Sunday, May 24, 2009

IceKitchen at Westport

So tonight's excursion is the real reason I am starting this blog. This was the second meeting of the Food Adventure Club (F.A.C.), which I just named tonight since meeting twice makes it official. hehe

My friends and I had tried a Japanese steakhouse in St. Charles County before because there was interest in trying sushi, which I cannot get enough of. While the newbies didn't like the sushi, I was very proud of them for being willing to try.

The IceKitchen was reviewed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a couple weeks ago and of course I always share those articles with the F.A.C. members. This is important to me because being single, it is hard to find people to go out to dinner with. I am not quite able to go out to fine dining by myself, which is a big reason I volunteered to go with STLWineGirl to SLeek in my last post.

Normally it's not wise to hit a newly hyped up restaurant right away. It's usually better to wait for the hype to die down. But I made a reservation so we'd be ready. Turns out it wasn't necessary for a Sunday night! Or maybe because everyone is BBQing over Memorial Day weekend? We were one of two tables in the whole place for most of our stay. They put us in the back...where it was dark. Maybe we weren't pretty enough? I dunno.

Right off the bat, I could tell that this would be a great happy hour place if you like martinis or "foo foo" drinks. Their drink menu was just as long a their food menu with crazy names for their mixed drinks. I had a "Dreamsicle" which had Ameretto in it so I was happy. I really wanted to try the "Son of a Peach", which was very fun to say. All drinks were $8 and up so you really gotta like flavored drinks. Not the place for beers although they had quite a few typical bottles so everyone would be happy drinking there.

The decor is really what stands out when you pass by, walk around, and in the bathrooms. It's worth it just to go inside once to check it out. We were hoping they really had some drink that could be set on fire like in their logo. The ambiance is really for hip folks since they played techno nonstop mixed with some current hip hop and a DJ stand behind us. At least during happy hour, drinks are half price.

We went ahead and tried the "fusion" tapas. I have been asked what does "fusion" mean? I dunno exactly but my definition is "combination of flavors to make something new you've never had before". While the descriptions of the items sounded calm, the actual plates had quite different sauces and garnishes. We kept having to look back at the menu to see exactly what it was that we ordered. And yes...they all had some strange flavorings to it. Definitely different.

I started out with the House Salad...perfectly sized and the rice wine vinagrette had a great, light flavor to it.

My friends ordered a soup flight which is a smart way to try more than one soup. The Roasted Corn Chowder stood out from the rest. Tortilla Soup...you really need to like Mexican for that one. Elephant Garlic Soup came in 2nd. Slight hint of garlic so not overpowering at all.

I ordered the Beef Kabob as my "light tapas" and it was excellent...served on a bed of rice. I could have used a few more than the four small pieces. Of course that was the most expensive "light tapas" at $9.75. Light tapas seemed to be smaller sized too.

My friends ordered the "Trio of Wonton Tacos". I only tried one and was overpowered by the crispy shell and avocado so I couldn't taste the "meat" of it.

Since there were four of us, I got to try quite a few of the "Signature Tapas". The Acorn Squash Gnocchi came out first and was the most disappointing. I think of the Gnocchi at Maggiano's but this was in a heavy mushroom sauce. We could not taste ANY of the other flavors except for the mushroom. We were hoping for more Acorn or Squash flavor. Only a few bites of lobster mixed in couldn't save it either.

Fortunately, everything else was much better. The Chilean Sea Bass was probably my second most favorite due to the mirin shisho broth...which again was a sweet, rice wine flavor. My friends didn't like the sicky, pasty rice (like the kind used for sushi), but when you had the fish and rice dipped into the sauce - heavenly.

My favorite that I ordered was the Petite Surf and Turf. I knew this would be the best from my SLeek experience and it was the most expensive at $18.25. The filet was big enough so I could cut it in four and have a good tasting. The lobster meat was buried in the ...well I'm still not sure what it was. I probably would have liked bigger chunks of lobster.

Anyway, my friends ordered the Chicken Lollipops, which were delicious but so small it was hard to enjoy the taste of it for too long, and the Duck Breast. The duck was cut into small bite-size slices and was completed glazed in an Asian plum-flavored sauce. Covered in the sauce, the duck was excellent...no greasy or gamey taste at all. But the sauce was very sweet...a little strong.

I really was curious about the Ahi Tuna and the Grilled Wild Salmon.

And of course we had to order dessert! And of course I ordered the chocolate one...Chocolate Crepes. They were bigger than dollar-sized pancakes but a good size since I was so full. They were real thin and soggy. But once I pushed them into the chocolate sauce, all was good. There was a strong berry flavor to them so that the chocolate is not overpowering. I prefer my chocolate desserts to be overpowering though.

Cookie Dough Wontons were small and bite size. I could only taste cripsy outside for the most part. The Funnel Cake Sticks were definitely the sweet taste that you think of although it was more crispy than soft. It was so large, that the four of us couldn't finish it at all.

We were sad we didn't have enough room for the French Apple Tart though!

So overall...the food is very different...different textures and flavors. If you love new tastes and food adventures, this is something new to try. But unfortunately it was a bit too pricy for my friends and I to try more often.

The next meeting of the Food Adventure Club is hoping to land at Mongolian Beef. While nothing new, not your typical Chinese.