Andy’s Jazz Club


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**** (4 stars)

7pm show and dinner on a Thursday. $10 cash cover at the door.

Cool jazz quartet: piano, acoustic bass, drums and sax. You definitely won’t be having a conversation, despite them being”conversation friendly”! But it’s all about the music, so who cares?

Delicious ceviche.

Fall off the bone short ribs with a rich and complex sauce.

Excellent cocktails, each with a unique spin.

Prices reasonable for the area and entertainment.

No verbs were harmed in the writing of this review.

Andy’s Jazz Club
11 E Hubbard St
Ste 1
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 642-6805

Bandera Restaurant

**** (4 stars)

I love the atmosphere of this place, which is intimate and fairly dark, with spotlights aimed at the tables rather than the diners. The live jazz is just the right volume, giving the place a supper club feel.

The menu is similar to Hillstone’s and Houston’s, which isn’t surprising since it’s affiliated. A couple of our favorite starters from there appear here. The spinach artichoke dip is creamy, and served with sturdy tortilla chips perfect for dipping. Also included are sour cream and a salsa with just a hint of heat. House smoked salmon is very smokey, delicate and flaky, served with crisp toast and a mayo and dill based spread.

Bandera’s Caesar salad isn’t for purists, as it uses kale, and the croutons are made from a fairly sweet corn bread. Ours were heavily over-dressed, but when the waitress noticed we weren’t enjoying them she immediately had them remade with about one fifth the dressing, and they were much better.

A house specialty is the enchilada, which is available with steak or a la carte. It’s a bit unusual in that it’s stuffed with squash, but is quite creamy, cheesy and satisfying.

Much of the menu is given over to burgers and other sandwiches, so the price for dinner and a show can be quite reasonable.

Service was super attentive without being intrusive.

Waits can be long, so reserve ahead, despite the fact that their reservation system doesn’t work as well as opentable.

This is definitely a great place for live jazz in a supper club atmosphere.

Bandera Restaurant
535 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 644-3524

Shaw’s Crab House

**** (4 stars)

Shaw’s is a bustling (that’s restaurant speak for noisy), sprawling, traditional red leather booth place that serves shellfish, fish and sushi to a packed house every night. The extensive menu is filled with traditional items and preparations, and waiters sport traditional white jackets, although the service is anything but stiff.

The menu begins with an interesting selection of (yes, traditional) cocktails, and some nicely thought out wine by the glass selections.

The tuna tartare appetizer nicely combined citrus and avocado flavors, and was accompanied by ample dipping chips. Shrimp cocktail was a classic preparation, with good sized shrimp and just the right amount of horseradish.

I particularly enjoyed the Caesar salad, which had a nicely balanced dressing, and thin wafer-like croutons with a lot of flavor.

The Copper River salmon was good, not remarkable, but I really enjoyed the accompanying grilled asparagus. A side of au gratin potatoes was more like a dish of cheese and butter with a trace of potatoes under there, but it was as delicious as it sounds.

Shaw’s is not a great place for quiet conversation, but it works well for a boisterous business dinner, or a group of friends that knows each other well enough that deep conversation isn’t on the agenda.

Shaw’s Crab House
21 E Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 527-2722

Bösendorfer Lounge

**** (4 stars)

If you enjoy the sound of a great piano, you won’t find a better one than here. This Bosendorfer is magnificent. The lounge itself is divided into two parts, the round entry area, where you can’t get away from the piano, and the more intimate bar area. However we like to dine at the adjacent restaurant. If you request a table near the entry, you can hear the piano just fine.

Bösendorfer Lounge
Grand Bohemian
325 S Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 313-9000

54 Below

**** (4 stars)

This is a excellent intimate live music venue. Acoustics are very good, and there is a pretty good lighting system as well.

The majority of the seating is at long tables pointed toward the stage, so some seats tend to be faced away from the performer, and those seated in the first few slots (and I do mean slots) may find the lighting in their eyes. A few booths along the back provide the most comfortable seating.

Food is adequate. The french fries were excellent, and the Caesar salad was fresh. The ratatouille shepherd’s pie was a bit disappointing. There’s a nice selection of moderately priced wines.

Service is friendly and unobtrusive.

54 Below
254 W 54th St
New York, NY 10019
(866) 468-7619

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

***** (5 stars)

This is the restaurant experience you’re looking for. It’s about time Orlando had a supper club again, and Eddie V’s is the perfect fit. Great ambience, great food, great service.

The interior is a bit of a cross between Seasons 52 and Capital Grille, two other high-end Darden restaurant chains.

Live music in the corner of the bar sets the tone, and for those who want to be immersed in the music there are lots of dining tables in the bar.

A classy glass wine storage wall separates the bar from the restaurant, where the music is much softer. Elegant finishes and lighting create a great mood.

Sashimi yellowtail and tuna tartare were both excellent appetizers. The Ceasar salad and BLT salad were both more deconstructed than my preference, but were tasty. Grouper entree was nicely seared.

Note that the meat here is true prime, unlike Capital Grille, so ironically you can get a better steak than at Darden’s steak restaurant!

Bananas Foster is also deconstructed, with flaming 151 rum poured over the ingredients at the table.

Service was phenomenal. Even on the fourth day of operation, the place was running like a well oiled machine, friendly and hyper observant to any need.

A great new addition to Restaurant Row.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
7488 West Sand Lake Road
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 355-3011