Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Uni

The wild-caught uni at The Slanted Door in San Francisco.

Uni, or sea urchin, has typically been a staple on fine sushi menus, but it is fast becoming ubiquitous at restaurants serving all types of cuisines. Its rise in popularity, however, doesn’t mean it is beloved by all. In fact, uni can be downright divisive. Go ahead and ask your friends if they like uni. You’ll likely hear one of the following responses: “Love it!” or “Ugh!” or “Only if it’s fresh.” or “What *is* it?” That sums up much of what we heard when we asked the OpenTable Facebook community their opinions on uni. There are different grades of uni and a sole experience with a lesser grade could make you swear off the stuff forever; however, fresh (as in just-harvested from the sea urchin) uni is highly regarded by chefs and foodies alike and could make even the most cautious of diners into converts. Find out what your fellow OpenTable diners are saying about this rumored aphrodisiac in recent restaurant reviews.

* 15 East Restaurant, New York, New York: “The second course was the grilled gindara (koji sake-marinated black cod in uni sauce),  which was amazing!”

Arami, Chicago, Illinois: ” Don’t miss the uni shooters.”

Bestia, Los Angeles, California: “Outstanding meal. Diver scallops, veal tartare, calamari salad, and uni pasta were all unbelievably delicious. Making another reservation right now.”

* Chef Mavro, Honolulu, Hawaii: “Unbelievably food and wine pairings; appetizer was one of the best ever (basmati rice, raw ahi topped with uni sauce, and uni).”

JoLe, Calistoga, California: “Each dish had the right amount of flare and sauces to offset, complement, and highlight the flavor of the main ingredient. We chose the Kampachi with uni and olive tapenade, snapper with chilled mussels, the sweetbreads, and some veggies to share. All terrific.”

Kata Robata, Houston, Texas: “I would definitely come back for the live uni, ramen, and pork belly bun.”

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Best Dates for Foodies: HowAboutWe Reveals Dining + Drinking Habits of Daters

Pizza puts Atlanta foodies in the mood for dating. How about you?

They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I’d say that’s probably true of a woman, too. And, it’s been said that beer is the ultimate social lubricant. So, it’s no surprise that many dates involve food and drink. Curious about what food and drink is putting diners in the mood for romance? In honor of their 1,000,000th date, HowAboutWe, the offline dating site, has released data on the dining, drinking, and dating desires of their users in cities across the states. According to HowAbout We:

Atlanta: One-third of all date ideas in Atlanta involve grabbing a bite. Artisan pizza is a hot trend. Ice cream and burgers are also popular picks.

Austin: Food trucks are more popular in Austin than in any other city, accounting for 1 in 5 dining dates. A beer date is more likely to get a reply in Austin than other drinking dates.

Boston: Boston daters are three times more likely than average to suggest tapas on a first date. One in six beer dates in Boston specify craft beer—the highest in the U.S..

Chicago: One in 11 dining dates in Chicago is veggie-friendly, the third highest in the country. Blue Agave for tequila and tamales is the 5th most suggested date. Whiskey is four times more popular in Chicago than the national average.

Denver: Almost seven in 10 drinking dates in Denver suggest having a glass of wine. Tacos, pizza, and Italian fare are fashionable food picks.

Los Angeles: There are more breakfast dates in Los Angeles than in any other city. Whenever people talk about breakfast dates, I’m reminded of a scene from Sneakers in which a lovestruck man asks his date, “Would you like to have breakfast with me?” “Sure, fine,” she answers. “Shall I phone you or nudge you?” Also, wine is fine in LA; it’s the top drink choice for daters.

Minneapolis: The most popular cocktail in Minneapolis is a margarita.Italian, pizza and French fries are foodie-date faves.

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Restaurant Review Round-Up: Balena, Il Buco Alimentari, The Kitchen + More

Do you rely on professional restaurant reviews or do you prefer reviews from diners like you?

Recent reviews of OpenTable restaurants…

* Balena in Chicago, Illinois, by the Chicago Tribune.

* Capital Grille in Fort Worth, Texas, by Star-Telegram.

Florio in San Francisco, California, by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Il Buco Alimentari & Vinera in New York, New York, by the Insatiable Critic.

* The Jugged Hare in London, United Kingdom, by the Financial Times.

* The Kitchen in Denver, Colorado, by the Denver Post.

Villa Mayfair in Coconut Grove, Florida, by the Miami Herald.

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