Lobster Archive

Saturday

2

March 2013

2

COMMENTS

Siena Tavern

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants

As soon as I had my first bite of the Gnocchi with Truffle Cream and Crispy Pancetta at Chicago Restaurant Week’s First Bites Bash, I knew a visit to Siena Tavern needed to be in my near future. Had I known when I took that bite that Siena Tavern was the new Italian restaurant of chef Fabio Viviani…well, let’s just say there would have been some squeals involved. I’m a huge Top Chef fan and the charming Viviani of Season 5 won Fan Favorite for a reason. I had no doubt that my gnocchi was just a small taste of the amazing food Fabio had in store for Chicago.

Situated on the corner of Kinzie and Dearborn, Siena Tavern fits perfectly into Chicago‘s trendy River North neighborhood. Lucas Stoioff and David Rekhson of Bull & Bear and Public House are no strangers to this ‘hood, and they know how to do it right.

Siena Tavern Chicago

Our reservation was at 6:30p on a Friday and we arrived early to grab a drink and check out the bar area before dinner. At 6p the place was seriously hoppin’…from business professionals grabbing a drink after work to girls dressed like they were ready to hit the club…it was quite the mix of people.

Siena Tavern Chicago

We were able to grab a spot at the bar and try a few of their Femme du Coupe cocktails. I tried the #2 and the #4. Both on the sweeter side, one made with vodka and the other with gin. I thoroughly enjoyed both, but the #4 with plymouth, lavender honey, lemon, and creme de violette was definitely my fav. By 6:30p the wait for walk-ins was almost 2 hours…if you don’t have a reservation I’d suggest stalking the bar patrons and swoop in once they’re ready to leave-like I said, we snagged a couple seats at the bar less than 10 minutes after arriving.

Siena Tavern Chicago

Siena Tavern Chicago

Once our reservation time rolled around we were seated at one of the half-circle booths in their large, open dining room. We had a group of 4 and the booth was perfect; we had more than enough room and the arrangement made for intimate conversation while letting us take in the beautiful space around us.

The service we experienced was outstanding-our server Karissa was so friendly and had great suggestions, she coursed our dishes perfectly, and our water glasses were never empty (always a plus in my book). The plates at Siena are smaller and made for sharing. I think a group of 4 is the perfect size if you’re looking to maximize the number of dishes you can try while still getting a decent portion of each.

We started with a few smaller plates:  the Burrata from their Mozzarella Bar, served with a delicious tomato jam and grilled bread; the Saba Roasted Bone Marrow with pickled maitake mushrooms and crispy bread; and the Siena Chopped Salad. The salad was good but the Burrata and Bone Marrow were major standouts. I will definitely be ordering both of these again when we return (because we’ll obviously be returning).

Siena Tavern Chicago

Siena Tavern Chicago

Siena Tavern Chicago

We followed up our “starters” with a few pastas. We tried the Short Rib Ravioli, Squid Ink Linguini, and Gnocchi. Again, they were all incredibly delicious and picking a favorite is nearly impossible, but I think the linguini stood out the most for me. The rich, meaty ravioli and velvety truffle cream gnocchi were both dishes I would absolutely order again but the subtle spice of the lobster cream sauce on the linguine was what really did it for me. Plus, I think I just love eating squid ink linguini!

Siena Tavern Chicago

Siena Tavern Chicago

Siena Tavern Chicago

We would’ve loved to go on trying more of the pastas, but we were told it would be wise if we left room for some of their fantastic desserts. We went with the Tiramisu and the Bomboloni. The Tiramisu is Fabio’s grandmother’s recipe and grandma did not disappoint! I like to think of myself as somewhat of a Tiramisu connoisseur because I try it everywhere.  Siena Tavern’s rendition is without a doubt one of my favs. Rich and creamy yet it still feels light when you take a bite. Tiramisu perfection!

Siena Tavern Chicago

The Bomboloni is also worth a sweet splurge at the end of your meal. Warm, airy dough covered in sugar and served with 3 different sauces in squeeze bottles-yes, you want this. You can squeeze the whisky-caramel, chocolate hazelnut, or lemon-maple sauce into the bomboloni at your discretion but in my experience more is better!

Siena Tavern Chicago

Of course no meal at the restaurant of a famous chef is complete without a picture with the chef! Fabio was visiting tables in the bar and dining room all night and before we left we asked if we could grab him for a quick hello. He graciously posed for a picture with me and my night was complete! Absolutely fantastic meal, we can’t wait to return!

Siena Tavern Chicago

 

Tuesday

20

November 2012

4

COMMENTS

GT Does Brunch

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants

Extra!  Extra! GT Fish & Oyster is now serving brunch!!

GT Fish & Oyster Does Brunch

Yes friends, you heard correctly.  As of this past Saturday, Giuseppe Tentori and crew at GT Fish & Oyster are now serving up brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and, as usual, it most definitely does not disappoint!

If you’re a regular follower of the blog, you may remember when I first visited GT Fish & Oyster with Mike back in August for my birthday.  I brought a friend along this time and I don’t think she knew what she was getting into when she agreed to join me on one of my foodie outings!

