GNR Nomination Period is Open
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John Danza wrote:Great topic Ronnie!
nsxtasy wrote:We had dinner at Sable again a week ago and it was one of the best dinners I've had in the past year. Just about everything was absolutely delicious; this time, standouts included the corned beef reuben strudel, the pistachio duck sausage, the sweet corn creme brulee, and the orange-buttermilk panna cotta. The service is reliably great too, with enthusiastic servers who are knowledgeable about the food as well as the craft cocktails. Sable has rapidly become one of my favorite restaurants, where I can count on memorable food, meal after meal. The reasonable price is just icing on the cake, but it makes the decision to return an easy one.
nsxtasy wrote:We ate dinner at Deleece this past Monday evening. I don't usually post a detailed report on a restaurant when I've already done so about a previous visit, so I'll just touch on a few highlights.
This dinner was every bit as outstanding as our previous visits. This time there were five of us, and my friends who were there for the first time - two from out of town, and one local - were absolutely thrilled with it. Two dishes deserve special mention. I really enjoyed the warm onion tart with caramelized onions, goat cheese, pine nuts, rosemary, dates, and balsamic reduction; it was a perfect blend of flavors. And four days later, my companion is still raving about the albacore tuna with baby bok choy, shiitakes, cashews, roasted garlic, sweet potato fritters, and lemongrass-chili aioli. All the other dishes were excellent as well.
This was our first visit to their new location at 3747 N. Southport. It's very nice - more spacious as well as bigger. I can't really compare noise levels because it wasn't very busy on Monday and our previous visit was New Year's Eve, but the spaciousness should help (and as noted above, I never found the old location overly noisy anyway).
This relative unknown neighborhood gem is a place where I've loved everything I've been served, dish after dish, visit after visit.
Maybe you had what we had - a chocolate sampler consisting of a small slice of flourless chocolate cake, two small chocolate French macaroons, and chocolate pot de crème. Spectacular, indeed!
nsxtasy wrote:I've been to Le Titi de Paris several times in the past couple of years. Most recently I had dinner there a week and a half ago, on Saturday night (Jan 29). I thought it was superb in every possible way. I went there in part because they were participating in the Restaurant Week promotion from Chicago, with three courses for $29.11. (As it happens, they offer a similar menu on an ongoing basis Sundays through Thursdays for $32.) Everything I had was fantastic! The "Maine Lobster and Peeky Toe Crab Galette, Creamed Leeks and Organic Red Chard, Rouille Sauce" was just superb, nicely flavored and brimming with seafood. The "Sautéed Sea Scallops with Creamy Garden Pumpkin, Parmesan and Scallion Risotto, Champagne Chive Sauce" were also excellent. I loved the "Trilogy of Desserts: Tahitian Scented Crème Brulée, Bittersweet Chocolate Gateau & Raspberry Sorbet". And the complimentary sorbet intermezzo (ruby red grapefruit, IIRC) was another nice touch. Our server, Pepe, was very knowledgeable as well as having an enthusiastic and humorous personality, the kind of combination I remember fondly from Le Francais back in the day, just adding to the perfect upscale restaurant experience. So the entire experience was superb, the equal of most of the best restaurants in the Chicago area. Furthermore, this dinner would have been a great value at twice the price; for $29.11, it was a steal!
nsxtasy wrote:Last night I had another wonderful dinner at Campagnola. The soup (butternut squash) and salad (butter lettuce) were very good, the braised short rib was one of the best around, but what really blew me away was their vanilla bean bread pudding. I think it was the best bread pudding I've ever had.
You don't hear much about Campagnola around here - nothing in the past three years, as you can see - but it's the epitome of a great neighborhood restaurant (to coin a phrase ), turning out high-quality food at an affordable price, a place you can drop in and they make you feel right at home.
nsxtasy wrote:We had lunch at GT Fish & Oyster today and really, really liked it. We ordered four dishes and all four were big hits.
We started with the clam chowder, served in a Ball jar, and it was excellent, with a great balance among the three flavors: clams, bacon, and spices. Next was the crab cake, which was unusual in shape (rectangular and long) and exactly what a crab cake should be - loaded with crab, with very little filler added. It's one of the best in Chicago. We then had the scallops, two large sea scallops done exactly as we requested ("cooked through"), accompanied by a couple of slices of great "candied bacon" and served over pureed acorn squash. Our final dish was the mussels, which were excellent - perfectly cooked (tender and moist, not at all rubbery), nice sized (larger than many), and bursting with flavor. I am sometimes leery of ordering mussels in a tomato sauce (especially a relatively spicy one like theirs) because the sauce can overwhelm the flavor of the mussels, but at GT Fish the flavor of the mussels stood up quite well. These were some of the best mussels anywhere.
The service (Frankie) was excellent and knowledgeable; he was very helpful by advising us about the menu (including its progression from lighter dishes to heavier ones) and the portion sizes ("small plates", although the mussels portion was quite generous). The room was very pleasant and quite elegant (NOT overly noisy, even though it was almost full the entire time we were there).
