Cap'n Juicy's Super Duper Weenies -- A hot dog is a hot dog is a hot dog, right? Not at Cap'n Juicy's, where you walk up to the order window and choose from creations featuring the standard-sized all-beef New York deli-style dog, or, for about a buck more, one of the quarter-pounders -- kosher hot dog, kosher Polish sausage, Longhorn German sausage and Red Hook Beer-basted bratwurst. The $2.69 New York Coney (with chili sauce, mustard and onions over a kosher dog) is satisfying with mildly spicy meat sauce and sweet, diced onions. The $2.69 Reuben Classic (sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and special mustard over a Polish sausage) came with a blanket of kraut-laced melted real Swiss filling the bun gap above a moist Polish sausage. Big and juicy they are, so grab lots of napkins. 114 N. Howard St. Call: 455-6750 (MC)
UpStage Supper Club -- You don't need to sign up for theater to sample the quisine of Chef Kile Tansy (formerly of Quinn's) as the third floor of the old Odd Fellows Hall on West First is now open for dinner. The Scallops Mornay appetizer ($10) was generous, with meaty scallops in a delicious sauce under a blanket of melted cheese, served with thin French bread toasts. The Spice Island Tuna ($17) was a monumental portion of two yellow fin tuna steaks, with a thick rub of a pungent spice mixture served over a delectable, creamy coconut-almond rice. On top of the whole thing was a generous amount of a colorful fresh mango salsa. Some lightly steamed spinach grounded this beautiful and very tasty plate. Look for the menu items to change about every three months. 1017 W. First. Call: 747-8243 (LM)
Downriver Grill -- The Downriver Grill (a locally owned neighborhood spot on the North Side) occupies a former florist's shop just a little past Audubon Park on Northwest Boulevard. The interior is sleek and modern but warm and inviting. The Tuscan pasta salad, with penne pasta, feta, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives ($6 half, $8 whole) was a meal in itself. The yellowfin tuna entree ($14) was served with avocado and mango salsa, couscous and saut & eacute;ed vegetables. Cooked as ordered, it was quite tasty, and the mango salsa had just the right blend of sweet and tart. Service was unfailingly attentive, courteous and lighthearted. This place was packed on a Sunday night, so plan ahead. 3315 W. Northwest Blvd. Call: 323-1600 (LM)
Paprika -- Paprika is home to some of the most inventive dishes in the Inland Northwest. Even the appetizer list harbors intrigue. Included are fresh-roasted local porcini mushrooms with gremolata served over grilled toast ($8) and roasted artichoke stuffed with saffron-potato puree and topped with toasted bread crumbs ($7). Entrees are just as creative. The seared pepper-crusted ahi tuna ($22) was teamed up with horseradish mashed potatoes, grilled onions and a fresh tomato vinaigrette. The roasted spring chicken with morel mushrooms ($19) was moist and flavorful. 1228 S. Grand Blvd. Call: 455-7545 (LM)
Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM), Mike Corrigan (MC) or Marty Demarest (MD), unless otherwise noted.
Publication date: 12/11/03