Dining Room, Oyster Bar + Institution: Inside Shaw’s Crab House

Dining Room, Oyster Bar & Institution: Inside Shaw's Crab House

“Either you’re an oyster bar guest or a dining room guest,” says John Gurgone, General Manager at Shaw’s Crab House.

Shaw’s is the 31-year-old Chicago institution known for its simply steamed seafood, and as John points out, the restaurant offers two distinctive but equally iconic experiences. On one hand, there’s the dining room: 330 seats, white tablecloths, 17 servers at a given time, reservations strongly recommended. This is where tourists come in after architectural tours and where locals gather for business lunches or to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.

The oyster bar is a separate room entirely, with around 95 seats available exclusively for walk-ins — a mix of bar seats, high-tops, and casual wood tables. Oysters, predictably, are the main event: the centerpiece of the room is an oyster shucking station, where at any given time 12 varieties are served (six East Coast, six West Coast).

Otherwise, the menus are largely the same, but it’s the vibrant atmosphere that sets it apart: a live band plays jazz and blues music every Sunday through Thursday. Here’s how the two spaces work together. Continue Reading

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa on Fashionable Food, Paris + Yuzu

Nobu Matsuhisa

Last week the OpenTable team threw our third annual Champagne and sushi party at Matsuhisa during the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. We were honored to be joined by Nobu Matsuhisa himself, the renowned chef and international restaurateur behind more than 30 restaurants featuring his signature Japanese fusion cuisine.

We took the opportunity to ask Nobu all about his success, challenges, and what he’s learned along the way. Read on for his best advice.Continue Reading

Spring Soldiers: 11 Amazing Asparagus Dishes to Order Now

Asparagus might be the quintessential spring vegetable — and one of the earliest. Thick stalks or thin, asparagus makes an early appearance and is a perennial gift that keeps on giving to growers year after year. Succulent or tender and crisp, asparagus can play both supporting or starring roles, depending on the plate. Its versatility lies in its capacity for complementing a wide range of flavors, which is why you’ll find it featured in everything from salads and soup to pizza and sushi. Check out these amazing asparagus dishes to available right now at restaurants across the nation.

O Ku, Atlanta, Georgia
O Ku sushi offers traditional as well as modern and creative specialty rolls including some with seasonal ingredients such as the Lobster Temaki. Three buttered lobster hand rolls each come with a rainbow of green asparagus, finely shredded red beets, and a sprinkle of black volcano salt. Make a reservation at O Ku.

Asparagus Dishes

Indaco, Charleston, South Carolina
Easygoing asparagus also pairs particularly well with sweet creamy cheeses. Chef Kevin Getzewich of Charleston’s beloved rustic Italian eatery Indaco artfully arranges burrata with pickled strawberries, grilled and shaved asparagus, asparagus aioli, and a dusting of housemade granola. It’s a stunningly beautiful dish with modern Southern accents. Make a reservation at Indaco.

Asparagus dishes

Fig and Olive, West Hollywood, California
Inspired by the cuisine of the French Riviera, Fig and Olive adds asparagus to their spring menu in several different dishes. The Primavera Risotto made with Arborio rice features fresh green asparagus along with green peas, pea shoots, parmesan, garlic, and shallots. It’s fresh, healthful, and comforting all at the same time. Make a reservation at Fig and Olive.

Asparagus dishes

Volta, San Francisco, California
Chef Staffan Terje and Umberto Gibin’s latest restaurant features modern French and Scandinavian flavors and occasionally deconstructed classics. The Hearts of Palm & Asparagus Salad is a solid example; it’s a seasonal dish of smoked salmon with blood orange and fried shallot sauce vierge. Make a reservation at Volta.

Asparagus dishes

La Pecora Bianca, New York, New York
Recently opened La Pecora Bianca features wholesome seasonal dishes made from locally sourced ingredients including this very Italian-inspired vegetable dish. Fresh asparagus is served with watercress, soft-boiled egg, pine nuts, and lemon ($12). Make a reservation at La Pecora Bianca.

Asparagus dishes

Brezza Cucina, Atlanta, Georgia
Jonathan Waxman’s Brezza Cucina offers eggs for brunch, sometimes on pizza and sometimes with pasta. But a current favorite is the charcoal grilled fresh asparagus paired with fried eggs and smoked salmon and topped with salsa verde. It’s a fresher approach to breakfast than Eggs Benedict but strikes some of the same savory notes. The dish changes seasonally and sometimes includes prosciutto rather than smoked salmon. Make a reservation at Brezza Cucina.

Asparagus dishes

Yebo Beach Haus, Atlanta, Georgia
This hot new restaurant in Buckhead offers South African flavors with an American flair. Biltong, a type of dried cured beef (think jerky!) accents the Shaved Asparagus Salad with heirloom tomatoes, radish, and poached egg for a combination that’s at once herbal, juicy, snappy, and lush. Make a reservation at Yebo Beach Haus.

Asparagus dishesContinue Reading

Champagne + Sushi + Sommeliers: Oh, Matsuhisa!

What’s better than throwing one party at the Food + Wine Classic in Aspen? Throwing two parties, of course! On Saturday night, OpenTable joined with master sommelier Dustin Wilson (wine director at Eleven Madison Park and star of the documentary Somm), Eric Railsback (sommelier and co-owner of Les Marchands Wine Bar in Santa Barbara), and Carlos Solorzano-Smith (beverage director of Matsuhisa) at Nobu’s Matsuhisa Aspen for a Champagne and sushi soiree.

There was dancing (although, sadly, not a dance-off), a Champagne waterfall, and culinary luminaries including chefs Matt Acarino (SPQR), Maria Sinskey (Robert Sinskey Vineyards), Bobby Stuckey (Frasca Food and Wine), Alex Stupak (Empellon Taqueria), and Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger), Dana Cowin, Ray Isle, and Kate Krader from Food + Wine, actress Ali Larter, and restaurateur Danny Meyer and wine director John Ragan of the Union Square Hospitality Group, among others.

Eyeball all the action in the slideshow below, with photos by Katrina Smith of The Smith Design.