Cure All: Top Restaurant Charcuterie Programs

Long before the widespread use of industrial chemical preservatives, butchers shops kept their meats from spoilage using a battery of techniques that not only preserved them, but greatly enhanced their flavors and textures. Today, OpenTable chefs have embraced these techniques by making their own bacon, sausages, pâtés, and more in-house. If you’re a fan of mortadella, head cheese, galantines, and terrines, book a table to sample the delicious creations from these top restaurant charcuterie programs.

Lusca, Atlanta, Georgia
Jonathan Sellitto serves as head butcher for this seafood-forward restaurant. After a stint working on a hog farm outside Siena, Italy, Sellitto returned to the U.S. to practice traditional Italian and French charcuterie. “One of the things I love about charcuterie is that it has stood the test of time,” says Sellitto. “Old world techniques are still relevant and have become a bit of a specialty art.”

His charcuterie board changes weekly, but is likely to have two cooked meats (e.g., terrines, pâtés) and two cured meats, served with house pickles and charred bread. He says diners have an increasingly greater appreciation for the whole animal and for Old World techniques for preserving meats. He’s also not a fan of shortcuts. “A proper terrine should take you three to four days,” says Sellitto. “If you rush the steps, it’s very noticeable.”

Top Restaurant Charcuterie

The Wharf Pub, Newport, Rhode Island
Executive Chef Scott Kirmil cures his own porchetta, pâtés, and terrines using grass-fed heritage pigs that he sources locally. “The difference in flavor and texture is huge when compared to the pork belly you can get from large food distributors.” Of course, it costs more, but Kirmil says it is well worth the expense. “We feel our charcuterie should be something that gives guests items they can’t just serve up at home without spending some serious time in the kitchen,” says Kirmil. The Wharf Pub makes as much of its menu as it possibly can — from bread to cured and ground meats — in-house.

Top Restaurant Charcuterie

Mandolin, Raleigh, North Carolina
Expect an enormous selection of house-cured and smoked meats, terrines, pâtés, and sausages. From smoked bacon and hams to pancetta, lambcetta, head cheese, bologna, mortadella, and soppressata, just to name a few. “Most meat-centric charcuterie is really just trying to bring out the layers of flavor already present in the meat by using traditional curing, smoking, and curing techniques,” says executive chef Sean Fowler. “Accordingly, we choose flavor components (herbs, spices, vegetables, fruit) that complement a particular protein.” And like many chefs with a passion for charcuterie, Fowler fashions himself a traditionalist. “Most of our methods and recipes are pretty classical,” he says. “We do play around a bit with some of the ingredients in our uncured sausages, incorporating things like pickled blueberries, sauerkraut powder, and black garlic. But really good meat and sound technique are the foundations of our program.”

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Last-Minute Thanksgiving Reservations: Deals + Offers

Last-Minute Thanksgiving Reservations

ICYMI, Thanksgiving is just days away. If it slipped your mind (or your stomach), fear not. There is availability at top restaurants in cities all across the nation. To wit, we’ve rounded up a variety of deals and offers in our last-minute Thanksgiving reservations guide for restaurants in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Read on and start booking!

A bit more: Le Bilboquet: With an all-day special menu, French favorite Le Bilboquet is open from 12PM-8PM and serving a 3-course meal at $65 per person and $25 for kids under 12.
A bit less: B’s Bistro: B’s is offering a traditional four-course turkey, ham or Scottish salmon Thanksgiving feast from 1PM-7PM. It’s just $34.95 plus tax and service, and $16.00 for the 12 and under crew.
A bit different: The SHED at Glenwood: Dig into an amazing Thanksgiving buffet with all the holiday classics! With seatings from noon to 7PM, it’s $50 for adults and $20 for kids 3-11.
Find more Thanksgiving restaurant reservations in Atlanta.

A bit more: Bar Boulud: Celebrate with friends and family while enjoying a three-course, prix-fixe Thanksgiving Day spread. Enjoy seasonal classics with a French twist, from 12PM-8PM for $85 apiece.
A bit less: Amuse: Chef Martin Quinn is creating a special three-course Thanksgiving prix-fixe menu for only $28 per person.
A bit different: Club Café: Do good while digging into the sumptuous buffet at Club Café. Served 11AM-4PM, it’s $29.95 per person and 10% of food sales will be donated to The Boston Living Center and the dollar donation will be matched by Mark West wines.
Find more Thanksgiving restaurant reservations in Boston.

A bit more: Cite: Feast with your family and friends on a hearty Thanksgiving brunch buffet on the 70th floor of the prestigious Lake Point Tower, from 10:30AM-2:30PM. Adults are $85 each, and kids eat for $38.
A bit less: Brasserie LM: Brasserie by LM will celebrate Thanksgiving with a $35 prix-fixe menu. Menu items include Roasted Chestnut Soup, Fried Ham Steak with bacon & Brussels sprout hash, and yummy Pumpkin Pie.
A bit different: Vermillion: Partake of the most unabashed innovative Thanksgiving feast that has earned raves from the Wall Street Journal, among others. The four-course global meal is big on herbs and spice with a Latin-Indian twist. Vegetarian options abound. $55 per person.
Find more Thanksgiving restaurant reservations in Chicago.

A bit more: Element 47: The three-course prix fixe Thanksgiving menu gets a luxe spin at Element. Book for the $99 per person experience with an optional $65 wine pairing.
A bit less: Hodson’s Bar and Grill-Southglenn: Enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner two ways — traditional with all the fixings for $17 or a smoked turkey with root vegetable gratin for $16. Both options are served all day, from 11AM-8PM.
A bit different: Kachina Southwestern Grill: Add a southwestern accent to your day with this family-style “Back to Our Roots” supper from 11AM-9PM. The four courses feature Achiote Turkey, Smoked Prime Rib, and traditional sides. $40 for adults and $15 for children.
Find more Thanksgiving restaurant reservations in the Denver area.

