Searsucker: Fun for the Young, But Not the Fabric of Fine Dining

May 20, 2011 2 comments
shrimp "spicy" + bacon bits

shrimp "spicy" + bacon bits

We recently celebrated Kristina’s 26th birthday at Searsucker. This was our first visit.

We have long been Brian Malarkey fans, both through his cookbooks and his success at Oceanaire, a favorite seafood destination for the our family and site of Kristina’s  25th birthday celebration. Our visit to Searsucker started with some great drinks, like the “Dirty Girl”, a gin and cucumber cocktail with a spicy twist, and incredible cheese popovers. Our appetizers included the octopus with saffron aioli, brie with blackberry preserves, shrimp with bacon grits, artichoke hearts prepared as a dip with greyere cheese: all fascinating presentations and flavorful palate teasers.

chicken whole "peas & carrots" smoked corn

chicken whole "peas & carrots" smoked corn

Our entrees included the local halibut; whole chicken with “peas and carrots” smoked corn; filet with lobster butter and cognac; tuna with proscuitto, basil and a balsamic glaze and the scallops “baja”.  Kristina had to send back the scallops as they were very “rubbery” and were a huge disappointment to the birthday girl. The entrees were generally good, but each arrived at our table individually. Entree prices ranged from $22 to $35, but sides added another $7 to $9 each, which made the entire main course somewhat pricey. The atmosphere, best described as a Hotel “W” clone, was cold and noisy – interesting in theory, but not in the reality of supporting a cozy dining experience that cushions conversation and provides soft lighting. The younger members of our party are ready to return for the “hip” atmosphere, but Gary and I value ambiance as much as the food when we treat ourselves to fine dining and we need a softer, quieter environment with enough lighting to read the menu.

Birthday Dessert

Birthday Dessert


2 Responses to “Searsucker: Fun for the Young, But Not the Fabric of Fine Dining”

  1. Barbara Zaugg says:

    I , on the other hand, had a lovely dinner in San Francisco at LUELLA’s ( Hyde and Green- Russian Hill)-
    It was not too loud, cozy and the food was outstanding.
    I ordered a dish that reminded me of Mexico: Pork Braised in Coca Cola- MMMMMM served on white bean puree.

    Serves 12, with leftovers
    Luella executive chef Ben de Vries uses a blend of chicken stock and Coca-Cola to braise the meat. The soda’s sweetness heightens the flavor of the meat, and is balanced by the pickled onions. The meat can be partially cooked ahead, and the onions and puree can be made up to a week ahead.
    Pork shoulder
    8 lbs boneless pork shoulder
    Kosher salt and pepper to taste
    Oil for searing
    2 liters regular Coca-Cola (see Note)
    1 gallon low-salt chicken stock or broth
    White bean puree
    3 cups dried cannellini beans (about 1 1/2 pounds)
    Olive oil
    Kosher salt to taste
    White pepper to taste
    Pickled red onions
    1 large red onion (about 12 oz), sliced lengthwise about 1/4-inch thick
    1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/2 cup julienned mint leaves
    For the puree: Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain, then place the beans in medium saucepan; cover with water, add a splash of olive oil, reduce heat and simmer until very soft, adding more water as needed.
    Drain the beans and puree in a food processor until smooth, adding enough olive oil (and some of the cooking liquid) until the beans have a mashed potato-like consistency; season with salt and white pepper to taste. Set aside. (The puree can be made up to a day ahead. Before serving, rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. If made ahead and refrigerated, you may need to adjust the consistency with a little more oil.)
    For the pork: Season the pork with salt and pepper. Drizzle oil onto the bottom of a deep pan to barely cover, then set the pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the meat and sear on all sides until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside.
    Pour the Coca-Cola into the pan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, scraping up any stuck bits of meat from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced to about 3 cups. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil again, and cook until liquid reduces by about a quarter, about 10 minutes.
    Preheat the oven to 450°. Carefully place the meat into the liquid, cover and bake for about 2 hours, or until the meat falls apart easily. Remove the meat from the oven and let it rest, still covered and in its liquid, for at least 1 hour. If making ahead, cool and refrigerate overnight.
    For the onions: Combine the onions, vinegar and sugar in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool. Adjust flavor with more vinegar or sugar as desired, then refrigerate until chilled. (The onions can be made up to a week ahead.)
    To finish the meat: Remove the meat from the liquid (save the liquid in the pot), and remove and discard any visible fat. Preheat the oven to 400°. Bring the pot of liquid to a boil on the stove, then return the meat to the pot. Bake, uncovered, until the meat is warmed through, about 1 hour.
    Remove the meat from the pan and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the sauce to a hard simmer, and cook until it reduces to a light syrup (slightly thinner than maple syrup).
    To serve: Spoon warm white bean puree onto a plate; top with pork and drizzle with sauce. Drain the onions and combine with mint; use to garnish the pork. Serve immediately.

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