The New Marriott Hotel in Uptown Normal is celebrating its' grand opening this weekend.
Eric Shangraw goes for lunch at the hotel's restaurant, in this week's You Gotta Eat.
Right off the swank lobby of the new Marriott is Jesse's Grille. Named after the founder of Normal, Jesse Fell, who was a friend of Abraham Lincoln, it is now a contender as one of the twin cities finer eateries.
"We are getting some better restaurants in Bloomington-Normal. I've been here several times," said customer Mary Hunt.
The décor feels like a Frank Lloyd Wright collection. But the menu runs the gamut.
"Largely continental cuisine. It is bascially comfort food done well. Things you are going to be familiar with, with some new twists. Pot roast sliders! That kind of stuff," said restaurant manager Joel Roberts.
Three corporate attorney's and an accountant who made a donation to the Special Olympics joined me for lunch.
Kristin ordered a lobster burger. Back in the kitchen: the lobster is poached in butter and served on a Brioche roll with fresh avocado and a Tarragon dressing. It is presented in triplicate on a banana leaf and is simply brilliant.
Jessica the accountant had Hummus which comes with grilled flat bread and celery for dipping. She also had a side of fresh vegetables.
Kelly feasted on Buffalo shrimp with blue cheese and more made in the kitchen flat bread. The shrimp is seasoned in Cajun spices.
And finally Katie, she liked the fresh ingredients used to make her flat bread with mushrooms, goat cheese and arugula. She too was a satisfied customer.
"It was great. I really appreciate that the flat bread was made in house and that the ingrediants were fresh," said Katie Ruder.
"I had the buffalo shrimp flat bread which was great. It was very spicy. The blue cheese was creamy," said Kelly Charnock.
"I liked the Hummus and want to come back to see what new Hummus selections the chef is going to add to the menu," said Jessica Gieson.
"It was good and the price was right, I'll come back," said Kristin Givens.
I also had the exquisite Lobster sliders.
Jesse's has its' own pastry chef. We sampled his work:
-Swiss Double Chocolate cheesecake, very rich.
-Key-lime pie: not lime-green: a Florida Key's style key-lime.
-And Allegro: a mouse-trilogy with fresh berries served in a flying saucer-like plate. They're all delicious.
With drinks our bill for five: 91-dollars plus tip.
For an elegant meal in McLean County: Jesse's Grille is worthy of its multi-million dollar surroundings.
Jesse's Grille is open seven days a week. They close for a couple of hours each afternoon.
201 Broadway Avenue
Open 7 days a week