Category Archives: Restaurant Review

Great Sunday Brunch, but What’s with the Noise

Over the week-end, we went for brunch with some out-of-town company.  Kingsbury Street Cafe was our choice.  It came with good reviews, a convenient location, parking (for a fee) and a great menu that included a decent number of gluten-free choices.  (Unfortunately, the gluten-free and vegetarian selections do not show up on the website view of the menu.)  Also important is the fact that they take reservations – a feature offered by very few brunch restaurants.

Everyone was very happy with their choices and the service was excellent..  Members of our party ordered a quiche, hamburger,  eggs Benedict, Kingsbury Cafe breakfast, and I had a custom omelet with potatoes and gluten free bread.  The gluten free bread is an extra charge, and it is very dense, but seemed a very healthy offering.

However, the noise level was very high.  It was difficult to carry on a conversation at the table, although possible, if you made an effort.  Certainly, the waiter had to move around the table to take the orders.  It seems that the current thinking in the restaurant trade is that a noisy place is a successful place.  Perhaps noise equates to liveliness or fun.  But when it gets so difficult to carry on a conversation, I think they have carried things too far.  Do they expect their guests to have to text each other?  When the addition of acoustic tiles, or some other sound absorption is possible, but not utilized, one has to think the noise level is intentional.

If  you are looking for a good brunch, especially if you need to assure a reservation time, I recommend the food and service at Kingsbury Street Cafe, but come prepared for the noise level.

Horseradish Crusted Salmon, Superb

Once in a while, a chance selection of a restaurant provides an exceptional meal.  I was in Davenport, Iowa,  to attend a conference, and my husband had come along for the ride and a little exploring.  Most of the restaurant options near our hotel were pubs, and didn’t appeal to me, so I used my trusty Map app to search for restaurants “near me”.  Duck City Bistro was the choice, partly because they had paella on the menu.

A quick five-minute walk brought us there, and we were greeted by the chef himself.  There is  a food case near the entrance with examples of his specials, and he introduces his guests to them with enthusiasm and showmanship.  This man really loves what he does.

While the menu doesn’t specify gluten-free items, the excellent staff is well-versed on the menu items, and can advise you about choices.  My original choice – the paella – was set aside because of the wait (the waiter explained that most of their guests call in ahead of time to order it).  I chose the horseradish-crusted salmon, and my husband had a duck dish with a framboise sauce.

The meal started with a garlic salad.  Very fresh. Ample, delicious, and right-sized pieces.  Nothing needed to be cut, or awkwardly brought into your mouth.  My salmon was truly excellent.  The crust was so crisp I had to inquire about the ingredients.  Garlic and butter, with the horseradish!!  A chiffonade of greens covered the salmon, and some accompanying broccoli. It rested on perfectly-seasoned mashed potatoes.  MY husband also had high praise for his duck dinner.  He said it compared quite favorably with a duck dinner at a very highly-rated restaurant.  I’m guessing the other items on the menu would be equally successful.  I only regret that Duck City Bistro is a bit too far to visit regularly.

If you’re going to Davenport, Iowa, any of the Quad Cities, or the region nearby, do plan on having dinner at this excellent restaurant.  You are sure to be well-advised on some gluten free options, and you’ll have a memorable dinner.

Note: – it appears they haven’t updated the prices on their online menu.  We found prices a bit higher at the restaurant.  Also, menu items may be a bit different.  My husband’s duck wasn’t duck breast, but dark meat.

I’d go back in a heartbeat.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

There’s a diner in Barrington that has been open since the end of World War ll.  The Canteen, 214 South Hough, 847-382-0900, is a friendly place with a generous menu for breakfast and lunch.  (For some reason, the image of the breakfast menu doesn’t show the pancake option.  They do provide gluten free pancakes as well.)

The walls  of the restaurant feature movie posters, and there are a number of model airplanes hanging from the ceiling.  (When theIMG_1918 restaurant was remodeled in 2000 by the (then) new owner, this historical element was kept. )

Our recent visit coincided with their special St. Patrick’s day menu.  They serve an excellent corned beef and cabbage.

Our meal started, as usual, with the home -made potato chips, brought to the table warm and crisp.  My corned beef and cabbage was delicious, and  was served with boiled potatoes and carrots.  Cooked just right.

For the gluten free customer, there are always the great egg dishes and salad plates, plus the afore-mentioned GF pancakes.

Try this friendly, cozy place with real atmosphere.