7 Featured Restaurants
875 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, 60611 [Map]
The Signature Room at the 95th definitely seems to take you a step closer to heaven with both its offerings and setting - atop the 1970 built John Hancock Center, known for its distinctive architecture and dominating presence on the Chicago skyline. The view from the restaurant presents the city in all its glory and makes diners feel on top of the world.
The atmosphere inside is cheerfully warm and intimate, with elegant wood designs and art-deco interiors - perfect for a romantic dinner and a get-together with family or friends. With live jazz during weekends, the cocktail of superb food and wine, the stunning sight of the setting Chicago sun and the soft music turn it into an almost ethereal experience.
The restaurant offers contemporary American cuisine and Chef Patrick Sheerin delights in sourcing original ingredients from local suppliers. If you decide to drop in for brunch, choose from an extensive selection that can include Belgian waffles and French toast, assorted breakfast pastries, croissants and Danishes, bagels and cream cheeses, carved beef, fresh caviar, smoked Norwegian salmon and chilled antipasto vegetables and made to order omelets.
Their menu features appetizers like fried calamari with spicy tomato sauce, spicy tuna tartare and for those who love fresh vegetables, there are salads such as the Caesar or Mediterranean with romaine lettuce, marinated olives, cucumbers, oven dried tomatoes, roasted beets and cheese with a red wine vinaigrette and this can also be combined with grilled chicken breast or shrimp.
For mains, expect to find specials like seared scallops, grilled Wagyu beefsteak, roasted rack of lamb and New York strip steak. The Signature lunch buffet served Monday through Friday, features meat and seafood specialties, rice and pasta dishes and a host of gourmet salads.
The dessert list includes pear and hazelnut butter cake and dark chocolate mousse among other choices. You could sample their pre-theater dinner package featuring a meal for those in a hurry.
Their wine cellar stocks two hundred and fifty of the world's best wines and champagne, enough of a selection to please the most demanding diner. The Signature Lounge on the 96th Floor enables diners to unwind enjoying their many signature cocktails and a gourmet meal. Offering a breathtaking view, sunsets and thunderstorms add a little natural drama when dining there.
The Signature room can host private gatherings and weddings, theme affairs and corporate dinners. Their private dining rooms have floor to ceiling windows and offer breathtaking views of the city expanding as far as Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin - the perfect choice for social or corporate functions. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch and the only way to experience 'The restaurant Chicago looks up to', is to go there and dine; you can find more details on their Website.
American, Seafood, Steak
701 Wave Street, Monterey, 93940 [Map]
The Sardine Factory in Monterey, California, is owned by well known, popular local character, and part-time actor, Ted Balestreri, though strangely he always seems to get parts in movies about the Mafia; it couldn't be because of his looks, could it?
This award winning restaurant has often entertained celebrity diners from the world of entertainment and politics; it has hosted even the likes of President Reagan, and the credit for this goes to the creative team in the kitchen and also the warm and friendly service of the staff, who make the average diner feel like a celebrity.
There are several areas to dine in - the Lounge offers an informal set up while the Steinbeck dining room with its alcoves offers an intimate atmosphere. For a larger group and a more formal set up the Captain's Room with its ornate interiors transports guests to another era.
Of these choices, the Lounge, with its live entertainment and flexible menu, offers tapas, sandwiches, pizzas, mains and desserts. Starters include four-hour braised Kobe style beef short rib, shrimp quesadillas, a bowl of their signature abalone bisque served with Madeira and fresh chives. A favourite there is the calamari puff lollipops, calamari puffs on bread sticks with chilli-lime salsa.
For the mains, you could try the arancini Sicilian, fried rice balls flavored with cheese, parsley, saffron and garlic on tomato beef ragou. Sea food lovers can select the sea food indulgence served in a special boat, beautifully arrayed half crab, oysters, clams and mussels served with a variety of dipping sauces or go for the trio hot appetizer plate which includes crab cakes, calamari and sautéed prawns on polenta crisp. This hearty dish serves over four people. Those looking for something lighter could opt for cajun chicken breast sandwich, the mini burger platter or the portobella mushroom pizza with its caramelized onions and fresh pecorino cheese.
