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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Well Done: The Best Steakhouse Sides You Need to Try

National Steakhouse Month isn’t just about the meats (and the subsequent meat sweats). Juicy cuts may get all the glory, but steakhouses from coast to coast have been beefing up their menus with a variety of stellar sides that may have you re-evaluating ordering the same old porterhouse. From poutine tater tots to lobster mac ‘n’ cheese with a bacon crust, here are some of the best steakhouse sides that eat like a meal and others sure to complement your Father’s Day dinner perfectly — or just make a great bar snack.

David Burke Kitchen-The Garden, New York, New York
From housemade ricotta with pickled strawberries and crostini to foie gras and duck pate with fried dates, black pepper, port jelly and grilled bread, David Burke’s sides and “Table Shares” are just as inventive as the space — a horticulturist’s haven with an outdoor bar and garden seating for 130 in the heart of the city. But there is no side more universally appealing than the candied bacon — thick-cut slabs sliced in-house and slowly baked with constant basting. The result is a layering of spicy, smoky, and sweet flavors and a melt-in-your-mouth texture, served just as whimsically as the surroundings: hanging on a clothesline with a rosemary branch below so herbal aromas enhance the dish. Make a reservation at David Burke Kitchen-The Garden.

The best steakhouse sides

Roka Akor, Scottsdale, Arizona
It’s all about seasonality and spice at Roka Akor, where chef Ce Bian is known for bringing the heat — quite literally. The Japanese steakhouse prepares proteins on a 12-foot robata grill using mesquite charcoal and almond wood at temperatures of up to 1,900 degrees and serves them up with sides of Japanese-inspired marinades and sauces. Sides change seasonally, but one of Bian’s faves is the sweet corn with butter and soy, inspired by a farm supplier’s visit to the Scottsdale location (Roka Akor has other locations in San Francisco, Chicago, and Skokie, Illinois). “As we were preparing dozens of side dishes to put on the menu, we found that this grilled side dish is just simply amazing. Corn is sweet, so we add a little acid in the form of ponzu, which lends a bit of citrus and a little richness from the butter,” he explains. “We top it off with Japanese seven spices to make a balanced side dish.” The corn is such a hit some guests even stop by to order a few cobs with a beer in the bar, he says. Make a reservation at Roka Akor.

The Best Steakhouse Sides

Prime & Provisions, Chicago, Illinois
Owner David Rekhson says quality and seasonality are the hallmarks of Prime & Provisions. “We’re the only all-natural, no hormones, no antibiotics sourcing natural, organic, and local in Chicago,” he says. But when it comes to the roasted purple cauliflower with pistachio and parmesan, it’s all about the three C’s: color, cream, and crunch. The popular side makes its way to most tables at this new Loop hotspot and is also sourced with organic produce and dairy. Like your sides extra smoky? Prime & Provisions features a secluded area mean for cigar lovers with a choice of a dozen stogies. Make a reservation at Prime & Provisions.

The Best Steakhouse Sides

The Palm, Boston, Massachusetts
It may be lobster season at The Palm, but forget the shells — their new popular side of Nova Scotia lobster mac ‘n’ cheese features ziti instead, topped with an indulgent bacon crust. The view of the sexy Seaport District from the newly renovated patio is enough to inspire an order alone, but the topping really pushes it over the edge of buzzworthiness, and it’s already one of the top sellers on The Palm’s seasonal three-course Summer Lobster Menu for 2 for You. Chef Karen Mitchell says she “encourages guests to expect the unexpected,” and the mac ‘n’ cheese “truly surprises and delights, reinventing the comfort-food staple and elevating the fresh flavors of The Palm’s signature lobster. It’s not something you’d expect on a steakhouse menu, so guests are really excited.” The limited-time addition to The Palm’s steak and Italian lineup is also part of a seasonal entertainment series, including Friday night music trivia on the patio with a chance to win gift cards to try some other signature sides, such as asparagus fritti with lemon garlic butter and goat cheese whipped potatoes. Make a reservation at The Palm.

The Best Steakhouse Sides

Swift & Sons, Chicago, Illinois
Creamed spinach may be a standard on most steakhouse menus, but that doesn’t mean his version has to be standard says Swift & Sons chef Chris Pandel. “We are not reinventing the wheel; rather, we’re trying to make the best wheel we can,” he said. “Creamed spinach is a must have for a steakhouse experience, but we wanted to make sure the spinach didn’t get lost among the rich sauce that accompanies it.” Shocking and blanching the leaves and leaving the greens intact and combining them with vin blanc and roasted mushrooms with porcini aioli and croutons makes for a multi-textured side that’s bright, firm, and still maintains the original flavor of the veg without being a watery snooze. Make a reservation at Swift & Sons.

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11 Epic Steaks Worthy of the World’s Greatest Fathers

June holds two events that are near and dear to our hearts — National Steakhouse Month and Father’s Day. Coincidence? We think not. So, this Father’s Day, ditch the boring ties and cufflinks and the cheesy #1 Dad coffee mug in favor of a memorable steak dinner, which is a win-win for you. Especially if you order bigger-than-big cuts, which are sure to impress upon your pa just how much you love, respect, and admire him. Here are 11 epic steaks worthy of the world’s greatest fathers.

Meat Market, Miami Beach, Florida 
Quickly seared to create a slightly caramelized crust, a few strokes of the knife reveal a bright red center (don’t you dare order this steak cooked greater than medium rare!). The 30-ounce Wagyu tomahawk steak sourced from Down Under goes well with any of the housemade butters, including lobster butter and chili mole butter. Or you can opt for one of the sauces, like atomic horseradish truffle or Jack Daniels pasilla chili garlic. Make a reservation at Meat Market.

