HERITAGE FOODS helpings from history
Lisa Blount, wife of owner Rick Blount. “We are also proud of
the way in which we—along with the rest of the city—fought to
recover following the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.”
The storm struck Aug. 29, 2005, and even though Antoine’s
was on high ground and not completely submerged, two walls
came down and there was considerable water damage. “We were
closed until late December, when we were able to open part of
the restaurant,” Blount says. “It took 18 months before we were
back to normal.”
Among Antoine’s claims to fame are such dishes as oysters
Rockefeller and pompano Pontchartrain with crab. “Jules Alciatore,
our founder’s son, invented oysters Rockefeller,” says Blount.
Alciatore studied cooking in France, and when he returned, he
The Buckhorn Exchange, Denver
wanted to add escargot to Antoine’s menu. However, he couldn’t
get a steady supply of snails of the right quality. Meanwhile,
excellent oysters were plentiful. They had always been eaten
raw or fried, but Alciatore decided to bake them in a sauce. “The
recipe remains one of our most closely guarded secrets,” Blount
says. “He also covered the oysters with breadcrumbs. The name
Rockefeller was chosen because the sauce is so rich.”
The pompano is sauteed in a pan with salt, pepper, thyme
and basil while the sauce is put together in another skillet. Key
ingredients are green onion, melted butter, lemon juice, white
wine, salt, pepper, thyme, basil and crabmeat.
History abounds at The Buckhorn Exchange, Denver’s oldest
restaurant, founded in 1893. Buffalo Bill Cody sipped his signature
bourbon and apple juice cocktail at the bar while regaling clients
with tales of Wild West shows and scouting parties. Sitting Bull
ABOVE: The Buckhorn Exchange, where the décor features post-taxidermy indigenous
animals, including this mountain lion.
was a friend of Henry Zietz, founder and original owner, and even
gave the diminutive restaurateur a Sioux name that translates to
“Shorty Scout.” President Theodore Roosevelt disembarked from
his special-edition presidential train, walked across railroad tracks
where a light rail now runs and dined here in 1905.
“Nearly every day, when I come through the door, I ponder
all that has gone on in these premises,” says general manager/
managing partner Bill Dutton, who has worked at the Buckhorn
for 37 years. “So many generations and so many experiences.
Like the couple who celebrated their 50th anniversary at the
same table where they became engaged five decades earlier. Or
me, bellied-up at the same bar where my grandfather, who died
20 years before I was born, enjoyed a whiskey with the other
cowpunchers of his day.”
The décor features numerous post-taxidermy indigenous
animals—deer, elk, mountain lion. The menu also reflects respect
for the spirit of the Old West. “Our most popular dinner dish is a
buffalo tenderloin and elk combination plate,” says Dutton. The
favorite snack item is Rocky Mountain Oysters, bulls’ testicles
that have been sliced into disks, seasoned and batter-fried.
“For its first 85 years, the Buckhorn was strictly a steakhouse,
with a menu of beef or pork chops,” says Dutton. “We introduced
the game meat in the 1980s, and it has basically defined us since
then. We still offer beefsteaks, including our signature Big
Steak, a strip steak varying from 2-4 pounds cut tableside for
parties ranging from two to five.” The bean soup, he adds, is the
original recipe used by the Buckhorn’s founder.
Fraunces Tavern, New York
Dating to 1719, 54 Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan is the
address of Fraunces Tavern Restaurant and Fraunces Tavern
Museum. Just two years shy of being three centuries old, the
site is most famous as the place where George Washington bid
farewell to his officers Dec. 4, 1783.
Samuel Fraunces, a local entrepreneur, had assumed control
of the property in 1762 and opened an inn, where he personally
supervised the kitchen when not engaged in other business
enterprises. Not surprisingly, he favored English-style food—
beefsteak, mutton and pork chops, soups, and oysters served
fried or pickled.
The 2017 menu is far more varied and familiar, including
such lunch choices as a Reuben sandwich, turkey and chickpea
burgers, flat iron steak, pan-roasted organic salmon and grilled
cheese. The restaurant is now owned by The Porterhouse
Brewing Company, Dublin, Ireland, but it celebrates all U.S.
holidays, says events manager Brianna McHugh. Meanwhile,
there are a few signature dishes that tip a cap to the founding
fathers: traditional fish and chips, Jefferson’s Cobb Salad and
George Washington’s Chicken Pot Pie.