I consider myself an “equal opportunity foodie.” In other words, I am happy to try almost any type of new food. Of course, when I was invited to the preview of Huntsville Restaurant Week, I couldn’t say, “Yes!” fast enough. Happening during a ten day period from August 11th through August 20th, over 60 restaurants will be participating, along with several Craft Breweries. We were lucky enough to sample six of the restaurants. On Tuesday I shared my thoughts on the New Orleans Lunchbox, Rocket City Tavern, and Rocket City Brewing Company. Today I have three more “off the beaten path” restaurants that are well worth a look.
Huntsville Restaurant Week 2017
1. Yoshi Sushi Fusion– I’m always ready to try sushi, so when I saw we would be visiting Yoshi Sushi Fusion, I was excited. Several members of our group who live in Huntsville had visited before and raved about the dishes. “But be warned,” they said. “You don’t get wasabi or soy sauce. It’s classic sushi.” I had also learned that this restaurant was located in a suburb a little outside of the downtown area so I planned extra drive time in case I got lost as I did on the way to New Orleans Lunchbox.
The restaurant itself has a contemporary atmosphere, with a clean design and low lighting. If you prefer a classic Asian experience, there are two rooms where you can be seated on the floor and eat off a low table. We chose the traditional American dining experience of chairs and booths. Our choice of Restaurant Week specials was Omakase Nigiri or Hibachi Bento, available in Chicken, Shrimp, Steak or Salmon. We weren’t sure what “Omakase” meant, so we looked it up. Basically, it means “Chef’s Choice.” Almost our entire party decided to go with this choice.
Our order began with a side of Roasted Brussel Sprouts prepared with a glaze of lemongrass, lemon juice, and salt. (A side dish is $5.00) We exclaimed over these goodies as we tried to determine how to eat them with chopsticks, the only provided utensils. Our Omakase Nigiri arrived quickly and consisted of five different pieces of Sushi, arranged from light to dark. Our server patiently explained the characteristics of each piece before we began to eat. I never thought I liked lemongrass until I tried my second piece of Sushi prepared with a touch of lemongrass. All I can say is, “Lemongrass! I think I love you!”
Dessert was Salted Caramel Gelato, brought to the table in pretty covered dishes. We exclaimed over the presentation, prompting one member of our party to say, “I think I want all my desserts to be served in covered dishes all this!” To tell you how good this was, I had planned to eat one or two bites of my dessert. Instead, I ate the entire serving and wished I had more. The gelato is very rich so a small serving will be enough for most people.
2. Nick’s Ristorante— “This restaurant is located in a strip mall,” I was told. “But it is actually fine dining. You don’t expect to see a restaurant like this where it is located.” And, they were right. Billed as an “Italian Restaurant offering fine dining,” Nick’s was voted “Best Steak” in North Alabama by Alabama Cattleman’s Association. We were given the choice to order off the menu so we could have the total experience. I chose the small Filet Mignon, priced at $34. Each entree came with a side (I chose a baked potato with butter and sour cream), fresh baked garlic-infused Italian bread, and a house salad, listed on the menu as the Insalata Ducasa.
The house salad could have been a meal in itself. It featured a wedge of crisp iceberg lettuce, purple onions, cherry tomatoes, bacon bits, olives, and feta cheese. I loved how the ingredients were separated on the plate, allowing me to mix and match to my own taste buds. When my steak arrived, I was pleased to see it was cooked to perfection. As I said earlier, I like rare steaks and many establishments do not prepare them correctly. We offered to share bites of our meal with each other and one of the ladies exclaimed, “Oh my gosh! That steak is so good!”
Never one to pass up a good dessert, I chose the Bailey’s Creme Brulee, a classic creme brulee with a touch of spirits. Although I was too full to take more than a couple of bites, I really wanted to finish it! I also sampled a bite of Mom’s Baked Alaska, a Spumoni pie topped with meringue and then set ablaze at the table. (In case you are wondering what Spumoni is, it’s like a classic Neopolitan ice cream with added fruit.) It makes a fascinating presentation and the entire restaurant stared at us as we all gathered around to make pictures. See the joys of being a food and travel blogger?
3. The Social At Athletic Club Alabama– Who knew you could find upscale dining at a tennis club? That’s the case at The Social at Athletic Club Alabama! You don’t have to be a member of the Athletic Club to dine at the Social and it’s strictly come as you are. You can hold a business meal in your suit or be just as comfortable straight off the tennis court. The restaurant is small and intimate, decorated with a contemporary feel. However, there’s a large space across the hall and a breezy balcony with heaters for the winter. There’s also a massive event space for wedding receptions, charity dinners and more.
We tried the Restaurant Week Lunch Special consisting of a choice of 5 different entrees. Included in the meal is one salad from a choice of three, and one side for $15. A dinner special will be offered as well and includes the lunch special plus a choice of three desserts; vanilla & cinnamon creme brulee, blueberry & white chocolate cheesecake or ganache & mousse chocolate cake.
Most of the menu is seasonal, changing quarterly depending on what is fresh and available, although a few favorites, like the BLT Twist stays on the menu year round. As well it should because the bite I took of this sandwich is delicious! I started my meal with the ACA Salad, a blend of fresh greens, grilled apples, toasted pine nuts, craisins, and bell chevre topped with a maple and raisin vinaigrette. It was delicious and we all exclaimed over the cute little iron dishes in which our salads were served. For my main course, I chose the French Quarter Shrimp pasta, which is also available with gluten free pasta. It was a slightly spicy blend of pappardelle, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, spinach, shrimp and a creole cream sauce. The portion was large enough for me to share with several people at the table. It was tasty, but next time I will definitely have the BLT Twist. Who can resist a BLT with fried mozzarella, pecan smoked bacon and chipotle mayonnaise?
Have I made you hungry yet? If so, you can find all the participating restaurants and their specials here. Let me know which restaurant you like best!
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