Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Musicals...Chalet's...Fondue and Shrimp

Hello Friends!
I've had a lovely few good meals - and lucky you (or is it, lucky me?), I get to share it with you! <you know you love it...or you wouldn't be here!>

Well, how lovely could any meal start with a Blizzard called Nemo (??) coming to town?  Eh...it's just snow, right?  I mean, I grew up on Long Island and I've had monster snow storms, hurricanes, ice storms and all sorts of weather growing up... and at some point - things started to calm down...not so bad weather...not so cold winters...but these past few years our weather quirks are getting bigger and stronger... (OH, and yes...there is no global warming...<eye roll inserted here>). 

Either way, I wasn't sure if my Saturday plans would actually happen - due to Nemo.  A friend of mine was in a production of Hairspray at the Cultural Arts Playhouse in Roslyn Heights - so four good friends of mine and I decided to go and have dinner and see the show.  First, I'll say Madelin was so good in the show - (keeping in mind, I had never seen Hairspray before so I had no idea of the story line) Madelin played three different characters in the show, each and every one just as funny as the other.  Great Job girl!  I can't wait to see your next performance!

So in the planning of seeing the show, we decided to have dinner at the Roslyn Chalet ... neither of us had been there before, and after a quick look at their web site - we knew their menu would suit us all. 

So - here is my review of this restaurant!

We got there about 5 minutes prior to opening, and entered through the Tap room on the first floor - a very comfortable looking bar area that while empty when we first arrived, as we left it was filled with people you know were locals out to enjoy a pleasant evening.  The bar tender was (from our entrance to our exit) very friendly, helpful and pleasant to talk to.  He (and I didn't get his name as we didn't stay at the bar) was the kind of bartender who makes you want to go back just to have a conversation and a beer (or wine, in my case!).

We walked up the stairs to the second floor and found an amazingly comfortable, definitely romantic style restaurant...

The restaurant had several rooms (and yes, the other
rooms had chairs with backs on them!)

 We sat down to order in this room:

We sat in the far right corner, which had a view of the fireplace.
I will say, it was not an easy decision as to what to eat.  The menu is varied - alot of appetizers and a small list of entrees.  I opted for a few appetizers, rather than a entree.  To start, I ordered the Cheese fondue, served with seasoned bread, crackers and apples.  Simple enough, but delicious!  I forget sometimes how much I love fondue and yes, shame on me, I ate every drop of that luscious cheesy goodness!
The dunkers were plentiful (enough for two) but
the cheese was definitely only enough for one.

For my entree, I ordered two appetizers; first, the crab cakes  - a perfect size for an appetizer these little cakes were full of crab.  I was surprised that there wasn't much filler in there and the crust was perfectly crunchy.  Honestly, the aioli wasn't needed (or used) at all!
The second was a (what I thought would be a small side of the Mac and Cheese).  Two surprises on this one - first the special of the evening was Lobster Mac and Cheese - (so of course, I had to take it!) and look at the size!  It would have done well as a meal (which my friend Jenny got <sans the lobster>.  The lobster was fresh and sweet and the cheese sauce was perfect - not too cheesy so it didn't drown out the lobster flavor.

As an appetizer to her Mac and Cheese (and btw, hers was topped with Bacon - what could be better?!?!) Jenny ordered the Cigar Rolls, which was philo dough wrapped around Feta cheese and parsley... a unique take on Tiropita (a greek app similar to Spanakopita-sans the spinach!), which she said was great.  I didn't try it as I had my face in a bowl of fondue at this point!

Another dish I tasted was Lorie's entree of Lamb Chops (served with asparagus, but I didn't try them).  Lorie said the asparagus was perfectly cooked tender and well seasoned - they look delicious!

I had the pleasure of tasting the lamb...Oh, Delicious!!  The lamb was cooked to perfection and seasoned simply with salt, pepper and oregano.  The meat was so flavorful and tender - I was glad Lorie had enough to share wtih me! 

I didn't taste Alison's 20oz Ribeye, but it looks fabulous!

So, with going to a show - time didn't allow us to order dessert - though I'm not sure any of us would have had room to eat another bite!  I am looking forward to taking Dave back to this "perfect for a date night" place soon!

So let me tell you what I think:

Food: a very strong B.  Simple, delicious, flavorful and worth another trip back.

Service: B- We were the first there, so greeted promptly with food and drink orders taken promptly.  The food came out in a good pace... though I will say our server was nice, but very robotic.  Just there to do a job, and not very impressive.  The (-) is because it took a very long time for her to even look in our direction so we could ask for the check.  Not very attentive - but not bad enough that I wouldn't try it again.

Price:  mid range - the appetizers range from $7 - $16 and the entrees from $14 - $32. 

