Trending on Restaurant Reviews: Gumbo

gumbo-blogHappy Fat Tuesday, foodies! It’s the most delicious day of the year in New Orleans — and anywhere that embraces the spirit of Mardi Gras. Naturally, we’ve got NOLA’s best-known dishes on our minds, from crawfish étouffée and jambalaya to beignets and king cakes — and, of course, gumbo. Gumbo is one of those dishes about which everyone and their Cajun or Creole grandmother seems to have a strong (and often differing) opinion. This iconic stew takes its name from kingombo, the African word for okra, a once-paramount ingredient in gumbo. The foundation of a great gumbo is its roux, a blend of fat and flour that is cooked to a smoky, rich brown. Seafood, andouille, duck, and chicken are common ingredients used to round out this deeply satisfying dish. Find out what diners are saying about the gumbo they’ve been sampling at OpenTable restaurants recently. You may be surprised to find that you don’t need to travel to the Big Easy to experience authenticity. 

Atchafalaya, New Orleans, Louisiana: “We were very tired. And hungry. Three parades in one day is probably too much for people travelling with infant twins and another child. We were sans kids for the first time in about a week just for dinner. The staff was very kind to us and rushed us some complimentary gumbo. It was about the best dark roux gumbo I have ever had and really hit the spot.”

Cajun Pacific, San Francisco, California: “I am of Cajun descent, so I am picky and know what gumbo is. I had a bowl of the chicken and andouille version and was not disappointed. The wine list is short but well chosen and reasonable. Having passed the gumbo test (Most places don’t even know the difference between a gumbo and a creole dish), I will be back for something more substantial.”

* Cedar Creek, Glen Cove, New York: “Finding a good Cajun entree on the north shore is harder that finding an actual Cajun! Wasn’t expecting amazing gumbo, but that’s what I got!”

* The Chew Chew, Riverside, Illinois: “One of the many nice things about the Chew Chew is the special menu and theme party offered during Mardi Gras. The restaurant is bedecked with beads, the staff dons masks, and on certain nights a costumed fortune teller visits patrons’ tables. We sip a Sazerac and wander through a small tasting plate of oysters, a cup of spicy (yet beautifully balanced) gumbo, a delightfully moist blackened redfish, and a trio of warm beignets dusted with powdered sugar and artfully poised in a swirl of raspberry coulis.”

Devon Seafood Grill, Hershey, Pennsylvania: “My husband always orders the gumbo, which he says is as good as down south.”

Hammocks Trading Company, Sandy Springs, Georgia: “My order was six delicious, filling grilled oysters stuffed with crab, cheese, and jalapeno. Oh my! Followed this with fried green tomatoes and their fabulous seafood gumbo with the thickest, darkest roux, six nicely sized shrimp plus crabmeat you could see and taste — my favorite dish.”

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OpenTable Reviews Reveal Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants!

Root-Vegetable-SaladlowJust in time for fabulous fall dining, we are pleased to announce the 2013 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants in the United States. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

With gifted chefs and inventive menus, the list of winners spans 26 states and includes Beast in Portland, Oregon, Moto in Chicago, and Vedge in Philadelphia. California accounts for 20 honorees, followed by Pennsylvania with 10 winners and Illinois with nine. Oregon and Washington restaurants each boast seven standouts apiece. Arizona, New York, and Texas all claim five winners. Colorado and Maine earned four spots, while both Minnesota and North Carolina have three. Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, and Missouri each have two winning restaurants. Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia restaurants are also represented. Restaurants serving American fare, including Californian, Northwest, and Southern, proved most popular; other notable cuisines on the list include French, Italian, Japanese, and vegetarian.

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Everything But the Grill: Fourth of July Restaurant Dishes Help You Declare Your Independence

Tomorrow is Independence Day in the U.S. Fireworks aren’t the only fourth of July tradition. There are a whole host of dishes and ingredients that have come to define the holiday. And, thanks to the pros, you don’t have to prepare them yourself! There are plenty of restaurants open for business on the Fourth of July. And, many serve up delightful versions of the foods that we associate so closely with this national holiday. Whet your appetite with some of our favorites, courtesy of Foodspotting, and then book a reservation!

Lobster Roll

Todd English P.U.B. prepared this delish take on the traditional lobster roll.

Strawberry Shortcake

This simple dessert gets a regal update, courtesy of Gramercy Tavern in New York City.

Watermelon Gazpacho

Keep your cool with watermelon gazpacho, such as this bowl of refreshing goodness served up by The Spence in Atlanta.

Grilled Steak

No one is saying you can’t grill, but can you grill a hangar steak like the pros at Tilth in Seattle?

Burger

The Black Label Burger by  Minetta Tavern in Manhattan.
Accept no substitutes.

Housemade Hot Dog

Cooking hot dogs is easy, but making them like the chefs at Absinthe Brasserie in San Francisco? Not so much.

Grilled Corn

The chefs at Miss Lily’s in NYC kick up grilled corn with jerk mayo and toasted coconut.

Blueberry Pie

Blueberries realize their full flavor potential in this icebox blueberry pie from Hungry Mother in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

 

Enter the ‘Nobody Makes It Like Mom’ Mother’s Day Twitter Giveaway!

Nobody-Makes-It-Like-Mom
For many foodies, mom will always be their top chef.

It may be your mother’s mac and cheese. Or her Sunday gravy and meatballs. Perhaps it’s her chicken empanadas. Whatever the dish, many folks have a favorite meal that mom made best. In honor of mom and her culinary gifts, we’re giving away five $200 gift cards, May 6-10, 2013. To enter for a chance to win, follow @OpenTable on Twitter, tweet us the dish that nobody makes as great as mom — and then name a restaurant that serves the next best thing. For example:

* ‘#Nobodymakesitlikemom @OpenTable but @Craft_NewYork roasted chicken comes close.’
* ‘#Nobodymakesitlikemom @OpenTable but @ArtisanalBistro mac and cheese is pretty great.’
* ‘#Nobodymakesitlikemom @OpenTable but @DelPosto lasagne is my 2nd favorite’
* ‘#Nobodymakesitlikemom @OpenTable but @suenoschelsea tortilla soup is amazing.’

Be sure to use @OpenTable and #nobodymakesitlikemom in your tweet!

One entry per person per day, please.  For full rules and regulations, see below.Continue Reading