Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chow List: Seafood Fettuccine

I usually have to be fairly frugal when it comes to dining out, but one thing I have no trouble forking out a lot of crispy green cash for is a good Seafood Fettuccine. I absolutely thrive on shellfish anyway, and you can never go wrong with a pile of nice fresh pasta. The clincher is usually the white sauce. I’m not so much a fan of the full-on creamy Alfredo as much as a thinner, butter and white wine sort of thing. Well, I like it both ways, really. Nothing beats a nice Caesar salad as an opener and a bottomless basket of warm, crusty bread as a co-star. While I’ve tried the dish at many local places, there are some I didn’t even know had it until I started compiling this list. I’m sure there are more places I’ve forgotten, If you know of any please feel free to leave a comment.

1. Tomato Street, 222 W. Appleway, Cd’A
Cost for meal: $16.49
“Why I bother even looking I don’t know, because I always end up ordering my most favorite dish, the same thing I always order if it happens to appear on the menu: the rich, delectable Seafood Fettuccini. It was rich and buttery, not overly heavy, with tender scallops, mammoth prawns, Manila clams, both diced and in-shell and calamari rings that were done perfectly right and not chewy.” – from Get Out 6/21/08

They do the sauce exactly how I like it. This place gets a little koo-koo with too many people so grab a tall corner table in the Lounge area and hide out.

2. Tito Macaroni’s, 115 N. 2nd, Cd’A
Cost $19.99
“Prawns, scallops, calamari, clams and mussels simmered in a light lemon cream and topped with fresh basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes” – Tito’s menu description.

Can’t really recall if I’ve tried it here or not. I’m sure I must have since I definitely recall eating at Tito’s several times before and SeaFett is my default order in any Italian joint. I remember the bottomless wine bottle, the faux-perky Hagadrones, the long wait. But I don’t remember the meal. Time to sneak in a rectify that, perhaps.

3. The Hydra, 115Lake St., Sandpoint
Cost: $13.95
“Chilean Langostino lobster, sweet scampi, manilla clams, and scallops sautéed in fresh garlic, basil and olive oil with artichoke hearts and black olives. Topped with fresh tomatoes, parmesan cheese, with garlic toast” – Hydra menu description

I’ve never had an opportunity to validate the Fettuccine at this classic Sandpoint steakhouse, but it must be pretty okay, having once received a mention in Sunset Magazine.

4.Ciao Mambo, 8166 N.Government Way, Hayden
Cost: ??
"Frutti di Mare: Shrimp, halibut, clams and mussels sautéed in our marinara and tossed in linguini. Spicy or Mild."- Ciao Mambo menu
"The best were the “Linguini alle Vongole” and the “Frutti di Mare,” packed full of seafood with a crispy, thick slice of bread under the pasta to absorb all the savory sauce." - Laurie J. Rice, Bend Source review

Linguine is close enough to fettuccine in my book, and Ciao Mambo features quite a few pasta dishes featuring various "fruits of the sea" and all look incredible. I still haven't made my way into this Missoula-based Hayden eatery but I've heard nothing but raves so far.

5. Tony's On The Lake, 6823 Cd'A Lake Drive, Cd'A
Cost: $19 / $25
"Speghetti Pescatore: Spaghetti Pasta with Scallops, Shrimp, Mussels, and Fish in a Tomato Vodka Sauce" - Tony's menu

Still miss the old Supper Club era, but word is that the new fancy version of this vintage lake hideaway is pretty fantastic as well. This dish really doesn't have a lot to do with the original SeaFett formula what with the "tomato vodka" action. Actually, the Manacotti al Mare, stuffed with Shrimp. Crab and Lobster topped with a White Clam Sauce for $24 might be closer to the real deal.

6. Angelo's Ristorante, 846 N. 4th, Cd'A
Cost: $25
"Prawns,Sea Scallops, and clam's sauteed with garlic,butter, marinara, and white wine" - Angelo's menu

Angelo's is always amazing, really one of the best places to spend way too much money on unforgettable, soul-satisfying Italian food. It's amazing how they've transformed a dumpy corner spot in an old strip mall into a fantasy trip to the old Italian countryside, as authentic as can be. Normally I turn my nose up at Marinara, but Angelo's version is way loveable, simple and strong and perfect to bring out the flavors of the sea.

7. Elmer's, 300 W. Neider, Coeur d'Alene
Cost: $12.99
"Alaskan King Crab & Shrimp Pasta: Penne Pasta with Alaskan crabmeat and shrimp, sweet red peppers, green peppers and onions, tossed with a creamy Alfredo sauce." - Elmer's Menu

I was at Elmer's not long ago and almost went for this, thinking that the use of penne was intruiging for such a blase chain. Then I noticed the presence of one of arch enemies: the sweet red pepper. Ick! I would have had to pick 'em all out, and that's just not at all hot.

8. Olive Garden, 525 W.Canfield, Coeur d'Alene
Cost: $14.95/$15.50
Seafood Alfredo: Sautéed shrimp and scallops tossed with creamy fettuccine alfredo.
Seafood Portofino: Mussels, scallops, shrimp and mushrooms with linguine in a garlic-butter wine sauce.

It's a guilty pleasure that everyone admits to, yet people are still a little snotty about Olive Garden, They must be doing something right, since the oparking lot is always packed to the limit, day and night. I've had both the above dishes, and while they're perhaps not earth-shatteringly fabulous, they're done well and with the obligatory salad and breadsticks, I've never left feeling anything less than satisfied and full of fish.

9. Crickets Bar and Grill, 424 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene
Cost: $17.95
"Large shrimp and Sea scallops sautéed with minced garlic and tossed in a creamy Alfredo sauce with mushrooms and tomatoes." - Crickets menu

I originally got hooked on SeaFett at the old Henry's Restaurant where I had my first job as a dishwasher. I was 15 and had never even liked seafood until one of the chefs forced me to try a plate of their trademark pasta dish. I remember eatin g at Cricket's back then and trying their version and feeling proud because it was nowhere near as great as ours. Alas, Henry's a distant memory and I haven't done Crickets in many long moons. Mushrooms, okay, but I could live without tomatoes creeping in.

10 Oval Office
Cost $16.95
"Some like it hot! A spicy medley of fresh seafood with red onions, mushrooms and chili flakes. Served with grilled bread."

I snuck in and out of here once for a few martinis but I've never sat for a meal. No clue why not, since their version of SeaFett sounds like it has a firey new twist. I could get seriously into that.


Anonymous said...

The seafood fettuccine at Henry's was AWESOME! So was Richie's Ciappino, which he graciously gave me the recipe for, but is not something I've attempted yet. It's too expensive and time consuming to prepare just for myself.
Thanks for bringing back good memories of the old place.

Bay Views said...

Try reviewing the fettuccine at the Captain's Wheel in Bayview sometime.