Now - Lets move on to why the chateau meal inspired a fantastic fondue appetizer*(see below) for dinner on Sunday! I'm not sure if you have noticed, but I do tend to side a bit more on the OCD side of things...so when I find something I like (or in this case, remember that I like it) I will tend to eat it a lot.  One day, I'll tell you about the time I ate various forms of Nachos every night for dinner for six months.  I Kid You Not.

Anyway, so in telling Dave about the delicious fondue from the night before, Dave suggested we make it as an appetizer to our dinner for Sunday.  Who am I to say no that?!?  I'll post the recipe here for you:  (Dave got this off of Epicurious, but we changed it up just a bit!)

Gruyère Fondue with Caramelized Shallots1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 6 ounces)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups (or more) dry white wine

14 ounces grated Gruyere cheese (about 3 1/2 cups packed)**
   **I used 3 1/2 cups of a mix of Gruyere, Fontina and Jarlsberg .. Perfect!
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
A large dash of dry mustard powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 sourdough baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes
A granny smith apple, cubed
Dried Figs (Dave's addition!)

I'll post the instructions as they are, but will ad my little notes for you... we did this no muss-no fuss!

Melt butter in heavy medium skillet (we used a sauce pan) over medium heat.
Add thinly sliced shallots and saute 3 minutes.
Reduce heat to low; sprinkle shallots with sugar, salt and pepper. Saute until shallots are caramelized, about 15 minutes.
Transfer shallots to small bowl.
Add 1 1/2 cups wine to skillet (sauce pan) and boil 1 minute.
Pour wine into heavy medium saucepan (see why I used a sauce pan - no transfer needed!); set over medium-low heat.
Toss cheese with flour in medium bowl to coat.
Add half of caramelized shallots to wine; add cheese mixture by handfuls, stirring until cheese melts and is smooth before adding more.
Thin with more wine if mixture is too thick. Season with nutmeg, mustard, salt and pepper.
Transfer cheese mixture to fondue pot (or leave in the sauce pan you made it in, as we did - less dishes to wash!). Set pot over candle or canned heat burner. (or if you don't eat it fast enough, just re-heat on the stove)
Top fondue with remaining caramelized shallots.
Serve with bread cubes. (and apples, and figs)

I have a fondue pot, with a little Sterno and all the little cups,
but I agreed with Dave - less dishes.  It may not be 'pretty',
but it was delicious!!
*Now, I * the 'appetizer' word above as this made a huge portion of fondue ... enough that Dave and I ate that for dinner and put our steaks back in the fridge!

And since we were on a roll with cooking at home - Monday, we tried a Shrimp recipe that Dave has had his eye on...and he cooked it!! =)  Dave loves the Create shows Cooks Country and America's Test Kitchen - and has wanted to try this recipe for a while now...and I am OH SO GLAD that he did!!

  • 4 slices of a country white bread torn into pieces
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup bottled clam juice (we didn't have clam juice, but a can of chopped clams...this held enough juice and heck...we threw the clams in too!)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 scallions, chopped fine (Didn't have - so we used a shallot, minced)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated zest and 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds colossal shrimp, peeled and deveined (colossal are also known as U12's - we used U-8's as our fish store didn't have the 12's)
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and put your oven rack in the middle. Pulse bread in food processor to coarse crumbs - put onto a high sided pan and bake until golden and dry, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. Remove crumbs from oven and reduce temperature to 275 degrees.
  • 2. Combine toasted bread crumbs, mayonnaise, clam juice, parsley, shallots, garlic, lemon zest and juice, mustard, cayenne, and ¼ teaspoon salt in large bowl.
  • 3. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season with salt. Grease empty broiler pan bottom. Butterfly the shrimp (cutting it nearly through, but not all the way so it flattens out) and then cut hole through center of each shrimp(about 1") and arrange cut-side down on prepared pan.
  • 4. Divide bread crumb mixture among shrimp, pressing to adhere. Bake until shrimp are opaque, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • 5. Remove shrimp from oven and heat broiler. Broil shrimp until crumbs are deep golden brown and crispy, 1 to 3 minutes. Serve.
Dave, prepping the shrimp

Oven Ready!

All done ... and Dave removed his before he remembered
I wanted a picture!
Let me tell you guys .. I squirted a bit of lemon on mine and ate two of these very large shrimp... I wanted to go back for a third, but we paired these beauties with roasted brussel sprouts - so I was hitting maximum density!  And as you know me... I was glad to have a few extra shrimp to have for breakfast this morning!!

Try these dishes, kids.  They are so very well worth it - flavorful, delicious...surprisingly light and stupidly easy!

My next post.... White Castle Valentines Day.   No, you didn't read incorrectly... Stay Tuned! =)

And maybe a bit from West Virginia, where I'll be this weekend to visit my baby sister on the horse farm! (oh, can you imagine the tails? or is it tales? lol)

Until Next Time...

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