Indulge your sweet tooth with the warm cinnamon peach crisp, the tiramisu China point, cheesecakes, tarts, sorbets and banana split or go healthy, true celebrity style, and move directly to a cup of tea or cappuccino.
Apart from the unusual cocktails like the east of eden appletini, the Sardine Factory offers over 1000 labels and over 30,000 bottles of the best high end and domestic wines to suit every taste and wallet. In fact, they have received the 'Best Wine List in the World' award from Wine Spectator for twenty one years running. So, check out their Website, book a table, go along, step into the spotlight, and enjoy being a celebrity at the Sardine Factory.
Dinner, Seafood, Steak
4511 McKinney Avenue, Dallas, 75205 [Map]
Abacus, the brainchild of Owner Chef Kent Rathbun, is known for its fine cuisine. From its debut in 1999, it has steadily grown in strength, gaining accolades as it moved into the limelight. Acknowledged with Four Stars by Mobil Travel Guide a consistent winner of the AAA Four Diamond Awards, it was awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence from 2002 to 2008.
Rathbun uses both his passion and vast international experience to create an impressive menu that draws from a global experience. The team organizes culinary tours, events and even cookery classes as well as dealing capably with group bookings and offsite catering .arrangements
In 2008 the restaurant underwent a refurbishment and amongst other improvements now has a refashioned bar to add a fresh dimension to the restaurant's nightlife. The Asian inspired décor uses light colors, rich textured finishes, clean lines and minimal aesthetics to good effect.
The spacious bar has an award wining wine list with over a hundred interesting wines from which to choose and is great for those seeking a vibrant atmosphere without the commitment of a five star meal.
To celebrate the reopening of Abacus, Rathbun and his team have introduced a brand new spring-summer menu that takes advantage of seasonal produce. Expect to see Niman ranch chitpole glazed bacon, scrambled ducks eggs with truffles and the alliterative carnival cauliflower clam chowder on the carte. They serve lobster scallion shooters, a house specialty and a delectable selection of fish and sushi in addition to their creative take on game and beef.
The love affair with food begins with visual appeal and gradually begins to take over other senses as well. Cooked to perfection, beautifully presented, and served with elan, eating out at Abacus is a rewarding experience; but don't take our word for it, visit their Website to find out more.
American, Gourmet, Modern
660 State Street, New Haven, 06511 [Map]
Carmen Anthony Vacalebre grew up Connecticut and always wanted to be in the restaurant business. Learning everything about hamburgers from his stint with McDonald's, he then became a franchisee for Arby's and also opened ME-MA's in Waterbury. In May 1996, his dream finally became a reality when he opened Carmen Anthony Steakhouse. His total commitment to quality and his attention to detail soon made his restaurant popular and won him awards from critics and customers.
Encouraged by his success, he went on to open a second, and then a third restaurant, this time called Carmen Anthony Fishhouse in Woodbury and then Avon and followed this by opening a branch at Wethersfield. All this happened in a short span of four years and in June 2004, he opened the second steakhouse and the company's fifth outlet as Carmen Anthony's Steakhouse in New Haven, and there has been no looking back since.
This new steakhouse is on the first floor of the prestigious One Audubon Building, has three dining rooms, the Audubon, State and City and can accommodate two hundred and fifty six guests. The elegant bar has floor to ceiling concave windows that overlook the bustling area. A very popular feature of all the Carmen Anthony outlets is the exclusive wine lockers offered to discerning customers. They also take pride in offering the best steaks, sea food and grills, accompanied by a full selection of grappa, scotch, bourbon and cognac. Year after year, all Carmen Anthony wine lists are awarded the prestigious 'Award of Excellence' by Wine Spectator Magazine.
