Once again my bro John being the giving soul he is..... invited & treated Joe & I to dinner last night! Thanks brother Bonzai! John & I usually try to meet for dinner somewhere in the middle between our old stomping grounds on the Southside & John's current residence in the the boondocks. We choose Pappadeaux, 921 Pasquineli Drive, Westmont, IL, 60559. Just Northwest of rt 83 & Ogden. Now I'm not sure how this place came to be, my guess it's Greek owned & somewhere in there they threw in the New Orleans flair. For me ....Greeks have the it in the food department it has always been #1 in my book. Now, John & I have met here before & the experience has been wonderful, but last night was beyond outstanding! Maybe it was the dinner company, our server or the new dishes I sampled...but I walked away or rather rolled away, extremely pleased with a delightful evening. We met at the bar, even though we had a reservation for 8pm & the dining room was full, the host had no problem holding our reservation for over 1/2 an hour. When we decided to head on over for dinner we were promptly seated. The atmosphere is upscale casual, with a warm bustling interior. They also have a nice outdoor area for dining alfresco in warmer weather.
We were greeted immediately by our server & new found friend who introduced himself as "Bill." Now being in the service industry for what seems an eternity & coming from a family who spent years in the restaurant business.... I must say that I have always seemed to immediately support anyone who elects to wait on patrons for a living. A sort of secret guardian of servers. I pride myself on making sure that I, as well as the people that accompany me are at the very least cordial to employees of these establishments. Even though I usually keep my thoughts to myself, I have also caught myself critiquing these employees on occasion.
My first impression of "Bill" was that he went to extra lengths to make us feel welcome. Friendly enough, he spent an extensive amount of time with us going over the selections & making recommendations on wine, appetizers & the main course. Now, while I know this is commonplace in most establishments, this guy went above & beyond the call of duty. Intricately describing in detail, every ounce of effort that went into preparing each dish. It was almost as if he truly was impressed by what he was selling. I thought to myself "Wow, this guy should be in the kitchen." I found it a bit ironic as my brother Joe almost immediately took the words out of my mouth & stated "Hey Bill, maybe you should be preparing the meals instead of serving them." Bill replied by admitting he had an affinity for cooking & eating in general, but especially for the dishes prepared at Pappadeaux.
He went on informing us that we would receive the freshest of ingredients.....that every item, sauce & dressing was prepared from scratch daily, down to the tarter sauce. That each offering had it's own special secret seasonings & rubs. That the kitchen staff regularly spends as much time in preparation & seasoning of the meal as they do actually cooking it. He also added that the restaurant permits guests to request a meal to be prepared in any way they offer other meals to be prepared! Nice I thought!
I could see the excitement in both my brothers eyes...John was starving & Joe couldn't wait to get his hands on some good ole creole grub. Joe has often told me of the wonderful food he enjoyed down in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Considering he spends the majority of his life traveling & feasting on meals from around the globe.... I figure we can take his word on it.
Bill suggested the appetizer platter of deep fried alligator, calamari & the fondeaux made with shrimp, crayfish, mushrooms, spinach, in a Yvette sauce topped with Monterey Jack cheese. While the thought of ordering alligator has never previously sounded very appetizing to me...I decided to give it a try. It arrived & we dove in....officially deciding that it was nothing short of spectacular! John "one of the picky eates I know, seemed to adore the calamari. I didn't have the heart to tell him it was squid. Shhhh! The alligator was to die for.... my favorite hands down, I found it surprisingly tasty! It had a spicy breading & had been deep fried to a golden perfection. It couldn't decide if it tasted of chicken, shrimp or somewhere in between. The fondeaux was excellent; served with garlic bread wedges & lemon sauce that was truly out of this world!
While waiting for our second course "Bill," once again came over to strike up conversation. Shortly thereafter he served up the main course. John seemed to scarf down his filet mignon & dirty rice (another item that I am amazed John seems to enjoy!) I had the Alaskan King crab legs, garlic mashed spuds & steamed broccoli with extra lemon.....scrumptious. Joe ordered the Blackened Mahi Yvette....which looked so good I couldn't help myself from stealing a taste! Everything was just wonderful.....excellent recommendations Bill!
Joe ordered another glass of wine & I just had to try one of John's drinks....a perfect Patron Margarita....which ended up tasting as good as it looked. Bill offered to hand out take home containers, as none of us could seem to put down the extreme portions on our plate. I really didn't think I could take another bite....when Bill came over to offer to buy us dessert. John who often displays a great ability of self-restrait...declined....but Joe & I took one look at each other & couldn't seem to deny our over indulgent ways. Besides at this point in the meal we knew without a doubt, that when Bill recommends the TRIO for dessert....it would be worth unnotching the top buttons on our waistbands. Bring on the TRIO.... as I thought to myself.....a couple of tastes won't hurt anybody.
Who was I tryin to kid??? A couple of tastes.... my rear. Who could resist? The trio was the icing on the cake, the cherry on top of a "out of this world, down home cooked meal," that seemed to come straight from the Bayou! The Trio was served up with fresh pecan pie ala mode with homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, Rum Raisin Bread Pudding that melted in your mouth & a creme brulee of fascination!
Everything about last evening was wonderful....seeing my big brothers, the laughter we always seem to share & the memorable meal that will go down as one of my favorites. Thanks brother Bonzai!
Try to make it out to Pappadeaux.... your taste buds will thank you & so will your pocketbook! I guarantee you'll be impressed! Enjoy!
3 years ago