This night has been in the planning since my wife heard “Dracula” was coming to the River Campus Theater in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. On our way to the play we had the standard couples discussion: Where do you want to eat? I don’t know. Where do you want to eat? Actually it wasn’t that bad we had actually narrowed it down to 3 places before we left the house. Seeing as we were all dressed up I decided on a place we hadn’t been before that was a little fancier than the other two. Celebrations Restaurant . We did not have reservations but fortunately we showed up early and were able to be seated. While we waited for seating it was suggested we sit in the library. In the entrance way to the restaurant there is a seating area with a wall length book shelf and a very classic elegant feel to it. After a short wait we were seated and as could be seen the elegance carried throughout the dining area. The layout of the building seems strange until you read the story in the menu and discover this historically was a daycare, then all the side rooms make sense.
After being seated and choosing a style of water to drink , yes you read that correctly. We received our menus and decided on an appetizer of potato gnocchi with braised beef brisket. Our drinks were brought out and my wife’s wine poured from a decanter. While waiting on our appetizer the server brought us a salmon amuse bouche to start the dinner off. The flavors in this little bite were impressive. The appetizer came and was amazing. The gnocchi soaked up the flavors of the braised brisket ragout that was obviously slow cooked for some time as all the flavors were melded together as only slow cooking can do. Along with the occasional crunch from a bit of pistachio which gave the dish a nice textural contrast.
Our soup was brought next and then split into two bowls as we were sharing the dish. I believe it was a mushroom arugula squash bisque. I know bad travel/restaurant writer I forgot exactly what I was eating. I did as my wife if she remembered and all she said was “Good, good it what it was.” I agree it was amazing. This is the kind of soup you need sitting on the front porch of a cabin in the woods in a rocking chair with a blanket and a fire pit just watching the fall season slip through. This was comfort food to a T.
As the dinner continued our entrees were just as impressive as everything else. She got the pan roasted chicken breast and me, strip steak and risotto. Could I have went with something different? yes. Was I not being adventurous, that was not the case. Any one that knows me, knows I cook steak and risotto often. This was an order of comparison. I wanted to see how their dish compared with what I know I can cook. The verdict is I was impressed. The steak was done exquisitely, nice sear, cooked as ordered (Medium Rare), and finished with a nice seasoned butter on top. The risotto was nailed! Al dente like I like it with an earthiness from the mushroom and a cleansing sharpness from the Parmesan. There there was the roasted brussel sprouts slightly charred and rich earthy flavors. I was thoroughly impressed with the entire dish.
My wife’s dish blew me away. Im thinking booring a pan roasted chicken breast, I’m sure they are good enough to cook it without drying it out and that will be it. Was I mistaken or what. Don’t get me wrong they did know how to not dry it out, but not only that make the skin some of the crispiest skin on a chicken breast I have ever had. This was like deep fried chicken crisp in a pan roasted juicy breast. It was just phenomenal. Along with this was a mushroom and cheese bread pudding and roasted squash and zucchini. I was blown away by the elegance of both dishes. I never would have believed there was fine dining like this in our little area.
But wait there is more… Yes desert I believe my wife had this spotted before she even ordered her food as she didn’t need to see the menu again to know exactly what she wanted. The Chocolate Truffle Torte. While we were waiting the server brought an assortment of small cookies and gave us a few to nibble on while we waited. The desert came and it was the prettiest dish of the night, except for my wife that is 😉 , A chocolate truffle torte wedge, next to it a ramekin with chocolate and whipped cream, all surrounded by a chocolate and caramel border with raspberries on the plate. Topped off with a designed shortbread cookie standing tall out of the ramekin. This was delectable and I’m not even a dessert kind of guy. The soft creamy texture of the torte, the creamy chocolate and whipped cream, and all that sweetness could be cut with a tart raspberry.
After this wonderful dinner we did head off to the play and it was a blast to watch. The set was enveloping. The actors / actresses which I’m assuming are all students did great jobs. I give credit to all the cast they did their parts perfectly. Extra credit goes to the actress playing Mary Sullivan who did get her hand slammed in a door during a scene and kept right on going, way to keep it together girl.
So should you ever find yourself in the Southeast Missouri area and are looking for an elegant place for dinner do not hesitate to go to Celebrations Restaurant. You will not be disappointed. I did leave out one of the most important parts as I failed to take picures of the drinks during dinner. Celebrations has a broad drink menu. A wide selection of wines, whiskies, beers, and cocktails. As a caveat I would suggest making reservations just to be safe. They are probably more expensive that what a person is used to in this area. Walking away from it did I feel we got what we paid for? Yes every bit of it.