Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Restaurant Review

Last July, my sister saw this article in the local paper announcing the upcoming opening of a Cajun restaurant in a small town outside of Iowa City. We were intrigued, and cautiously optimistic.

Fast forward a few months, and the restaurant, Champagne's, finally opened. We made it there last Friday for the first time. The food was excellent. For appetizers we had Shrimp Boulettes. For our meals, I had the Crabmeat au Gratin and Rykert had Crawfish Etouffee. The restaurant was clean and the service was accetable. The prices were more than reasonable when you consider the food costs associated with quality seafood in the midwest and the substantial portion size. Next time one of use is definitely trying the Jambalaya. I would encourage anyone in the Iowa City area, or anyone passing through, to head to West Branch to try it out. You can get more information, including the menu, on their website. Though the menu on the website appears to be a bit different from what we saw on Friday, but generally it is the same. The restaurant is still fairly young (opening only a few months ago) which means that it will likely have some kinks to work out. My only suggestions to the proprietors would be a change in the bread and the addition of a some type of sampler entree platter where one could sample a number of items such as a cup of gumbo, and a small serving of etouffee and jambalaya. Oh, and judging from the chef's thick Cajun brogue - this is the real deal.

Clearly, Rykert and I are promoting this to everyone we know in hopes that it will be successful and stay in business. Rykert is excited about having a place to get some comfort food as winter looms around the corner.

For those of you interested in the world of Cajun food, here is a really great article from the New York Times. And another good article explainting the difference between cajun and creole.

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