A bit more: Carbon Beach Club Restaurant at The Malibu Beach Inn: Surf into the holiday with a beachside Thanksgiving dinner. There are three courses for $ 85 per person with wine pairings available upon request.
A bit less: The Front Yard: You don’t have to stress about cooking this year if you hit up The Front Yard! Chef Chris is serving a save-ory menu at just $39 for adults and $18 kids 12 and under.
A bit different: The Hungry Cat: It’s tender vittles all the way with offerings that include deep-fried turkey, spiced cranberry, chorizo and oyster stuffing, potato puree and more, plus dessert.
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Hit It out of the Park: Where to Eat Before a Baseball Game #savortheroad

Oh, yes! Take me out to the ballgame, but, please, skip the peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Admittedly, stadium concessionaires have elevated baseball fare to baseball cuisine. Cuban pretzel dogs and ice-cold craft beer have replaced dirty water dogs and lukewarm draft beer. All good, but I would still prefer to be wined and dined (a bit) and eat a meal sitting at a table (I can forego white tablecloths!) rather than balanced on my lap. I love America’s pastime, and I love eating out. So, let’s make a night of it!

Whether you’re embarking on a summer road trip to make a pilgrimage to some of our national pastime’s sporty cathedrals or staying put to root for your home team, we’ve rounded up nine stadiums and scouted out some of the best spots to grab a bite before the umpire shouts “Play ball!” — or after the last pitch. Batter up! Here’s where to eat before a baseball game, from coast to coast.

Fenway Park is the home of the Boston Red Sox. This storied ballpark offers hungry die-hard Sox fans everything from soup to nuts, literally. Jerry Remy’s is the undisputed go-to spot either before or after a game at Fenway; owner Jerry Remy is a legendary Red Sox broadcaster and a living local treasure. The restaurant serves up comfort food with a modern flair and an enormous craft and micro-brewed beer selection. This is Red Sox Nation. Find other restaurants near Fenway Park. 

Blog BaseballEats1 Jerry Remys copyYankee Stadium, in the Bronx, is now across the street from the original “House That Ruth Built.” The new stadium, completed in 2009, is a state-of-the-art baseball venue. It features 25 concession stands, more than 100 moveable concessions, and three restaurants: NYY Steak, Hard Rock Café, and Audi Club. From dry-aged USDA Prime steaks to sports and music-themed burgers and performance-cooking stations, anyone can score delicious food at Yankee Stadium. Find other restaurants near Yankee Stadium.

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Oriole Park at Camden Yards in B’more is where the Baltimore Orioles play. Built in 1992, Camden Yards is just blocks from Baltimore’s picturesque Inner Harbor and is a destination for baseball and non-baseball fans alike. Located within the Orioles’ complex is Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant, named after the team’s beloved catcher, Rick Dempsey. Dempsey’s serves up classic pub fare: a variety of Maryland crab appetizers, hearty salads, fish tacos, beer-braised pork belly, beer-can chicken, and eight signature burgers, as well as local and regional bottled craft beers and four in-house brewed, baseball-themed beers. Dempsey’s is open not only on game days, but seven days a week, year round. Find other restaurants near Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Nationals Park hosts the Washington Nationals team. Situated along the Anacostia River in D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood, Nationals Park is best accessed by the city’s uber-efficient Metro system. Just east of the stadium is Yards Park and Agua 301, an authentic Mexican restaurant with a modern flair. Ceviche, soups, salads, empanadas, huaraches, and entrees that are both traditional and contemporary — and definitely not Tex-Mex. Dine al fresco along D.C.’s riverfront, and then stroll over to cheer on Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and company.

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Wrigley Field in Chicago is the beloved abode of the Chicago Cubs. Known for its ivy-covered, brick outfield walls, old-timey, hand-turned scoreboard, and red marquee, Wrigley Field is the place for Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. Directly across the street from the ballpark, in what is affectionately known as Wrigleyville, is Rockit Burger Bar. As one might expect, this is a burger joint — one with unexpected burgers. How about a mac & cheese attack, a huevos rancheros, or a venison foie gras burger? Find other restaurants near Wrigley Field.Continue Reading

Now Open: February Restaurant Week Reservations

February-RW-blogFebruary brings another month of dining for less in some of our favorite  destinations. Reservations fill up fast; consider yourselves warned!

* Hudson Restaurant Week has $13+ lunches and $25+ dinners through February 6. Reserve now.

* Napa Valley Restaurant Month invites you to sip, sup, and savor on $14-$30 lunches + $24-$50 dinners through February 28. Reserve now.

* Chicago Restaurant Week allows you to choose the finest of the Windy City with $22 lunches + $33/$44 dinners through February 12. Reserve now.

* Baltimore Restaurant Week serves up tasty three-course $15 lunches + $20 + $30 dinners, February 15-28. Reserve now.

* New York City Restaurant Week brings you the best of the boroughs with three-course $25 lunches + $38 dinners, February 16-March 6. Reserve now.

* 502 Restaurant Week comes to Louisville, Kentucky, with extra-special $50.20 dinners for one or two, February 18-March 4. Reserve now.

* Denver Restaurant Week wants to give your tastebuds a treat with $30 dinners at the Mile High City’s finest restaurants, February 20 to March 1. Reserve now.

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