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Restaurants & Bars 2

Galena, Ill.

Greg | Oct 19, 200311:58 PM

Had a great meal Saturday night in Galena at Perry Street Brasserie.

It's been open about five years. Chef has lived in the Caribbean and in the Middle East ... it's evident in his meals.

Place is unimpressive from the outside, nicely decorated on the inside. Very small -- seats about 35 at 12-14 tables. Reservations were very much necessary this past weekend, but this was an extremely busy weekend for Galena (every hotel and B&B room was booked).

There were four appetizers on the menu (escargot, smoked salmon, filo and artichoke hummus) - all about $7.95. We got a tasting platter of appetizers ($15.95)and it included all of the above except the escargot in addition to sashimi tuna and breaded oysters.
My wife is not big into smoked fish, but she loved the smoked salmon and really liked the tuna, which had some type of teriyaki flavor to it.
Neither of us cared for the filo.
Oyster was excellent. Hummus included large chunks of artichoke heart.

We both chose the soup over the salad. Soup is always veal consomme with wild mushrooms. Had not had anything like this before, but it grew on me and by the end of the cup I wanted more. Mushrooms in my cup were far too large and the soup was definitely too hot.

Wife chose a special that the chef regularly prepares. He calls is St. Lucia ($27.95). It was lobster, shrimp and scallops in a yellow curry sauce over couscous. I thought the spice was fine; wife thought it too spicy, but she still enjoyed it and said she would order it again. I sampled (wife got full) everything but the scallops. Shrimp were too hard for my taste. Lobster was outstanding.

I had the petite tenderloin with a red wine reduction sauce (medium rare) along with two crab cakes topped with "spicy cilanto salsa." There was also a good-sized pile of five-grain wild rice.
I hated the rice; it was extremely bland and somewhat mushy. The crab cakes were very tasty and perfectly cooked. I removed the salsa, which was nothing like I expected. I hoped for a salsa of cilanto, onions and tomato with a little jalapeno. What I got somewhat resembled the bad salsa that comes with Mexican TV dinners. Back to the crab cake: soft and moist on the inside with a nice crunch to the exterior. Most definitely would get these again.
My tenderloin was terrific. The reduction sauce was just enough for flavor and didn't overpower the meat. The tenderloin was cooked absolutely right on. I couldn't have been much happier. Oh, my meal was $24.95, I think.

Dessert. Ah, the dessert. The waitress very much enjoyed teasing us with the dessert plate though she knew we were stuffed. All looked excellent, but we went with the chef's signature chocolate dessert -- and felt it for hours afterward!

He makes a bowl out of solid chocolate (using a balloon) and fills it with two ganaches, dark chocolate and milk chocolate. That's topped with fresh whipped cream and drizzled with a bit of chocolate syrup. He decorates it with his trademark butterfly made of chocolate. The whole thing sits in a pool of rasberry puree. It was probably enough for four people. To put it simply, it was TREMENDOUS! And it cost $7.95. Raspberry and chocolate are meant for each other!!

Our trip also included lunch at Vinny Vanucci's. I would recommend it. Nothing was spectacular, but everything was good. Wife enjoyed her cheese raviolis with marinara sauce and she really liked the salad. I thought the salad dressing a bit bland, but I did enjoy my angel hair pasta with marinara and a spicy Italian sausage. The sausage was too spicy (and I like spicy food) and I would probably opt for a meatball next time.

Sunday we lunched at the new Irish pub at Frank O'Dowd's Irish Cottage on the east side of town. Sharp looking new facility that opened in July. Our waiter said the bar, tables, chairs, etc. and the library were built in Ireland, disassembled and rebuilt (by the Irishmen) in Galena.
Food was OK. A little too Americanized. I had fish-and-chips ($8.95). Batter was very crispy and tasty, but a little on the greasy side. Fish was a bit dry.
Wife had potato leek soup ($4.95). Very runny -- maybe that's normal? -- and was served luke warm. She seemed to like the taste, however.
Guinness ($5.50) was served with a shamrock in the foam. Too expensive all around.

Will try Fried Green Tomatoes on our next visit. We drove by it on our way home and it looks very cool. Beautiful location south of town.



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