Epic Steaks

Charlie Palmer Steak, New York, New York
Dry aged for 40 days, the porterhouse for two is a beautiful behemoth. Take it to even grander heights by topping it off with sautéed foie gras, half a lobster tail, or king crab. A side of truffled mac ‘n’ cheese wouldn’t be out of order either. Make a reservation at Charlie Palmer Steak.

Epic Steaks

Bourbon Steak, Washington, D.C.
Michael Mina’s restaurant decided to take its name literally by pairing its two namesakes. Executive chef Joe Palma offers a trio of dry-aged steaks sourced from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley: an 18-ounce bone-in New York Strip, a 28-ounce bone-in rib-eye, and a 40-ounce bone-in tomahawk. The colossal cuts come with your choice of rare bourbons, such as 17-year-old Eagle Rare, 20-year-old Orphan Barrel Barterhouse, and 23-year-old Elijah Craig. Sounds like a match made in heaven. Make a reservation at Bourbon Steak.

Epic Steaks

Prime Italian, Miami Beach, Florida
Clocking in at 48 ounces, the porterhouse is intended for two – though you can share it with a third wheel tagging along if you’re feeling generous. Order it with your choice of chapeaux (literally French for “hats,” which is to say toppings), such as lobster or foie gras, as well as your choice of sauces, including horseradish cream, chimichurri, and peppercorn. Make a reservation at Prime Italian.

Epic Steaks

Cook Hall, Dallas, Texas
Don your ten-gallon hat and slip on your spurs before you order the supersized, spice rubbed cowboy ribeye. It arrives with smoked baked beans, collard greens, and a tangle of fried onion ribbons. Yee-haw! Make a reservation at Cook Hall.

Epic Steaks

RPM Steak, Chicago, Illinois
You have to prep you belly and your budget before you order this steak. Clocking in at an impressive 42 ounces (otherwise known as three frickin’ pounds), the Wagyu tomahawk costs $195 (otherwise known as a small car payment). The kitchen recommends it with jumbo asparagus, hen of the woods mushrooms, and the Millionaire’s Potato, which heavily features black truffles, of course. Make a reservation at RPM Steak.

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7 of the Best Prix-Fixe Menus in Boston

Let’s be honest; there are prix fixes, and then there are prix fixes — the multi-course meals to remember that really are a steal. The ones for which you pay less but still enjoy an experience that tastes like a million bucks. Whether you’re headed to Boston or you live local, here are nine of the best prix-fixe menus in Boston (including one just north of the city) where you’ll find prix fixe lunches, brunches, and dinners that also show off the chef’s culinary chops.

Bar Boulud, Boston, Massachusetts
The menu at Bar Boulud in the Mandarin Oriental hotel is French-inspired with seasonal New England dishes, too, and then there’s that’s wine cellar (think Burgundy and Rhone Valley). Come for the Bouchon dinner prepared by chef de cuisine Jonathan Kilroy — you’ll choose two courses for $36 (add an additional course for $6 for more bang for your euros.) Featured appetizers include Celery Root Veloute (lardo vinaigrette, pickled shallots, and celery leaves) and Pâté de Campagne (country pate, wild mushrooms, and sourdough toast). Featured main courses like Coq au Vin Traditionnel (red wine-braised chicken, bacon lardon, and pearl onions), and Fish and Chips (beer-battered local haddock, hand-cut French fries, English peas, and tartar sauce) are solid options. For dessert, pastry chef Robert Differ’s Gateau Basque (traditional Basque custard cake, brandied cherries, and vanilla anglaise) is a trip to Paris without the jet lag. Make a reservation at Bar Boulud.

Best Prix-Fixe Menus in Boston

Davio’s, Boston, Massachusetts
A power prix-fixe lunch is served Monday through Friday “for the busy young professional.” You’ll get an appetizer, an entrée, and dessert for $22. Highlights include Grilled Petite Ribeye (with Parmigiano potato puffs, pepata sauce) and Seared Haddock, Cauliflower (with golden raisins, peppadews, and toasted pine nuts), and, for dessert, Davio’s homemade cookies and gelato. Perfect for the power hungry. Make a reservation at Davio’s.

Best Prix-Fixe Menus in Boston

Gaslight, Boston, Massachusetts
Start the day with savings with the prix-fixe brunch special at the South End Parisian-style bistro that is Gaslight. Served from 9AM to 3PM on Saturdays and 9AM to 11AM on Sundays. What you’ll get: fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, coffee or tea, Julia Child’s Spiced Shortbread with raspberry jam, and a choice of Vanilla French Toast (with sautéed apples and sweetened fromage blanc), Omelette Lyonnaise (with gruyere cheese, potatoes, and caramelized onions), Scrambled Eggs Forestiere (with roasted mushrooms and Boucheron cheese) or Omelette Florentine (with garlic spinach and French feta cheese). And, it’s all for just $11.95. Make a reservation at Gaslight.

Best Prix-Fixe menus in Boston

The Elephant Walk, Boston, Massachusetts
Hurry up and make a reservation for lunch on Thursday or Friday at this South End French and Cambodian-inspired restaurant. The prix-fixe Fast Lunch is promised to be served in half an hour and features a two-course tasting menu for $15. Expect items like Poulet a la Citronnelle (available vegan with organic tofu) and a Braised Duck Sandwich. This is fast food redefined. Make a reservation at The Elephant Walk.

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