Calling All Chefs: Top Chef Season 12 Auditions in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles + NYC

TCNOLASeason 11 of Top Chef just wrapped (Congrats, Nicholas Elmi!), but we’re already looking forward to the next mouthwatering competition. If you’ve always aspired to compete on the show that has helped usher in the next generation of America’s best chefs, come on down! Casting calls for season 12 of Top Chef are being held in cities across the U.S. This is the ideal opportunity to get in front of the folks who have had a hand in furthering the cooking careers of dozens of Top Chef winners and cheftestants.

Auditions begin TODAY in Atlanta and Dallas and head to other cities in the coming weeks. The current schedule is:

* ATLANTA: February 18 10AM-1PM, at The Spence, 75 Fifth Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia.

* CHICAGO: February 24, 10AM-1PM, at Spiaggia, 980 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.

* DALLAS: February 18, 10AM-1PM, at Hotel Palomar Dallas, 5300 East Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas.

Continue Reading

On Our Plate: Top Tables with a View; Boston + Washington, DC Restaurant Week Reservations; Snap Better Foodspotting Pics + More

DCRWHappenings on and around OpenTable…

* Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Diners’ Choice Awards for Top 100 Scenic View Restaurants. Find out which restaurants have heart-stopping views and mouthwatering dishes.

* Are you a Foodspotter? Use these insider tips from Luke McKinley of Ravish to make your pics look even more delish!

* New York City Restaurant Week continues. Three-course $25 lunches and $38 dinners through August 16.

* Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week is on like Tron. Take advantage of $35 dinners for one or two through August 25.

* Dining out in the Big Easy is even easier with COOLINARY New Orleans. Enjoy 2 or 3-course lunches for $20 or less and 3-course dinners for $35 or less through August 31.

* Houston Restaurant Weeks continue! Enjoy $20 + $35 brunches, $20 lunches, and $35 + $45 dinners through September 2.

* Spice up your summer with Miami Spice. Order up special $19 or $23 lunches and $33 or $39 dinners through September 30.

* Baltimore County Restaurant Week starts TOMORROW! Get charmed by $15.13-$30.13 lunches and $15.13-$35.13 dinners through August 25.

Continue Reading

Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Tartare

tartareThe very best steak tartare I ever ate almost had too much of everything — spice, salt, lemon. Almost. And, yet, it was perfection, coming right up to the line without crossing it. Indeed, if you like your beef wriggling and raw, as Gollum would say, and well seasoned, then tartare is the perfect dish for you. Most aficionados understand that it is a dish that can go very, very right — or very, er, not so right. Fortunately, OpenTable diners are encountering absolutely sublime versions of this raw delight. While versions of steak tartare date back to the beginning of the 20th century, my copy of Larousse Gastronomique from 1961 has a recipe for a very contemporary take on tartare. Find out what your fellow eaters are saying about this fresh meat treat. 

Auberge du Pommier, Toronto, Ontario: “The most memorable and tasty meal I have enjoyed in a while…foie gras, frogs’ legs, steak tartare, squab…all were terrific.”

* Belly and Trumpet, Dallas, Texas: “The antelope heart tartare was very good.”

Central 214, Dallas, Texas: “We sampled several appetizers/small plates to start, including steak tartare, melon salad, and scotch egg. But the tartare was perfect; I’d have been happy with an entree sized portion.”

Crush, Seattle, Washington: “All of our courses were delicious and inventive, although I’d say my carrot soup was the best and my husband would say his beef tartare was the best.”

Eleven Madison Park, New York, New York: “Especially liked the tableside take on steak tartare that was made with carrots and the duck.”

Fig & Olive-Melrose Place, West Hollywood, California: “Our favorite dish was the beef tartare, unique with its delicious olives blended with the meat. We both said we’d be back for that dish again.”

Gentleman Farmer, New York, New York: “Every dish we had was a culinary slay. I highly recommend the bison tartare and the filet mignon with foie gras. ”

Gordon Ramsay Steak, Las Vegas, Nevada: “The steak tartare was delicious with a great smoke flavor smoked right under a glass dome at the table.”

Le Patriarche, Quebec, Quebec: “Many aspects of our meal were outstanding, but the trilogy of young buffalo (tartare, carpaccio, and terrine) narrowly beat out the lamb as the best dish of the night.”

Continue Reading

Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Burrata

[singlepic id=133 w=400 h=320 float=right]Depending on your age, the very first time you try burrata, you may experience anger. That sounds crazy, but hear me out. You see, unless you’re trying it as a child, your love-at-first-bite sentiments of delight could quickly give way to bitterness, a bitterness born of the fact that for however many years you’ve been eating quality cheese, you have *not* been eating beautiful burrata. Before you despair entirely, however, know that it is burrata season, and you’ve got ample opportunities to make up for lost time. I describe burrata as the lovechild of just-pulled mozzarella and fresh ricotta — which isn’t entirely accurate, but it gives the unchristened a general idea of what I’m getting at when my ‘Trust me!’ isn’t cutting it. More precisely, burrata is freshly pulled buffalo or cow milk curd shaped into a purse of sorts and then filled with cream and curd. There are many ways to enjoy it, from being paired with oysters to a simple presentation of crusty bread and a drizzle of quality olive oil. Burrata’s name comes from the Italian word imburrato, which means ‘buttered’ — and once you sample this rich, simple cheese, you’ll understand the connection. Find out what your fellow OpenTable diners are saying about burrata in recent restaurant reviews!

360 Bistro, Nashville, Tennessee: “Our daughter thought her dish was the best of all — Italian burrata & Alto Adige speck with zucchini ribbons, truffle oil, and Tennessee dark honey on toasted baguette.”

* A Bellagio, Campbell, California: “If you like cured meat and excellent burrata, then this is the place for you! Burrata is a must! It is so creamy.”

Annabelle’s Bar & Bistro, San Francisco, California: “Loved the arancini — savory little rice balls filled with burrata.”

Acqua Al 2, Washington, D.C.: “The special appetizer was a super fresh burrata and apricots.”

Brunello Trattoria, Culver City, California: “We started with the arugula salad with burrata cheese and hearts of palm, which was excellent.  Exactly what I was craving.”

Chez Soi, Manhattan Beach, California: “Mad props to the chef at Chez Soi! He chooses his ingredients carefully and really lets each one shine in the dishes he prepares. The smoked and grilled peach that accompanies the gorgeous burrata, for example, added a lovely twist to an already lovely plate.”

Circa 1922, Wilmington, North Carolina: “The burrata with heirloom tomatoes was outstanding — so good we both wish we had ordered two instead of sharing. The waiter’s suggestion of pairing it with a tapas plate of speck made it even more spectacular.”

Cotogna, San Francisco, California: “To a first timer, I recommend anything with burrata cheese because they do it better than anyone else.” Continue Reading