A restaurant in downtown Peoria is serving a taste of the Big Easy.
It has Cajun and Creole; toned-down or spicy-hot.
Eric Shangraw is having lunch at "Beignet's (bin-yae's) On The Corner" in this week's You Gotta Eat.
Beignet's On The Corner is a little slice of New Orleans in downtown Peoria. The interior is comfortable casual while still maintaining an air of elegance. An original concept. The Cajun and creole recipes are localized for the central Illinois pallet. But they're happy to turn it up a notch or two if you like to perspire during a meal.
"Our motto here is we can always add more but we can't take it away," said co-owner and operator Teresa Johnson.
"We do have a ghost chili sauce," explained co-owner and chef Reid Noe. "Ghost chilies are one of the hottest peppers in the world and they are delicious if you enjoy heat. They're make you cry. They'll make you turn red," he said.
"Great flavors and it is well prepared," said customer Sherry Seckler.
"It is a wonderful ambiance and great location," said customer Karen Disharoon. "You can sit outside. Really nice. Cozy," she said.
Photographer Joe Bennet and I started with Crawfish Etoufee. The little guys are cooked in a flaming wine and served in a brown roux sauce with parsley rice. Just a little meat in this appetizer but loaded with flavor. The House Salad is a spring mix with grapefruit, artichoke hearts, toasted almond and avocado. Very smart. Very nice.
Joe followed with Salmon Piccata. The salmon served with a butter-garlic-caper sauce and green pepper, onion, celery and carrots.
I had Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage. The Cajun sausage comes with fresh mushroom, garlic, green onions, red beans and a bed of parsley rice. Both dishes nicely seasoned for our local pallets.
For dessert Joe had a strawberry shortbread chocolate mousse. I split the restaurants namesake with the restaurant landlord Pat Sullivan. A beignets is a fried dough pastry made to order with powdered sugar. Its served with a lemon and chocolate sauce. Close your eyes and turn away if your counting calories. As delicious as it sounds. Our bill with drinks; $63.95 plus tip.
Beignet's is a bold effort in the meat and potatoes Midwest.
Beignet's On The Corner is open six days a week. They serve lunch on weekdays. Reservations are recommended.
Beignet's On The Corner
100 State Street