson gained his passion for cooking from his grandmother at a young age. That passion led him to a very successful culinary career, including winning the James Beard award for best chef in New York City. 

What’s going to set C-House apart? Samuelsson proudly boasts of his extensive raw bar, ultra hip decor, and the C-Lounge were patrons will get get some amazing views of the city. 

Start your dining expereience with the fish tacos. Crisp tortilla shells are filled with yellow tail tuna and then topped with red cabbage, red onion, and a drizzle of creme fresh.

 A must try is the monkfish, glazed with a sweet and spicy relish. Dense and meaty in texture, the monkfish not only looks like a chop, but eats like one as well.

 Signiture side dish here is the chorizo mac and cheese. Creamy goats milk cheddar is kicked up a notch with spicy bits of chorizo running throughout. Definitely a must try.

 For dessert you can choose either the “candy bar”, in which you choose from 15 different types of house made confections, or you can order a single serving dessert of your own. Two quality options are the dense brown butter poundcake and the cinnamon toast ice cream sandwich. The ice cream sandwich has vanilla ice cream between thin layers of caramelized cinnamon and sugar.

 Overall “C-House” offers ultra hip decor, high quality food, for an upscale price. The restaurant seats only about 70 guests, so reservations will be a must.
Location
166 E. Superior
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 523-0923

Remember, you can check out all my review/features by clicking here.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

Acclaimed chef Marcus Sammuelson’s new restaurant, C-House, has a lot to offer their diners.  Just their seafood options and the raw bar alone deems this new hot spot a must try.  Recently I had a chance to go behind the scenes to check out the cuisine, cocktails and the vibe.  I also got to hang out in the kitchen with their Executive Chef Seth Siegel-Gardner and pastry Chef Toni Roberts, as they showcased their respective signature dishes and desserts.

Located on the ground floor in the new Affinia Hotel (166 E. Superior St.), C-House is just a block away from Michigan Ave.   Sammuelson steps outside of the Scandanavian restaurants that he is so well known for and offers up a new model for the American seafood and chop house.  Check out C-House below on our new Fete Select TV segment.  Also visit www.efete.net to check out more new restaurants on Fete Select TV.  

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D.C. “Fete TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

I’m always looking forward to trying hot new restaurants in the city and Chicago always has a lot to choose from, especially this summer. Therefore over the past week I set out to try four new hot spots that have been generating a lot of buzz since opening. My criteria for deciding whether a restaurant is worthy of a repeat visit boils down to the cuisine, service, vibe, cocktails, cost, and location. For the most part the four dining venues hit the mark on food, but service was a bit sketchy for at least one of them.

My first stop during my week long dining crusade was Ajasteak. Located at 660 N. State St. (in the new Dana Hotel and Spa), they boast on offering the artful precision of Asian cuisine coupled with the robust flavors of a modern steak house. Basically they serve sushi and a very high grade of beef (Kobe). My wife and I had lunch there and were surprised to see the dining room nearly empty. The lunch menu however, provided an interesting choice of sandwiches, although a little pricey. I ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich, which our server touted as his favorite, and the steak fries deemed the best ever. My wife chose the Seared Tuna Sandwich and a side of their heaping Onion Rings. We both shared a Maki roll to compare to our favorite sushi joints. The sandwiches were tasty; the service not so much. The steak fries were not even close to being the best ever. The sushi was decent, but nothing better than our more affordable BYOB sushi spot in Lakeview. Be prepared to open your wallet for an expensive and tasty meal, but the service may not coincide with the price.

My second stop was at OTOM, the sister restaurant to futuristic cuisine MOTO. OTOM Executive Chef Daryl Nash prepares post modern cuisine without being futuristic.  They pride themselves on having stress free and fun food and I have to say that we had a lot of fun trying his creations. Cuisine such as Carbonated Watermelon to cleanse the palate and Butter-poached Shrimp appetizer were big hits. I’m not a huge fan of tofu, but their tofu poached in olive oil, corn puree and topped with freeze dried corn was savory. The Chicken ala King with oyster mushrooms and the Fried Short Rib Ravioli entrees were spectacular. After the Coconut-Pineapple Paradise dessert we were sold. The cocktails and service were great and the ambiance was low key. This is a great place to relax and chill with a significant other or a group of friends. OTOM is located at 951 W. Fulton Market St.

 
C-House was recently opened by acclaimed Chef Marcus Sammuelson. Sammuelson, out of New York City, is the youngest chef to receive two 3 star reviews from the NY Times. C-House is an American Seafood and Chop House restaurant. I taped a segment of Fête Select TV there recently and had a chance to enjoy some of Executive Chef Seth Siegel-Gardner’s specialty dishes, including Chili Crusted Fluke, Yellow Tail Fish Tacos, and Chorizo Mac & Cheese. C-Bar, their raw bar, offers standard seafood favorites and allows guests to sit and view the preparation of their meal. Executive Pastry Chef Toni Roberts created The Candy Bar- variety of bite size chocolates, confections and cookies. C-View is their upscale lounge located on the 29th floor and I became a fan of their Honeysuckle specialty cocktail. C-House is a few blocks off Michigan Ave in the new Affinia Hotel (166 E. Superior St.)

The final destination on my parade route of restaurants was Hub 51. Owners R.J. and Jerrod Melman, sons of Richard Melman (Lettuce Entertain You), recently opened this 10,000 square foot space with a 20 ft bar. Hub 51 has definitely attracted a big crowd early and appears to be the new place to see and to be seen. The food is American cuisine with different influences from California, Mexico, Australia and Asia that includes homemade tacos, seafood, signature sandwiches and sushi. We had a Sweet Potato Roll, Chicken Nachos, Halibut Tacos, and the Sea Bass. The dishes were all very good, but the winner was the Sea Bass flavored with horseradish broth. My very pregnant wife couldn’t enjoy the Hub Punch, which is their specialty cocktail concoction of Grey Goose le Citron, tequila, Lcor 43, and pomegranate. The kicker for the evening was Martha’s Carrot Cake; RJ & Jerrod’s mother’s own carrot cake recipe. I’ll be back just for the carrot cake alone. Hub 51 is not a quiet place to have a romantic dinner, however it does offer a lively atmosphere with a bar scene that revs up as the evening grows. Check it out at 51 W. Hubbard St. (Corner of Dearborn and Hubbard).

Now that you have four new spots to try, drop me a line and let me know what you think at dc@efete.net.

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