Tag Archives: Seafood

C and S Seafood and Oyster Bar – Vinings, GA

My hubby and I went to C and S Seafood for an early Valentine’s Day dinner last Saturday evening. I have to say that we used to go to C and S all the time when they first opened and we actually had not been there in a while.

We were so excited when C and S first opened (about 3 years ago). It was close to home, had a nice atmosphere and felt and looked more like a seafood restaurant in Boston that we know and love rather than some place located in Vinings, GA! We thought the food was awesome and we thoroughly enjoyed sitting at the bar and chatting it up with the bartenders.

Well, here we were once again at the bar (we could not get a reservation for a table) and we were chatting with the same bartenders that have been there since day one. I know that it a good sign that business must be okay. Obviously, these guys are happy. They were part of the original group that opened C and S.

When we arrived at 6:45 pm we were still able to grab 2 seats at the bar, however, by 7 pm, the bar and the restaurant were packed. Granted, it was the day before Valentine’s Day , but C and S must be doing well to have that kind of crowd. The food is definitely at a higher price point and I had been wondering how they were doing with the current economic situation.

We, quite frankly, stopped going because our little nibbles at the bar were becoming quite extravagant. There are definitely restaurants that are close by that offer a similar bar dining experience (South City Kitchen), that are far less pricey. However, it was Valentine’s Day, so we splurged a bit.

I did notice that there have been some additions to the menu since we were in last. They now offer a bar menu with small plates, appetizers and sides that range from $7 to $16. They also have added a few entrees that are between $18 to $21. Other than those options, you can count on mid to upper $20’s for seafood entrees and between $28 and $48 for steaks. There are also pretty hefty prices for salads, soups and appetizers ($8 to $18).

I ordered a shrimp cocktail that had 4 colossal shrimp. It seemed a bit overpriced at $16, but considering the quality of the shrimp, it was appropriate. My husband ordered 9 Blue Point Oysters ($3 each). He said they were excellent and very fresh. We both had salads. I chose the chopped salad. I do have to say that they really should step up the salad at $10. It was a very small portion and almost seemed like an afterthought. It barely had any of the “chopped” ingredients. It was primarily field greens. It was better and more generous in the past. I really was disappointed. My husband had the same situation with the house salad at $8. I used to make a dinner of the salad and an appetizer. I could not do that now.

We both ordered the Chilean sea bass ($28). It was a generous piece and cooked perfectly. The tomato basil vinaigrette sauce was recommended to us to accompany the fish. It was nice with the sea bass, however, I wish I had asked to put the sauce on the side. I thought the kitchen put too much of the sauce on an already rich and buttery fish. The accompanying vegetables were parsley new potatoes and squash.

Overall, we had a very enjoyable dinner. The food is good, but not outstanding. We have had some mixed experiences over the years, but we do continue to return partly because it is convenient and partly because of the atmosphere. The overall value to us is that we do enjoy sitting and the bar and having a glass of wine and a bite to eat. We enjoy chatting with the bartenders and appreciate the short drive home.

I do have to say that there are many dining options in Atlanta when you are willing to spend this much for dinner. Unfortunately, I would have to say that the food is better at many of those other restaurants. I think C and S really needs to focus on keeping their prices down and perhaps be a bit more creative and generous with some of the other items (such as their salads).

I look forward to trying some of the lower priced options. It is nice to offer something lighter and less expensive so that customers like us will be more inclined to go more often and enjoy the atmosphere and conversation at the bar. We hope that C and S continues to thrive. It is great to have so many nice restaurants close to home. We do try to support the local spots whenever possible. Hopefully, the new menu will also bring in new patrons that might not have gone in the past.

C&S Seafood And Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Atlanta, C and S Seafood, Restaurant Reviews, Seafood, Vinings

Brazilian Seafood Stew (Moqueca de Peixe)

This weekend post is my contribution to the Foodalogue’s Culinary Tour 2010 – South of the Border. I decided to go to Brazil!

I chose to make a Brazilian Seafood Stew (or Moqueca de Peixe). It is a dish which originates in the state of Bahia in Brazil. Bahia is located in the northeastern part of Brazil and its capital city is Salvador. Salvador is located where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Bay of All Saints. It makes perfect sense to have a seafood stew as a representative dish from that area!