In the New Haven steak house too, the Carmen Anthony staff take great pride in serving the county's best thick Angus steaks and chops and fresh seafood, including live Maine lobsters. One cannot miss their award winning potato encrusted crab cake with its special remoulade sauce or their signature colorful salad. Vegetarians love their fresh Portobello mushrooms stuffed with spinach, artichoke hearts, and roasted red peppers in a gorgonzola cream sauce and topped with Ritz cracker crumbs. The clam chowder they serve has been voted the best in Connecticut.
The choice of mains is mindboggling, not just in variety but also in the treatment. Diners can choose from a range of regular as well as specialty steaks, cooked to perfection - rare to well done. Other choices are the boneless chicken breasts, breaded and sautéed with homemade garlic butter, served with the chef's selection of fresh vegetables and potato, or the Maine lobster meat in a spicy red sauce over linguine.
For those who like to balance the elements, there is the interesting land and sea platter offering eight ounce filet mignon and cold water lobster tail. The side dishes, predominantly potato or vegetable based, complement the mains and the combination of lobster, sausage and Black Angus beef filling with the pretty name of surf, turf and oink mini sandwiches captures the imagination.
In a steakhouse, desserts may not always get the attention they deserve, but the sweets there hold their own. The Carmello Anthony torte, the white chocolate cheesecake and the key lime pie certainly clamour for attention while a healthy option is to look the other way, and settle for a choice of coffee and herbal tea. For full menu details and much more, we would suggest a visit to their Website.
115 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, 70130 [Map]
It would appear that the Red Fish Grill was naturally destined to open in New Orleans, Louisiana - the port city that is known for its multicultural heritage, cuisine, tourism, annual Mardi Gras and always considered to be the birthplace of jazz.
This Ralph Brennan run eatery epitomises the spirit of the city with its enjoyable, casual atmosphere and tasty fare. The interiors feature a sea coloured etched floor, hand-painted tables, oyster mirrors in the bar and a sea of metal fish in neon, swimming overhead. The 19th century building that houses Red Fish Grill is recognized as one of the finest renovations in the history of the French Quarter and the grill is located at the gateway to the area.
Chef Gregg Collier's preparations dominate the menu with favourites like hickory-grilled redfish, alligator sausage, seafood gumbo and a variety of gulf fish. Among appetizers, expect to find delicious BBQ oysters, served on the shell with butter and hot sauce, with a blue cheese sauce, and for shrimp lovers, there is coconut-crusted shrimp, in a sweet batter, fried and served with Cajun coleslaw and pepper jelly sauce.
Without a doubt, redfish is the king of the menu. It is popular as it is free from artificial trans fat and is procured from local fish farms. You can choose from the several forms like the blackened redfish burger, fillet served with tasso, wild mushroom Pontalba potatoes and topped with crawfish tails and lemon butter sauce, grilled in a house salad and wonderfully steamed in a parchment bag with parsley pilaf.
If redfish does not appeal to you, there are other options like fillet of catfish with creamy maque choux and sautéed gulf shrimp, apple-smoked bacon and fresh basil with fettuccine in a carbonara sauce. If you cannot think of a meal without meat, don't worry as you can order a fillet mignon or rib eye steak.
The dessert menu appeals to all, particularly chocolate fans, who should enjoy the chocolate bread pudding; other options include the attractive banana cream pie layered in a rich vanilla pastry with a graham cracker crust, topped with Sailor Jerry spiced rum whipped cream and caramel sauce.
The cocktail and raw oyster bar serves a full wine list both by the glass and the bottle. Tastefully designed extensions like the Wine Room and River Room, facing Bourbon Street, allow guests to watch the activities outside and are also available as venues for private parties. Full details are available on their Website.
Creole, Gourmet, Seafood
217 South High Street, Baltimore, 21202 [Map]
Da Mimmo, the Italian restaurant is a destination for many famous people travelling through Baltimore and a place where celebrities dine. The walls of its Roman Cocktail Lounge are adorned with photographs of Dustin Hoffman, Ben Veeren, John Travolta and Tom Selleck among other stars from the world of sports and entertainment.
