Saturday, June 24, 2006

The "new" 2 Chez

I had dinner at the "new" 2 Chez this past week.

One thing that I first noticed is that Todd has changed the colors of the restaurant. There are two different colors and they are a bit darker and muted than what was originally there. I gotta say it gives the place a warmer feeling.

On to the food. I started with the calamari. Unlike most Peoria restaurants where it is cut into rings, this is cut into strips. It had an obvious hand breaded appearance to it which was a bit heavier than most of the Peoria offerings but fairly light in texture. Has to be the best calamari I've had in Peoria. It came with a dipping sauce that resembled 1000 Island dressing. Tasted it once to see what it was, but why bother with it when the calamari are this good?

My main course was the Chicken Pancetta. Two chicken breasts topped with portabello mushroom slices and finely diced pancetta in a fairly dark cream sauce. I'm guessing that the color comes from deglazing the pan and the darkness that the "bello" gills impart. It came with choice of side which I chose garlic-herb mashed potatoes. The chicken was fork tender, the sauce flavorful, the potatoes were complimentary to the dish, but not as noteworthy as the chicken. I thought the sauce was a little salty, my DA thought it perfect, so I guess it a tossup. I did think it odd that they served the potatoes on a side dish instead of the main dinner plate, but no big deal. I had a late lunch so now I'm stuffed...no room for dessert.

Two items of note: if you went when Todd took over, there were quite a few pasta dishes on his menu. I think he got some "Rizzi knock-off" comments, has revised the whole menu and has removed most of the pasta. There is a duck dish that sounds fantastic. The next thing is Todd's wine pricing. Many kudos!!! I'm tired of seeing pricing in this town that I KNOW is hugely, in gross fashion, stealing from the customer. I've paid $32 in this town for a bottle of wine that costs $7 at UFS. I certainly do not have a problem with a place making a profit, but that is obscene, especially with some of the "wine service" (read joke) I received. Not at 2 Chez. While Todd doesn't have the greatest selection of wines by the glass, the price is more than reasonable. And the wines by the bottle, well, are cheap compared by Peoria's standards. In other words, you can afford to have two bottles of wine with dinner instead of one...or spend the money on an appetizer or dessert.

He has added jazz on Thursday night, is doing Osso Bucco every Wednesdays, rack of lamb on Thursdays and Prime Rib on Saturdays.

I'll definitely be back to 2 Chez. While it's a different style of food than what was under Chef Bill's regime, it's doing no dishonor to the name. Kudos, Todd!!

See you around the table.....

Monday, June 05, 2006

Chicago style

Huh? You ask? Chicago style what?

I've noticed several eateries of late in the greater Peoria area flaunting a "Chicago Style" menu, idea, food style, etc. Exactly, what is that? I know a Chicago style "dog" has more stuffed piled on it than most people would care to consume, but what about the rest of the menu, theme, etc?

Just curious if they have "Peoria Style" food in Chicago. Or is it that just podunk towns try to emulate big towns? So does that mean in Goofy Ridge they have Peoria style food? Which brings up a point. Is Peoria known for one specific food? Springfield has the Horseshoe (which to me is just a flippin' pain in the ass to eat, so all their braggin' doesn't impress me). Most joints in Peoria have some sort of catfish, usually fried, on their menu. And I don't know if we Peorians are "known" for it. Personally, I don't know if I'm going to admit I'm from a city whose claim to culinary fame is a bottom feeding river dweller that is usually so overly encrusted in breading or batter that it appears mummified.

So, I think I'm going to Kevin style me some dinner.

So, what does anyone think Peoria would be known for in the culinary world? PLEASE don't tell me Avanti Gondolas....I shall cast your vote aside.

See you around the table.....