We started with drinks, obviously.  I tried both versions of their Bloody Mary-one with vodka and one with bourbon and she tried a Mimosa and a Bellini.  The Bellini was the stand-out, the hint of peach that wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet had us wishing we could drink these all day long!  The Bloody Marys were both great as well, I’m not a big fan of bourbon but this twist on the standard Bloody had me wondering if I had finally turned the bourbon corner.  When garnished with quail eggs, Neuske’s bacon, shrimp, and pickled vegetables…you really can’t go wrong!

GT Fish & Oyster Does Brunch

GT Fish & Oyster Does Brunch

Our server, Ray, was awesome-he dealt with our hungover Sunday afternoon antics, perfectly coursed out all the dishes we ordered, and his recommendation of the Chilaquiles was my favorite dish of the day!

If you’ve had lunch or dinner at GT, you know that the plates are smaller and you’re meant to order several and share.  The brunch portions were a bit larger, but we still ordered several because we (err, I) couldn’t decide!  We started with the Monkey Bread-warm, crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and topped with an orange cream cheese glaze-the perfect sweet start to our meal!

GT Fish & Oyster Does Brunch

Our next dish, the Smoked Whitefish Quiche, was my friend’s favorite dish and a close second for me-highly, highly recommend!  The smokey fish and the flaky crust were absolutely perfect!

GT Fish & Oyster Does Brunch

Next we had the Biscuits & Lobster Gravy…even more delicious than it sounds!  Big, tender chunks of lobster, tasty biscuits, and a perfectly poached egg…kind of crazy that this would come in as my 3rd favorite dish, just too many great things to choose from!

GT Fish & Oyster Does Brunch

Next up, fried pickles and my favorite dish of the day-the Chilaquiles with duck, salsa verde, queso fresco, and fried egg.  So flavorful, just the right amount of crispy, and the perfect fried egg on top.  The spices were spot on and you got a little kick at the end which sealed the deal for me!

GT Fish & Oyster Does Brunch

GT Fish & Oyster Does Brunch

For our final course we indulged in the priciest dish on a menu of incredibly reasonable offerings, the Steak & Eggs.  Again, perfectly cooked eggs paired with perfectly cooked beef tenderloin and crispy polenta with cheese sauce.  It was a great end to a delicious meal.

GT Fish & Oyster Does Brunch

The list of reasons to love GT Fish & Oyster just keeps growing, I’m looking forward to returning for brunch again very soon-Bellinis and Chilaquiles, please!

 

Friday

17

August 2012

4

COMMENTS

GT Fish & Oyster

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants

So this past Wednesday I turned the big 2-9.  For the first night of my last year in my twenties I chose to {finally} dine at GT Fish & Oyster in Chicago‘s River North neighborhood.  Weekend reservations are hard to come by so I figured that a Wednesday night outing would be perfect!

From the moment we walked in the door I knew I was going to love this place.  The decor is modern and stylish but it has a little east coast fish market flare.

As we approached our table I was excited to see a birthday card waiting there for me-last year we ate at Capital Grille and they did the same, I just think it is such a great personal touch when restaurants go even that extra little bit to make you feel special.  I was even MORE excited when I opened the card to find a $20 gift card inside to use on my next trip to the restaurant-as if I would need an excuse to return!

We ordered a couple fancy cocktails (which were excellent!) and started trying to decide what we wanted to order from a menu where everything sounded amazing.

Mike’s bourbon cocktail-the Old Money

Obviously with a name like GT Fish & Oyster, oysters are going to be a big part of the menu.  I’ve only had oysters once when we were in Scotland and I’m just not quite sure about them yet-I think I just need a little more oyster exposure!  I wanted to try them here, but there were so many other exciting things on the menu I decided I would save the oysters for my next trip.  After 10pm oysters are 1/2 off…so maybe I’ll make it a late dinner next time 🙂

All of the dishes on the menu are meant to be shared-some are smaller than others but our waiter recommended that we order 2-3 dishes per person and he let us know which items would be larger.  We ended up ordering 5 dishes-Baja Shrimp Bruschetta, Oyster Po’boy Sliders, Clam Chowder, Lobster Roll, and the GT “Mac and Cheese”.  We were also surprised with an order of Fish Tacos, courtesy of the chef for my birthday, and their Key Lime Pie for dessert.

Baja Shrimp Bruschetta-avocado, toasted pistachio, grapefruit, cilantro

Oyster Po’boy Sliders-kimchi,peanuts

Clam Chowder-Neuske’s bacon, house made oyster crackers

Fish Tacos-garlic marinade, chipotle aioli, chicharron

Lobster Roll-lobster salad, pickled vegetables, fried onions

GT “Mac and Cheese”-lobster, english peas

Key Lime Pie-deconstructed

Is your mouth watering yet??  Mine is just thinking about our delicious meal!  Everything was fantastic and both Mike and I agreed-everything just had such a great depth of flavor!  Both mine and Mike’s favorites were the Baja Shrimp Bruschetta, Clam Chowder, and the Oyster Po’boy Sliders (in order of favorites).

I don’t think I could have asked for a better birthday this year.  Mike and GT Fish & Oyster really know how to make a girl feel special 🙂  I’m already looking forward to our return visit!

 


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