Tag Archives: Restaurant Week

Chicago Restaurant Week 2016: Catch 35

21 Feb

For Chicago Restaurant Week at the end of January, hubby and I decided to check out Catch 35, a slightly splurgy seafood spot near the river. During Restaurant Week, you can nab some pretty good prix fixe deals at top Chicago restaurants, and Catch 35 offers two dinner options – a $33 menu and a $44 menu.

Ambiance-wise, Catch 35 has a bit of a personality disorder. It’s a very long restaurant, and the front section evokes a bit of a classy jazz lounge/bar feel. There’s a shiny black grand piano surrounded by high top tables with views out the front window towards the water. A long bar stretches towards the back of the restaurant. Across from the bar are a few casual-looking tables positioned fairly close together. After the bar comes a brightly lit display case showing off fresh cuts of fish, and a few more tables. It’s like you’re in a fancy fish market. Walking deeper into the restaurant, you then go up a few steps. It’s here that you’ll find probably the best and most comfortable tables. There are a few booths on one side, and tables for four on the other. Then up a few more steps, and now you’re officially in the largest section of the dining room. Maybe it’s going for a fine dining feel, but it’s more like 90’s hotel meets Senior’s night.

Despite its confused look, Catch 35’s food is anything but. Everything is plated nicely, and more importantly, tastes pretty awesome.

Catch 35

Kicking off the start of a fantastic meal, my husband started off with a creamy and flavorful lobster bisque.

Catch 35 - beet salad

I got the beet salad, which was a huge portion with tons of beets, topped with creamy goat cheese and crunchy pistachios. 

 

Mahi

For my entree, I had the perfectly cooked mahi mahi served over roasted root vegetables and red grapes (part of the $33 menu). Catch 35 has a pretty good wine selection, and I had a terrific and sweet riesling from Mosel, Germany that went well with my meal.

 

Brussel sprouts

We shared a ginormous side of roasted Brussel sprouts, and also the short rib hash (not pictured). Actually, we probably didn’t need the side dishes – our entree portions were well-sized, but we just couldn’t resist. With a name like Catch 35, you might be tempted to stick to seafood only, but the short rib was fantastic. I highly recommend the short rib hash, or any other dish with short rib in it. 

 

Chilean sea bass

Hubby got the Chilean sea bass – yum! (part of the $44 menu).

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We each got our own molten chocolate cake for dessert. It was soooo good, though very rich. One portion would have been enough to share!

The Final Word: Solid seafood and wine selection. The service could be more attentive, and the decor is not the most chic, but I would come back for the nicely prepared dishes.

Info: Catch 35, W. Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601 USA

Catch 35 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Boston Prix Fixe: Bergamot

1 Jun

My boyfriend and I went to Bergamot (118 Beacon St., Somerville, MA) for Boston Restaurant Week, but it turns out that they have a 3-course prix fixe menu all the time, anyway, for about the same price.  The restaurant is a small square room with a view of the open kitchen. Like many good Boston-area restaurants, tables are quite close together.

Service was remarkably attentive, and we had a terrific dining experience. Our meal started with complementary potato bread with to-die-for orange poppy seed butter. Rather than having a bread basket clutter your table, servers return to fill your bread plate at your request.

white bean soup

The smoked white bean soup was yummy, with black beans and a light avocado mousse, topped with cilantro.

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I had the seared local hake. It was a melt-in-your-mouth fillet over bed of crunchy hearts of palm and pale green chickpeas. It was surrounded with the complex flavours of garlic-clam sauce (mushroom, cream, pancetta) and small buttons of hon shimeji mushrooms

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Panisse fries, served with herbed ricotta cheese, were an interesting concept. From our server’s description, I expected them to be crispy, more like typical fries. However, they were more like chickpea tofu – the lightly fried blocks were creamier than polenta. My guy gobbled them all up though – the thick herbed ricotta was the perfect partner to this dish.  

creamed spinach

The creamed spinach was nicely done.

For dessert, my guy had the carrot cake. It was four small cubes of cake, with golden raisins and candied walnuts. I found the cake slightly dry.

clafoutis

The black olive clafoutis  was moist and delicious, but was just three small pieces spread across a rectangular plate,  with caramel sauce and a little scoop of grapefruit sorbet. Complimentary mini coconut pistachio madeleines finished off the meal.

The Final Word: An all-around great dining experience with wonderful service, and beautifully presented food. Appetizers and entrees have great flavours. Desserts are very small.

