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.

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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.

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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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Go Fish: Restaurants That Cook Your Catch

Blog BahrsLandingFluke copyIf you are like my husband, the perfect summer day is one spent on the open water fishing. This works out just fine when we are home — we have a boat. He can fish to his heart’s content, come home, and fillet his catch and cook it up. Easy peasy and delicious.

So, what is the avid angler to do when he or she goes on vacation and wants to savor the spoils of the day? Coastal marinas are chock full of charter fishing boats that will take you out to the local hot spot and let you fish away. Each captain sets his own terms; some are strictly catch-and-release, some charters retain the keepers, and others, if you are lucky, will scale, gut, and fillet your fish, and give it back to you. Now what? We found a number of restaurants that cook your catch. If you’re fishing in other destinations, ask the charter captain who can accommodate you. They are in-the-know locals who will not only put you on the best fishing locations offshore but will also steer you to the best kitchens, often a stone’s throw from the marina.

Bahr’s Landing, in Highlands, New Jersey, is a Jersey shore landmark. Run by the same family since 1917, Bahr’s has been a destination for generations of seafood lovers, including the likes of Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio, Mel Torme, and even the cast and crew of HBO’s The Sopranos (Tony once suggested to a depressed Carmella, “Come on, we’ll go down to Bahr’s and get some lobsters.”). Known for the freshest clams, oysters, lobsters, finfish, and chowders, Bahr’s also operates a full-service marina. Eager anglers can jump on any of a number of six-passenger charters or board their own 40-passenger boat for a half day of fishing.

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Catch a keeper striped bass, bluefish, fluke, sea bass, or cod, and the mates will fillet it and get it to the kitchen where the chef will prepare it to your liking. Owner Jay Cosgrove tells us that deep-fried fish-and-chips style is the most popular, served with “our famous coleslaw, fries, and cocktail sauce.” While you are waiting, he advises, “Grab a cup of our chowder and a cold beer.” With a per person price of $8.95 at their outdoor Moby’s Lobster Deck (a bit more in the restaurant), “Bahr’s is the best way to experience a day of fishing on the Jersey coast,” according to Cosgrove. I am almost tempted to test out my sea legs!Continue Reading

Stoic & Genuine Opens in Denver’s Historic Union Station: No Ocean, No Worries

Denver’s famous Union Station has gotten a much-needed renovation, and, along with stunning stores and a swank new hotel, some of the city’s best restaurateurs are setting up shop in the station, including Beth Gruitch and business partner and James Beard Award winner Jennifer Jasinski. The pair, who also operate Bistro Vendome, Euclid Hall, and Rioja, have opened Stoic & Genuine, a multi-coastal seafood and oyster house. Featuring fresh seafood that is flown in daily, as well as oysters harvested exclusively for the eatery, an amazing wine and craft beer program, an array of grower’s Champagne, and a unique granita bar, Stoic & Genuine is named for Jasinki’s husband Max (stoic) and executive chef Jorel Pierce (genuine), and they aim to deliver food and hospitality that reflects those principles.

The selection of granitas are meant to complement both seafood dishes, such as oysters, and a number of cocktails. Gruitch revealed that the concept for the granita offerings came about at Jasinki’s wedding a couple of years ago. She says, “We’ve taken it one step further, by presenting both savory and sweet options. The flavors are incredibly intense — plus, it keeps your drink cold so its perfect.” Her current favorites include the Sherry Amontillado (“Sherry and oysters are a perfect match!”) and the strawberry Champagne granita. “We simply top it with more bubbles,” she notes, “and it’s a really nice alternative to a mimosa or a Bellini.”

In a nod to Denver’s sporty, health-conscious foodies, Stoic & Genuine‘s menu is a real reflection of how Gruitch and Jasinski like to eat. Gruitch says, “I love the simplicity of it. It’s refreshing and all the flavors are there. Jen’s cooking is really light, yet there’s a ton of flavor there.”

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OpenTable Reviews Reveal Top 100 Scenic View Restaurants — with Exclusive Slideshow!

At the height of summer vacation season, we are pleased to announce the 2013 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Scenic View 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.

The list of winners spans 29 states and includes Canlis in Seattle, Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck in Dallas, and Top of the Hub in Boston.  The picturesque state of California makes a strong showing with 22 honorees. Washington follows with seven top scenic restaurants, trailed by Maryland, Nevada, and New York, with six winners each. Oregon restaurants claim five spots on the list, and Massachusetts and North Carolina have each earned four spots apiece. Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania all boast three winners. Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin each have two winning restaurants. Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Utah are also represented. Eateries specializing in American fare, including Californian and Pacific Northwest regional, proved particularly popular, as did seafood restaurants.

 

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