I was not familiar with preparing Moqueca de Peixe, although it sounded like something we would enjoy. I had an interesting time looking at recipes. There were many variations. Some had as few as 5 ingredients and some had a long list (of course, that is the one I chose!). I decided that this was the best combination of the recipes. I have also made several changes and additions to the original recipe.

I actually made the dish twice because I wanted to be sure the flavors were right on. We found the original seasonings to be a bit mild for our tastes, so we heated things up a bit! I find that a little heat goes really well with the coconut milk (reminiscent of Thai cooking). I used a Thai chili in place of the Serrano pepper, I threw in a pinch of saffron and also added a fair amount of Cholula sauce to the pot as well as the finished dish. We also liked additional fresh lime juice. It brightened up the flavors.

The original recipe called for scallops, however, most of the others did not, so I did not add them. I also substituted grouper for monkfish. I made my own shrimp stock to make it fresher tasting, since I had the shrimp shells to use, however, the you can use fish stock or clam juice. I think the fresh shrimp stock is less fishy and therefore, more appealing to me.

I thought finding Brazilian ingredients in Atlanta would be a cinch, however I was mistaken! The 2 ingredients that were nearly elusive were dende oil (palm oil) and farofa, however, I finally located them in a small Brazilian market. Apparently, the dende oil makes it a truly authentic Brazilian dish. I discovered that a side dish called farofa is traditionally served with the stew. It is basically a flour, that when cooked, has the consistency of couscous. It was a bit nutty in flavor. I also served the stew with jasmine rice and it was delicious as well, so do not chase all over town looking for farofa (like I did). I do think, however, that dende oil is a must and as I read online, do not substitute West African style palm oil. It is very different and much richer.

This was a delicious and light dish. It had very nice flavors, especially with the addition of a bit more heat and spice. I did check in with a native of Brazil and they said the preparation was as close to the real thing as it gets (without all the hot sauce!) . I hope you enjoy this taste of Brazil!

Here is my adaptation of the recipe from Food Network.

Moqueca de Peixe
Serves 6


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 teaspoon salt (I used Kosher salt and found that I needed to add quite a bit more than this at the end)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced (I used Thai chilis with the seeds!)
3 cups fresh shrimp stock (my recipe is below)
1 can (14 1/2 ounce) canned coconut milk (I used the full fat version)
Pinch of saffron
6 green onions, white and light green parts only, finely sliced
1 lb. grouper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
Juice of 1 lime plus a little more, to taste (we liked lots more!)
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce (I used Cholula – you may want less heat than this)
2 Tbps. dende oil (see Note)
1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 limes, flesh cut into supremes and diced
Cooked farofa (recipe below) or cooked jasmine rice, for serving

Directions

Heat a large dutch oven over low heat and add the olive oil. Sweat the onion and peppers together for about 5 minutes, or until nicely softened.

Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and chiles and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the shrimp stock, coconut milk and saffron and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender. Add the green onions and all the fish, cover, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes more, stirring together gently twice during the cooking time. Add the lime juice, dende oil, and cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Serve in large heated bowls, sprinkled with the diced limes. Serve with farofa or jasmine rice.

Shrimp Stock (adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse)

The original recipe calls for dried herbs. I used all fresh herbs. It makes a huge difference in taste!

2 lb. shrimp shells
2 qts. water
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf (fresh, if possible)
Several springs of thyme
Several sprigs of fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
Salt to taste (depending on what you are using this for)

Rinse the shrimp shells and then place them is a large stockpot with all the ingredients.

(You can tie your herbs up in cheesecloth for easier removal or just throw them in the pot along with the shrimp, like I did!). Bring to a boil and lower the temperature to simmer. Skim the stuff that rises to the top (yuck!). Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check for salt. When the stock is ready, strain the stockpot and cool immediately using an ice bath. Refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.

* The original recipe also called for mushrooms. I did not have any on hand and it was delicious without them.

Farofa
2-3 servings

I made a small amount just to try it. You would need to make 2 or 3 times this amount to serve with the entire pot of stew.

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 onion
1 1/2 cups farofa flour

Melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the onions and sauté until tender. Add the flour and continue stirring until the mixture resembles couscous (that would be the best description).

You may need to add a little more butter if this mixture gets too dry.


Enjoy your vacation to Brazil!

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Filed under Brazilian, Coconut Milk, Entrees, Farofa, Fish, Recipes, Rice, Seafood, Shrimp, Stew, Stock, Vegetables