Bergamot on Urbanspoon

Info: Bergamot, 118 Beacon St., Somerville, MA, 02143 USA

Boston Restaurant Week Winter 2013: The Capital Grille

23 Mar

For my boyfriend and I, this was our second time visiting The Capital Grille (250 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA) during Boston Restaurant Week, so we knew what to expect. On both occasions, the restaurant was quite busy, and despite having made reservations, we waited at least 10 minutes before being seated. The regular menus are obnoxiously large – you can’t put them down without knocking over a wine glass or two. The Restaurant Week menu, thankfully, is more manageable.  $38.13 nabs you a three-course meal (appetizer, entree with one side dish, and a dessert), which is a pretty good deal for a place where a steak entree alone runs well into the $40’s. The atmosphere is classic upscale American steakhouse, with walls lined with wine bottles and framed art. Personal wine cabinets for the regulars adorn the entrance, and further into the restaurant, a window lets you look into the dry-aging room.

The clam chowder is exactly what you’d expect for a very traditional New England clam chowder – smooth, not too thick, with potatoes and lots of clams. The field greens and seasonal vegetables with shallot champagne vinaigrette is a nice mix of lettuces, grape tomatoes, cucumber, lightly tossed in vinaigrette. It’s definitely better than the typical house salad you get at more casual restaurants. We enjoyed our appetizers with a large bread basket full of warm bread! (Boston-area restaurants seem to favor cold bread. If I wanted my bread cold, I would eat it at home). It would have been even better had the butter been whipped or softened.

Capital Grille - sirloin

The Bone-in Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin with shallot butter was ordered medium-rare but arrived much closer to medium. We sent it back, and just a few minutes later, a perfect, medium-rare sirloin arrived at our table.

Capital Grille - Filet Mignon

The 8 oz. Filet Mignon arrived perfectly medium-rare and delicious.

Capital Grille - sides

The sides were well-executed, but not anything particularly creative or spectacular. The green beans are listed on the menu as “French Green Beans with Shallots and Heirloom Tomato” – and they’re not kidding about the “Tomato,” singular. There was a single, small tomato underneath the green beans. The mashed potatoes were nice and creamy and flecked with bits of their red skins, though I have had better at other steakhouses. Given that side dishes at The Capital Grille are regularly around $10 each, I was underwhelmed.

Capital Grille - flourless chocolate cake

We completed our meals with slices of flourless chocolate espresso cake, each a dense, rich triangle of chocolate with a hint of espresso, served with raspberry coulis and fresh raspberries.

Service was acceptable, but for such a pricey steakhouse, it was lacking. Servers were not very attentive, and rarely stopped by to check on us or refill our water glasses, though they came immediately to our table when we called them over. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and attribute the cool service to being extra busy during Restaurant Week.

The Final Word: Go for the steaks, not for the service.  And go during Restaurant Week, when they won’t break the bank.

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

Fancy Food at The Mistral: Boston Restaurant Week 2012

14 Sep

Last month, my boyfriend and I put on our fancy clothes to go out for a fancy date night at a place priced a little fancier than our typical meals. It was Boston Restaurant Week, and for $33.12, you score a three-course meal at the kind of place that cleans up the crumbs on your tablecloth between courses.

The Mistral (223 Columbus Ave., Boston, MA), with its clean white walls, high ceilings, and tall windows, has an air of relaxed sophistication. Our meal started with a sourdough loaf that was nicely crusty on the outside while soft on the inside. Unfortunately, most Boston-area restaurants don’t seem to believe in warm bread. So the loaf was served at room temperature, but with a yummy garlic-hummus spread as well as butter.

As an appetizer, the bf had the chilled corn and avocado chowder. It was deliciously creamy, with a good-sized lump of crab meat at the center. Refreshing.

My salmon tartare was served on an avocado “salad” – finely chopped avocado with cilantro – and served with a light soy vinaigrette. The presentation was elegant, but there was too much vinaigrette, overpowering the delicate flavor of the raw salmon.

Bf’s steak (not pictured) was perfectly cooked – melt-in-your mouth perfect!

I had the Scottish grilled salmon Niçoise (below, shown with a shared side of garlic spinach). The salmon was served with its crispy skin. I usually don’t enjoy salmon skin, but this was delicious. The fish flaked apart nicely on my fork. A bed of French beans, tiny white and purple potatoes, and red onion made this entree complete. Throughout our meal, we had attentive service even though the staff was very busy – Because of Restaurant Week, the place was completely full.

Dessert was a Devil’s food cake with subtle pistachio ice cream, cherry sauce, and a delicate pistachio biscotti crisp on top. The cake itself was not as moist as I would have liked, but the chocolate flavour paired well with the ice cream. I enjoyed my cake with Earl grey tea loose leaf, which arrived in a French press, served with warmed milk!

Final Word: We had a wonderful dining experience at The Mistral, with beautifully plated food and great service. Definitely recommended for date night!

Mistral on Urbanspoon

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