ryanm | Chicago Reader

Recent Reviews

Re: “Heaven on Seven

This place has too small of portions, overpriced for what you receive, and the food isn't really Cajun/Creole. It's more of a trendy Cajun/Hot sauce emporium, loaded for the tourists e.g. Jerk chicken etoufee-what the hell is that all about?!).

My gumbo rated average to poor. The andouille was questionable. Not much chicken in there, either. My coworkers food also wasn't very authentic. One of them ordered BBQ shrimp. I know what BBQ shrimp is (the buttery indulgence that'll kill ya), and this stuff was DEFINETLY NOT the real deal. My other coworker had a decent looking chicken po' boy, but it was way too small.

No complimentary bread, either. Geez, this place is just trying to make a buck off the uninformed diners and the tourists.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, if you truly desire real Cajun food, try Crawdaddy Bayou in Wheeling. If it's Creole authenticity you crave, you MUST get to the Maple Tree Inn in Blue Island. The city of Chicago's Cajun/Creole joints that I've hit just can't deliver, and Heaven on Seven is no exception. Too bad.

Posted by Ryan Morrison on 06/21/2001 at 2:23 PM

Re: “Emilio's Sol y Nieve

For the uninitiated, paella is a fantastic rice entree that combines many ingredients, including a wonderful assortment of vegetables (peas, tomato, peppers, onions) to seafood and other meats (chicken and pork).

We chose the "Paella de Mariscos", which was an outstanding seafood paella. Everything was cooked to absolute perfection, from the lobster to the scallops, seasoned well, served at a nice warm temperature, and easy on the eyes. The saffron rice used in the mix was equally cooked right.

The host was friendly, the waitstaff were quick on the water refills, and the decor was splendid, especially the huge wall mural (with spotlighted moon effect).

It was a quiet Wednesday lunch crowd (not very many people), and it was very relaxing.

Viva Emilios!

Posted by Ryan Morrison on 06/13/2001 at 5:00 PM

Re: “Angelina Ristorante

Quaint, unpretentious little Italian gem in Wrigleyville. The cozy atmposphere coupled with good Italian fare make for a good evening out.

I tried the Capellini Gambera. It's a basic angel hair pasta dish, with red and green peppers, capers, and shrimp. I also had shredded mozzerella over it. Accompanied by a good glass of Italian Chardonnay, this was a good hearty meal on a cold evening.

I would recommend this place to my friends, but for weekday dining, because I understand that it can be crowded on the weekends. The prices were also quite reasonable, with entress ranging from $9 to $19.

Posted by Ryan Morrison on 11/30/2000 at 1:11 PM

I'm not sure if this is typical of other Outback Steakhouses around the area, but the one in Orland Park is a goldmine for its owners. My girlfriend and I have tried since Christmas time to dine here (I won a gift certificate through work) on several occassions, and the wait each time was average of 30 minutes-much too long for our patience! So, we decided to go on an "off" night (Wednesday, 6:00). Well, we still waited for about 15 minutes, but they had a good bar (with good cold beer!), and once we were seated, we had a pleasant meal.

The first portion to arrive was our salads. She had the house salad and I had a small caesar (very good). Secondly, the lobster tails that I had were done just right, with a good butter sauce for dipping, and the sauteed veggies were tasty. My girlfriend's entree consisted of a 12 oz. Prime Rib cut (I tasted it-very good), and she had "Aussie Chips" (well-done, seasoned fries).

Overall, it was a good dining experience. I was happily surprised in the price of the entrees (although this meal was the result of a gift), and I would certainly pay the money for a good meal at The Outback, but most definetly on and "off" night again.

Posted by Ryan Morrison on 03/16/2000 at 11:57 AM

Re: “Maple Tree Inn

I've lived in the Chicagoland area for 20 years (teenage years in South suburbs, a few post-collegiate years in DuPage county, and the last couple of years in Lakeview), and I've explored most of the Cajun-Creole restaurants in the area. The Maple Tree Inn is hands-down the most authentic, best-serving restaurant of the style.

The building that houses the "Tree" is an old two-flat(ish) brick structure dating back about 120 years. It resides on Old Western Ave (in the 13300 block SOUTH). It has a great varanda which overlooks a bridge, the Calumet-Sag Channel, and a set of railroad tracks. In the summertime particularly, dining out on the varanda is a great experience, taking in the summer air, watching a train occasionally grind past, or watching a barge mosey down the Channel. It gives one the sense of dining in the Old South, on a warm and lazy evening.

The food here is the closest you'll get to the real cuisine of New Orleans and Acadia (the Cajun-bayou areas of southern Louisiana). Sample the Sea Scallops in Brie sauce, or the barbeque shrimp for absolute gastronomic delights! You can't go wrong with the Maple Tree Inn.

13 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ryan Morrison on 03/13/2000 at 2:47 PM

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