Started by Mimmo Cricchio and his wife Mary Ann in 1984, Da Mimmo serves original family recipes handed down from generations past and creations gathered from chefs all over the world. When Mimmo passed away, Masood Masoodi the executive chef wanted to carry on the tradition of serving classic Italian food. Masoodi is so committed to this endeavour, that he recently spent three months in the kitchen of the famous Le Sirenuse, in Positano, South Italy learning new recipes. The result is new offerings of risotto alla pescatore, involtini di vitello and souffle di melanzane.
In true Italian style, the menu is segregated into antipasti, zappa or soups, salads, pasta, vegetable and dessert sections. Despite Shakespeare's observation on the unimportance of a name, when you order pollo, vitello, manzo or pesce, the pedestrian fowl, veal, beef and seafood take on a romantic and exotic flavour. And the crowning glory is they are lovingly cooked to perfection.
Some of the restaurant's signature dishes are veal chop Florentina, flatteringly cut at two and a half inch thickness, butter fried, and char broiled with extra virgin olive oil and a dash of rosemary, garlic and sage as also the popular swordfish Mediterraneo, fresh centre cut swordfish broiled to perfection with a touch of olive oil, lemon juice capers and onions.
The creamy lobster tettrazzini, open faced seafood ravioli and the tenderloin veal in black truffle Barolo wine sauce with brandy and black pepper are other mouth-watering options. Music fans would be keen to try the tortellini Pavarotti, created in Luciano Pavarotti's honor when the opera star dined there.
In the two decades since Da Mimmo started, it has won numerous prestigious awards for its cuisine and service, most recently "Favorite Restaurant in the State of Maryland" by the Restaurant Association of Maryland in 2008. The three dining rooms and the tented parking area have catered for large conventions of almost eight hundred. The complimentary limousine pick up and the free parking area add to the experience of warm Italian hospitality and great food. So get a taste of Italy and visit their Website.
253 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, 10605 [Map]
Fair Deal Café opened its doors over 18 years ago and is the brainchild of Koshy Chacko whose single handed determination to go beyond his humble beginnings to realize his dream has won him several accolades. Being located close to shopping areas and theatres in the affluent White Plains suburb has its own advantages; it certainly ensures a steady stream of shoppers and theatre-goers, and who would not love to relax over a reasonably priced, premium quality meal after a day of retail therapy.
The atmosphere is fun and friendly and definitely one for all to enjoy, while the banquet hall is truly a place for all occasions. There’s even a meeting room for the corporate honchos and al fresco dining for those who prefer fresh air and sunshine at lunchtime.
The cooking takes in influences from Italy and Spain and also works in tandem within the American culinary lexicon. For a start, the breakfast menu brings a delightful set of choices such as bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, pancakes, waffles, bagels and freshly baked scones. If you like a steaming cup of coffee there are plenty of flavors to look forward to, think vanilla hazelnut and French vanilla.
Different options grace the lunch and dinner menu each day of the week to prevent the palate from slipping into boredom. Once you’ve dealt with those Monday morning blues settle down, perhaps, with a chicken noodle soup, kielbasa with pepper or meat lasagna. From Tuesday through to Friday, the repertoire ranges from fresh roasted turkey and haddock scampi to spaghetti arrabiata and Salisbury steak. If daily combos and chicken from the rotisserie seem enticing, just plump for the boneless ribs, fish nuggets, meatballs and fillet of flounder. An interesting range of side dishes include dilled potatoes, spinach and mushrooms, herbed corn and carrot tarragon.
The delicious smoky flavor of meat which arrives sizzling hot off the grill has made many taste buds twirl and Fair Deal’s grilled chicken sandwich, pastrami or corned beef and Philly cheese steak roll are all there for those who wish to tread the meatier terrain. If you prefer to eat light there’s a gourmet salad of potato, macaroni and coleslaw, tuna or the tri-color pasta, which keeps the Italian flag flying high.
Fair Deal prefers to be known as a service rather than a stereotypical business; it’s all about keeping costs low and not compromising on quality. If you wish to know more about their activities such as off-premises catering, party planning and various packages and pricing that are on offer, then a visit to their Website is highly recommended.
American, Italian, Spanish
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