N'awlins Crab House charms taste buds with southern snacks and seafood steeped in Cajun and creole culinary traditions. Diners can investigate three menus as they search for edible pearls in oysters on the half shell ($15.95/dozen). Crawfish creole sates veggie cravings with tomatoes, celery, and colorful peppers ($15.95), and marinated sirloin medallions ($15.99) reward carnivores by supplementing USDA Choice beef with a half-dozen prepared-to-order shrimp. Guests may customize the Captain's platter ($23.95) by pairing snow-crab legs and a broiled lobster tail with poached, sautéed, or charbroiled prawns. Growing po boy sandwiches devour catfish, blackened mahi-mahi, and other seafood staples ($8.95–$13.95), emerging from the kitchen with crunchy batter exoskeletons and the power to lure mermaids into timeshare seminars.
At RoccoVIno's, a dish can never be too Italian. That's why you can order a pizza—already an Italian staple—in Italiano style, crowned in spinach, tomato, and three types of cheese. Customers add their own personal touch to the pizzas, too, choosing from thin crust, classic pan, and stuffed-crust deep dish styles, or select a specialty pizza such as the Margherita, Veggie Delight, or il Paisano. The pasta dishes are similarly customizable, filled with noodles from farfalle to rigatoni and drizzled in a choice of 10 sauces. These include a spicy tomato sauce made from only tomatoes that look like winking faces. Other gourmet Italian dishes include seafood risotto mixed with scallops, calamari, and shrimp, filet mignon, topped with a chunk of gorgonzola cheese, chicken or eggplant parmigiana, lasagna, and baked mostaccioli.
With its lapping waves and watery vistas, Lake Michigan makes for a decent approximation of the much larger Atlantic Ocean, where Jeff Mazza feels most at home. Still, the owner of New England Seafood Company Fish Market could not shake a feeling of homesickness when he relocated to the Midwest. "Sitting on a deck eating some fried clams and some lobster rolls, that's every weekend pretty much. That's the stuff we miss and couldn't really find too much out here," he told ABC7’s Hungry Hound.
Rather than pining away and writing novel-length emails to the family dog, Mazza reflected on what he missed the most about New England and put together a plan. Soon enough, he and his brothers had opened a restaurant and market and were busy importing seafood freshly caught in the Atlantic’s waters. Today, their menu includes baked haddock, pan-seared crab cakes, and the aforementioned fried clams and lobster rolls of Jeff’s youth. The lobster rolls—with their cold lobster meat, buttery seasonings, and buns imported from Boston—seem to have won over the most local fans. Serious Eats recently described them as "the purest, simplest version" of the sandwich found in Boston or Chicago.
When entrepreneur Harold Pierce opened the first Harold’s Chicken Shack on Chicago’s South Side in 1950, his chefs fried chicken as it was ordered, filling customers' empty hands with baskets of fresh, piping-hot chicken in 12–15 minutes. Today, the chain of 62 restaurants peppered across the Midwest and Southwest continues the old tradition of rewarding patience with astonishingly delicious chicken. The long-standing shop specializes in a simple order—breaded chicken fried in a rich mix of vegetable oil and beef tallow for a home-cooked flavor. Chefs prep the chicken Chicago style by pouring a dash of sauce over the basket, which soaks into the white bread and crinkle fries that come with every order. Marked with the famed emblem of a cook chasing a chicken with a hatchet, the restaurant has saturated the city’s consciousness, earning a mention in Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, an appearance in Kanye West’s music video Through the Wire, and its own chicken hologram projected over the skyline. Serious Eats sums up citywide sentiment for the chain: "When the words 'fried chicken' are uttered in Chicago, it’s a fair bet that the name Harold’s Chicken Shack will usually follow."
As boats and kayakers chug down the adjacent Chicago River, guests savor beer-steamed mussels, wild mushroom truffle filets, and cold-water lobster tail. The patio sits right on the river walk, but the view of the river and the towering architecture across it is equally appealing in the street-level dining room.
Shaw's Crab House has a split personality. It's part sophisticated seafood restaurant, part casual oyster bar. No matter where you sit, the oysters are plucked and shucked fresh from the daily shipments of assorted fish and seafood such as Alaskan golden king crab legs.