This Restaurant Almost Turned Me Into a River Crab!

While dining at Morton’s and the manager Matt talked us into purchasing the Landry’s Card (you can read all about HERE) he suggested one of the places we should try is the River Crab in Saint Clair. We were deciding what to do the next night and dining outside on the water sounded like a perfect idea. He raved about the food and said he and his wife frequent quite often. He even said “register your card now and use your welcome $25 off there tomorrow.” Well folks if you are going to do this, you have to register your card a full 24 hours in advance until the email goes out and your account is updated. We had to go the next night sans coupon!

The restaurant is quite far. A good almost hour drive up I-94. It is located on the Saint Clair River with great views of Canada and the occasional freighter. It was an unusually hot day for Michigan, in the high 90’s and lots of humidity. We were a bit disappointed to find out they closed the outdoor dining because it was too hot for the staff. They did however, find us a seat near a large picture window looking over the river. There was a table right next to the window, which we requested but they said they were bringing another group of 4 right down to sit there. We were disappointed to not only see no one being sat for a long time, but then a couple finally sat there. It was odd that we were told no. That was our first inkling that things were a bit off.

I ordered a blood orange bullet sour, their own version. I had some hopes it would be similar to a whiskey sour, I dared not hope it would be close to the one at Eddie Vs. The drink was odd, It was very cirtusy as I probably should have expected, less sour than it should be but then what was that odd taste making my drink taste like Christmas? It was an odd addition of cinnamon in a drink it clearly didn’t belong.

Omar ordered a “New Fashioned” which was their take on a Old Fashioned. Omar said it was pretty good. A far better drink than my weird Christmas Sour. My second drink I ordered just a whiskey sour and asked them to not add any spices. It was better, but still lacking that world class cocktail taste we have grown so accustomed to at Eddie V’s. We really are getting spoiled.

For dinner, Omar ordered an “East Meets West” appetizer consisting of Seared Ahi Tuna and a Tuna Tartare, with a crispy slaw and wasabi cream. The appetizer was delicious and fresh. The flavors worked well together and it was just the right proportion. The bread is fantastic. Warm poppy rolls and flat multi grain crackers. They bring you butter and a really yummy salmon pate for dipping. Frankly I could have just ate bread all night. Omar also got the New England Clam Chowder. He actually ordered Manhattan, but they brought the wrong soup out and he just ate it anyway. The soup was flavorful and ample amount of clams. Besides my weird drinks, the night was going pretty well but that when the main course happened (insert ominous music here)…

Omar ordered Surf and Turf, A 6oz filet, lobster tail; maître d’ butter, smashed redskin potatoes, asparagus. His filet was over cooked. He asked for rare –  even mooing and it came medium rare. The way I like it! The lobster was overcooked, but had good flavor. The potatoes were ok, nothing special at all. Needed more punch of something, maybe fresh chives? The asparagus was way overcooked. Limp and tasteless.

I ordered a filet Oscar Style (with a Bernaise sauce and lump crab) along with the smashed potatoes, mixed veggies and a Ceasar salad. The salad was ok, ample in size but lacking that punch I like in a cesar and no hint whatsoever of anchovy. It was fairly bland, but fresh. My filet was also very overcooked. More like a medium well. Way too done for my liking. The bernaise sauce was not good at all. It had a very odd flavor. The crab was clearly canned crab, not very flavorful. The bernaise was not good. Perhaps too much tarragon? It was a huge disappointment. The potatoes I talked about and the mixed veggies had green beans where the stems were still left on. Gordon Ramsey would be appalled!

We skipped dessert and any other drinks. Overall, we liked the ambiance, and wanted so much to like the food. The entrees disappointed us, but the apps and bread were amazing. We would go again, but only if we are in the area. I don’t think we would drive an hour to go again. If you are in  the area, you can try it for yourself, just be wary about making an hour drive to go there.

 

Happy Hour – Well, Happy Hour and a Half

Omar and I decided to try Morton’s this week for their happy hour, just to shake things up a bit. They have their “power hour” from 5-6:30 p.m. They have a variety of well cocktails and beers at reduced prices and a selection of bar bites. The place was not very busy. Unlike Eddie V’s that has their bar packed on most nights, and lots of action, Morton’s seemed very slow. We were there until probably 7, and the main restaurant didn’t even fill up. A huge difference from Eddie V’s. I wonder if the competition down that strip is affecting business, or if it just happened to be a slow night, or the fact the entire parking lot is a construction zone?

Omar started with his classic gin martini, up, with 3 anchovy stuffed olives and I with my standard Cosmo. Omar was disappointed with his Martini, just because the happy hour gin was not to his liking. I was unhappy because they served my Cosmo in a weird glass that reminded Omar and I of a pudding cup. I like a nice martini glass, and an iced cold Cosmo.

We decided to split some things off the menu, Omar starting with his oysters on the half shell (good, but he likes Eddie V’s better), and we split a chopped salad, Parmesan Matchstick fries and a filet trio. The salad was great. Fresh, with bacon, avocado, tomato and other tasty things all tossed in a light Dijon dressing. The bartender was nice enough to ask ingredient by ingredient if I wanted anything omitted as she said “there is a lot of stuff in here”. The filet trio was 3 small filets atop toast points paired with three toppings, blue cheese, which I made Omar eat, A spiced peppercorn which was tasty but very peppery and a Bearnaise which I enjoyed the most of the three. The bartender forgot our fries, and I had to remind her. They came out last, but where crispy, hot and did not disappoint. She also brought out some of Morton’s bread, which is basically like a ginormous onion roll. Omar loves the bread. Me, meh, I could take it or leave it.

The manager Matt, came over and introduced us to both the Landry’s select club and their famous State Street Manhattan. The Landry’s club is cool. Costs $25 to join, but you immediately get a $25 coupon off another visit, and you get $25 for every $250 you spend. Let me tell you its pretty easy to do that, even during happy hour. You also get $25 off for your birthday.

The State Street Manhattan is famous at Mortons. It’s made with Redwood Empire Whiskey and Carpano Antica Vermouth, infused with maraschino cherries and orange peel, and placed in a cold brew distiller to deepen the flavor. Topped with a slice of New York strip, glazed with sugar and spices (served cold). It takes over an hour to brew a batch, so thankfully they have some ready to go as a new batch is brewing. I have to admit, it was the best Manhattan I have ever had, but still too boozy for me to drink a whole one. As much as I like whiskey, that drink would do me in!!

Overall, we give Mortons a thumbs up. We enjoyed the food, and the staff, but it just didn’t have the happening vibe that Eddie V’s does. We will go back, we have coupons to use after all!!