The only oddity was one item on the menu - the king crab legs. We were told that it consisted of an 8-10 ounce portion size and the price was $42. I asked to confirm that I heard correctly, as the price and portion seemed way out of whack. I otherwise might have ordered them, but, well...
Anyway, we had a delightful lunch and it made us want to return soon to try it for dinner. Great place.
nsxtasy wrote:Yesterday I had brunch at Shaw's Crab House in River North. Theirs is an all-you-can-eat buffet brunch. You can see the menu here.
CrazyC's praise, above, was right on target. Assuming you're in the mood for seafood for brunch, I thought their buffet was GREAT. Shaw's, of course, is one of our best seafood restaurants. One of the big problems with many buffets is the freshness of the food; the food needs to be replenished frequently to be eaten at its best, without having a chance to sit around and get soggy. The Shaw's buffet was excellent in this regard. All of the items were extremely fresh, and seemed about the same quality as when they are made to order.
I didn't try everything, but here are comments about the items I did try, starting with the breakfast items. Their bacon - brown sugar and pepper cured, and thick sliced - was terrific, one of the best I've had anywhere. The scrambled eggs were very good, albeit conventional. The French toast was rather dry until you put syrup or bananas Foster on it. I also liked the mini malted Belgian waffles. I didn't try the create-your-own omelet, but for those who are interested, this is one of the only breakfast buffets I've seen where there was no line of people waiting for their omelets to be custom made to order.
What makes this buffet, though, is the seafood dishes! Their Maryland-style crab cakes are among the best anywhere, and the mini versions on the buffet were up to their usual high standards. Their lobster bisque is outstanding. I loved the way they served the Alaskan king crab legs! They cut them into pieces about an inch and a half long, which made them really easy to eat - no worries about removing them from the shell, they just popped right out, and you only had to worry about removing the pieces of cartilege, which was easy. How good were they? I love Alaskan king crab, and these were terrific! The price of the buffet would be worth it even if it were only for the all-you-can-eat crab legs! I only had the hot ones, although they also had similar pieces but cold on the cold buffet. The French fried shrimp were very good, and they use the really really big shrimp. I tried the beef tenderloin and it was just okay (but I wasn't there for the beef).
The only items I had on the cold buffet were both very good - the shrimp cocktail (again, really really big shrimp) and the Duck Trap salmon pastrami. The desserts were in small portion sizes, which was nice because you could try more of them that way. I had three. Shaw's is the first place I ever had crème brulee, and theirs is still one of the best you'll find anywhere. They also had chocolate pot de crème, which was excellent, denser and more intense than most others (although this is, by its nature, a dense and intense dessert); I found it benefited from extra whipped cream topping from the waffle station. I also tried a piece of their chocolate layer cake but thought it was a bit too sweet and gooey.
So all in all, a few of the items I tried were just okay, but many of them were hits - BIG hits. The bacon, the crab cakes, the king crab legs, and the crème brulee were all absolutely superb - so good that it's surprising to find that level of quality on an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The brunch buffet isn't cheap, at $40. But for an all-you-can-eat meal with some of the best seafood (and bacon, and crème brulee) you'll find anywhere, it was a bargain. And oh yeah, children 12 and under are free (limit two per adult).
nsxtasy wrote:I ate there today, and had my usual flame broiled burger. Yum! I got the regular fries, and they were somewhat on the salty side, but otherwise very good. The shakes - oh, the shakes! I had a vanilla malt. They had three special shake flavors today: salted caramel, mexican chocolate, and a third one I forget. They also offered three different upgrades on the meat in the burgers: Tallgrass (from Kansas), Shlagel (from Illinois), and a third one from Illinois whose name I forget but contained a three-letter acronym. (I know, with my inability to remember three things, I'm starting to sound like a certain politician! ) Edzo's is such a very special place!
Incidentally, I was somewhat surprised to find virtually all the tables occupied despite the hour (around 1:30). Based on the crowd, that appears to depend on whether or not Northwestern is in session.
Jefe wrote:Alright, forgot a few, restricted myself to Chicagoland in my prior post, so beyond Chicagoland . . .
zoid wrote:Lamb chops were the stand out dish of the night. Just perfect. The tangy sauce and the golden beets were such a great combo I'd order just a dish of those.
We talked about this dish the entire drive home.
ronnie_suburban wrote:Jefe wrote:Alright, forgot a few, restricted myself to Chicagoland in my prior post, so beyond Chicagoland . . .
Yeah, I only posted Chicago-area restaurant food and nothing else, so I may come back with a few more.
It's great to see lists from beyond Chicagoland.
kathryn wrote:8. Capt'n J, Shopsin's, NYC: fried chicken, scrambled eggs, in a macaroni-and-cheese pancake sandwich. Smothered in their housemade hot sauce and some grade A maple syrup. Eat, then nap.
tangela wrote:kathryn wrote:8. Capt'n J, Shopsin's, NYC: fried chicken, scrambled eggs, in a macaroni-and-cheese pancake sandwich. Smothered in their housemade hot sauce and some grade A maple syrup. Eat, then nap.
Did Kenny change his maple syrup? He famously uses grade B. Also, this reminds me that I need to get to Shopsin's...