We were overjoyed when we were asked to participate in the Blogger’s Preview of Huntsville’s Restaurant Week 2017! This is the 6th year anniversary of this 10 day event which features 60 of Huntsville’s wonderful restaurants. This event will take place August 11th-20th and you will not want to miss out on this experience. Also, for the first time there will be 5 breweries participating and with our local craft beer scene, that is a huge plus!
Our preview began on a Friday starting with lunch at New Orleans Lunch Box. Now this may come as a shock to hear but this great little find is in none other than a convenience store. But don’t let that fool you about the food that is served here. There is not much room for parking and upon entering you see why with all the patrons sitting around enjoying their plates of wonderful Cajun food.
Owner, Roland Lowrey, came over to greet all of us and he gave us the history of New Orleans Lunchbox and how it came to be. Born and raised in Louisiana, Roland moved to Huntsville and catered for years before opening up his establishment in 2010. He believes in only serving the freshest ingredients and that shows in the dishes that he serves.
We were able to try some of the items he will be showcasing during restaurant week which is the Sampler Plate, consisting of Red Beans and Rice served with a Sausage of your choice (Spicy, Smoked, and Andouille) along with 2 Sides (Shrimp Etouffee, Gumbo, and jambalaya) and Toasted Baguette with a dessert of Whiskey Bread Pudding. You can just taste that the beans have cooked all day long as they are so tender and seasoned to perfection.
James had the spicy sausage and I had the andouille and both were superb! I opted for the shrimp etouffee and jambalaya and could not have been more pleased. James had the shrimp etouffee as well but he also had the gumbo which was fantastic!
The bread pudding was a total treat as it was rich and decadent with hints of whiskey coming through. It was the perfect way to end our delicious Cajun experience. This place may not be all frills but it is definitely full flavor and well worth a try! Tell Roland we said hi and ask him to bring you some of his spicy crackers that are a real taste treat!
Friday Night’s dinner was at Rocket City Tavern. We were already fans of RCT so when we saw we would be dining there, we were thrilled! Again we were served the dishes that will be showcased during restaurant week. Our first course was Pasta in Brodo which was this rich chicken broth with orecchiette pasta and italian parmesan cheese on top. It was so soothing and delicious and it was a great way to kick start our tastebuds for what was to come next.
We were brought out what can only be described as a bouquet of freshness. It was a Chopped Vegetable Salad full of fresh summer vegetables, mizuna greens with a sherry vinaigrette and it was so flavorful and delicious with the pops of fresh, sweet corn and crunch from the celery, carrots and peppers. We all could not stop raving about this salad even into the next day. It definitely stood out as a crowd favorite!
For the Entrees we were able to sample all 3 dishes that will be offered which are the Tuscan Roasted Chicken, Pan Seared Filet of Salmon and Ancho Espresso Crusted New York Strip Steak. Chef Northern knocked it out of the park on all three of the dishes.
The Chicken was so moist and the herbs could be tasted throughout and the roasted vegetables were cooked to perfection! I especially loved the carrots….DELICIOUS!
The salmon was seared and had a good crust but was so flaky and delicate inside and the salsa was a wonderful accompaniment. The sauteed green beans, and fingerling potatoes were the perfect balance with the fish.
The steak was phenomenal and was cooked just right. It had a nice sear on the outside from the espresso crust and then a warm, pink center. It was so moist and juicy and the sauteed spinach, garlic roasted mushrooms, and merlot demi-glace set it off!
Dessert was equally impressive as we were served the Rocket Warm Butter Cake. OH MY WORD!!!! This was so heavenly! It has this nice little crunch on the outside but inside it was so warm and buttery and had a drizzle of white chocolate, raspberry sauce and whipped cream along with a few raspberries. Let me just say that it was to die for! I am certain things like this are served in heaven! They also have a beautiful bar at Rocket City Tavern that has an extensive list of wines, liquors, and craft beer. To read more about RCT, check out our blog post by CLICKING HERE.
Our taste tour for Saturday began at Yoshi Sushi Fusion. If you are a sushi lover and want some of the freshest sushi around then you will definitely want to make this place one of your stops during this week. This place might be in a strip mall but I can assure you that it is not your typical sushi restaurant.
Yoshi Sushi Fusion has some very unique and cutting edge techniques that you will not find anywhere else. We had been here one other time before and had one of the most interesting and tasteful sushi experiences we have ever had but that’s an entirely different post for GeekOutHuntsville.com. Check it out by CLICKING HERE! For restaurant week, Yoshi Sushi Fusion will offer a lunch special consisting of two entree choices, the 5 Piece Omakase Nigiri or the Hibachi Bento (Chicken/Shrimp/Steak/Salmon).
Because there are two of us we always try and each order something different. I ordered the Nigiri and James had the Bento. Before our entree arrived we were served roasted brussel sprouts which were just like eating a delicious candy. For the Nigiri, there was 5 different pieces of sushi each with their own unique twist and flavor and they all were so fantastically delicious. You could definitely tell that this was extremely fresh as our waiter explained that the fish is flown in as soon as it is caught so they are able to offer the freshest sushi possible. It was so good, I just wished there could have been more!
