Cheers to Shrimp Cocktail: 12 Takes on the Classic

Ah, the iconic shrimp cocktail. Especially popular in the 19th-century, one theory has it that the dish was served in a cocktail glass because of the ban on alcoholic drinks during the 1920’s Prohibition. Like Prohibition, the days of limp shrimp with a side glop of ketchup and a few tears of tasteless iceberg lettuce are long past. Today, the dish, which typically stars on appetizer menus, has evolved to eye-candy shrimp cocktails with sassy sauces and whimsical presentations. Here are 12 creative takes on shrimp cocktail that would make Forest Gump’s’ Bubba especially proud.

St. Elmo Steak House, Indianapolis, Indiana
Funny for a restaurant located in a landlocked state that it’s the shrimp cocktail that put this steakhouse on the map — in fact, it is the only appetizer on the menu. “People come from all over the world to have the shrimp cocktail,” says a restaurant spokeswoman. Named The World Famous St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail, it stars four jumbo shrimp served with the restaurant’s spicy, signature cocktail sauce. The local restaurant, which opened in 1902, shares its secret for what makes its shrimp cocktail so sought-after — pssst, it’s the shaved-daily horseradish (the restaurant typically goes through 5,760 pounds of horseradish a year, or 15 to 20 pounds per day). In fact, the shrimp cocktail has been deemed one of the world’s spiciest dishes. Pssst — another secret, you can now buy a bottle of the sassy sauce for bloodies at home. Make a reservation at St. Elmo Steak House.

shrimp cocktail

Legal Harborside-Floor 2, Boston, Massachusetts
Time to chill. Legal Seafood’s flagship restaurant presents its Shrimp Cocktail in a hollow ice globe. A hole is poked in the orb so the succulent shellfish can be placed inside. The sphere eventually melts, of course — all good things must come to an end, after all. Make a reservation at Legal Harborside-Floor 2.

shrimp cocktail

Todd English’s bluezoo, Orlando, Florida
Todd English’s bluezoo at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel doesn’t Mickey Mouse around. The Shrimp Cocktail Steamroller is a “deconstructed shrimp cocktail served in a glass tube that is consumed by creating a vacuum with your hand and sucking the contents into your mouth.” Note: The dish isn’t on the current menu but it is offered at the hotel’s annual food and wine festival and will likely be offered on an upcoming menu, according to a spokesperson for the restaurant. Make a reservation at Todd English’s bluezoo.

shrimpo cocktail

Coasterra, San Diego, California
Order the Cóctel de Camarón and you’ll get a California twist on the classic Mexican shrimp cocktail — fresh Mexican white shrimp tossed with avocado, chopped romaine lettuce, and housemade Baja sangrita. The dish is served in a tumbler with a guajillo chile salt rim and accented with corn tortillas and cilantro garnish. Make a reservation at Coasterra.

shrimp cocktail

Herons, Cary, North Carolina
Chef Steven Greene serves an elevated shrimp cocktail designed with chilled shrimp, mango salad, mint, and mango chili sauce. Greene sources shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico, which are quickly poached in a court bouillon (broth of mirepoix, lemon, white wine, and bay leaf.) The mango salad is a mix of diced mango tossed with picked mint leaves, picked basil leaf, cilantro, lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, and scallion. And the mango chili sauce is a bewitching blend of mango puree and a Thai chili sauce. Make a reservation at Herons.

Shrimp Cocktail

Angle-Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, Palm Beach, Florida
Josh Thomsen, the executive chef of this five-star diamond resort restaurant, along with chef du cuisine Manlee Siu present a Poached Wild Florida Shrimp Cocktail on the menu, which stars lemon caviar, beet, and horseradish sauce. First, the shrimp is butterflied and gently poached in shrimp stock. Next, the shrimp are chilled, sliced, and topped with faux lemon caviar and garnished with a tomato-free beet ketchup-horseradish sauce. Make a reservation at Angle-Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa.

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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.

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Summer 2013 Restaurant Weeks: Indianapolis, Minneapolis, San Jose, LA, Atlanta + More

Atlanta-Downtown-Restaurant-Week-2013If you’re a foodie, summer is probably your favorite season, not just because of the arrival of sumptuous summer produce on restaurant menus. Summer restaurant weeks are akin to the food Olympics for avid eaters. We’ve rounded up those you can enjoy — or at least reserve — right now. Check back for MANY more restaurant weeks to be announced around the U.S. and Canada, so you can plan to save at home and on vacation this summer!

* Palm Springs Desert Resort Restaurant Week continues. Reserve to enjoy special $26 or $38 dinners, May 31-June 16.

* Dine About Town San Francisco is on. Book now for $18.95 two-course lunches and $36.95 three-course dinners, June 1-15.

* Portland Restaurant Month is in full swing. Make a reservation for three-course gourmet meals for just $29, June 1-30.

* Taste Around Town by bottlenotes is happening in Chicago. Delight in a selection of featured wines paired with courses or in tasting flights at participating restaurants, June 3-14.

* Taste Around Town by bottlenotes is happening in Washington, D.C., too. Sip a selection of featured wines paired with courses or in tasting flights at participating restaurants, June 3-14.

* Indianapolis Chow Down Midtown has arrived. Check out special three-course, prix-fixe meals at participating restaurants, June 10-23.

* Coral Gables Restaurant Week has begun. Take advantage of special $17-$29 lunches and $17-$49 dinners, June 10-30Continue Reading

Dining with the Stars: DC’s Cafe Milano Hosts the Obamas; Cooper + Lawrence at Katsuya in LA; Parks + Rec Films at St. Elmo’s Steak House in IN + More

If Newt Gingrich is lucky, Ron Swanson will be sitting at his table at St. Elmo’s Steak House.

Recent celebrity sightings at OpenTable restaurants…

* Jake Gyllenhaal and Susan Sarandon dined separately at ABC Kitchen in Manhattan. [NY Post]

* Twilighter Ashley Greene helped fete the opening of Andrea’s in Las Vegas. [Just Jared Jr.]

* Ryan Seacrest left the west coast for the best coast, dining at Bill’s in midtown Manhattan. [NY Daily News]

* Political reporters Dana Bash, Kelly O’Donnell, and Brianna Keilar ate at BLT Steak in Washington, D.C., as did Meet the Press host David Gregory. [TheHill.com]

* Funnyman Jimmy Fallon had a meal at Blue Water Grill in the Big Apple. [NY Post]

* American Idol judge Nicki Minaj was spotted stepping out at BOA Steakhouse in Beverly Hills. [Just Jared]

* President Obama helped First Lady Michelle celebrate her birthday at Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C. [The Miami Herald]

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