Their Bento Box was equally delicious with plump shrimp, stir-fried vegetables, and rice and this selection even came with a spring roll and mixed fruit. We enjoyed both the sushi and the bento box so much! To finish off our lunch we were served Salted Caramel Gelato and what a treat that was! The presentation alone was very unique but the gelato was delicious and interesting with both creamy and crunchy elements. If Japanese food is something you enjoy then you must make a visit to Yoshi Sushi Fusion.
Our dinner stop was at Nick’s Ristorante. When I heard that this too was in a strip mall, if I am to be honest, then I have to tell you that it did cross my mind about how good it could possibly be. I can unequivocally say that I was completely blown away with the food here. Upon entering, it appears to be a fine, up-scale Italian restaurant with fine linens and place settings fit for a royalty. And I might add that we did have one of our very own local bureaucrats, Mayor Tommy Battle, who was dining here so that has got to tell you something about this place.
This was the one place that we were told we could order whatever we liked from the menu. Nick knew we were coming and he wanted us to be able to review his entire menu. That was such a hard choice too as he has a most impressive menu. Lots of wonderful appetizers, fresh fish, classic Italian favorites and mouthwatering steaks. Yes, I said steaks. Who knew that one of the finest steaks in Huntsville was served at an Italian restaurant?
After much consideration, and several pieces of their garlic infused bread, I finally decided to get the Pasta Nicky which was linguine and scallops (or shrimp) sauteed in white wine sauce with tomatoes, oregano, and thyme. It is served with a salad which was brought out first.
I opted for the Insalata Spinato which was spinach, bacon, purple onion, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, olives and balsamic vinaigrette. This can be served cold or warm and I ordered mine warm. This salad was so wonderful with the wilted spinach and onions, and how the bacon paired so well with the bite of the olives and feta.
My pasta arrived and it was cooked perfectly al dente and the scallops were so buttery delicious! This dish was as beautiful as it was delectable. James ordered the Bone-In Ribeye because we kept seeing so many around us order a steak so he figured it must be good and oh my goodness, was it ever!!
It came with one side and a salad choice and he chose the Insalata Dicasa which was a wedge salad with purple onions, cherry tomatoes, bacon and feta and it was so crisp and fresh.
The side he chose to go with his bone-in ribeye was garlic mashed potatoes and trust me when I say that they tasted like heaven with the steak, The steak was so tender it could have been cut with just a fork. No wonder Nick’s steaks were voted as Best Steak in North Alabama by the Alabama Cattleman’s Association. I can certainly see why!
We both ordered a different dessert. I chose the Mom’s Baked Alaska and James got the Brownie AlCapone. Both were so rich and delicious and I cannot think of a better way to end such an amazing meal! I am not sure yet what Nick’s will offer during restaurant week but I assure you it will be nothing short of spectacular!
By Sunday we felt like we had eaten enough for the whole city of Huntsville but we had one last stop on our food tour. If you are from Huntsville then I am sure you all remember HAC (Huntsville Athletic Club) but it is now called ACA (Athletic Club of Alabama) and it has a beautiful lounge that serves up some most delicious food.
Who knew that you could get a great cocktail much less a unique and delicious meal at an athletic club but I am here to tell you that at this place, you can! I ordered a Bloody Mary and it was so zingy and delicious and then we had a few options that we chose from a list of great fare that they plan to serve during restaurant week.
We were able to select a salad and an entree and we each ordered something completely different. For our salad, we chose the Southwest Chopped Salad and the Caesar Salad. Both very good, but the real treats came when our entrees arrived. I ordered the BLT Twist which was this fantastic sandwich of fried mozzarella, beefsteak tomatoes, pecan smoked bacon, butter lettuce, chipotle mayonnaise, served on wheatberry bread. This was such a great twist on the classic but amped up in a most fantastic way. It was served with french fries that were cooked to perfection.
James selected the Baja Tempura Mahi Tacos. Wow! They were fantastic! I can honestly say that the tacos there can easily be considered as one of my top five favorite tacos in Huntsville. Soft flour tortillas, tempura battered Mahi Mahi, butter lettuce, pico de gallo, feta cheese with avocado and ginger ranch. I am not sure what one component made these little yummy bites such a hit with me but all I know is that I will be craving them again soon!
The tacos are also served with roasted brussel sprouts too which is another of my favorites. This place is unique in that it is not only a health club but it is also a great place to get some amazing food!
We could not have had a more enjoyable experience with this food tour. We made new blogger friends but we also gained a few new restaurants that we will be frequenting. Although we did not get to try all of the participating restaurants, we hope to hit a few more during restaurant week and I hope we can also meet a few of you too! If you see us out please come say hello and let us know what places you have tried and some you think we should try too. We would like to also personally thank all of the restaurants who hosted us and showed us such a wonderful time! You all rock and we thoroughly enjoyed your unique and wonderful dishes.
To Pam Williams, Kristen Pepper and the Huntsville-Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you both and we cannot thank you enough for allowing us to be a part of showcasing some of the wonderful restaurants that our great city has to offer! Check them out at Huntsville.org and ihearthsv.com.
Also, check out the blog posts by the other bloggers invited to the Huntsville Restaurant Week Preview and see what they had to say about the restaurant scene in Huntsville:
Until next time y’all!