It
didn't take long after reaching our table to sense that Farradday's
- in the Isle of Capri casino in Bettendorf - wanted to be
noticed. The place settings alone would have screamed "First
impression!" if decorum allowed. The silverware was polished to
such a mirrored shine that I was embarrassed to leave a fingerprint.
The stemware was likewise spotless - nearly invisible. Even the
water tumblers were as finely crafted as an eggshell. I appreciated
seeing a sea-salt grinder on the table that matched the
brushed-stainless pepper mill.

I
planned for an elegant dinner out last month. It was important to me
that everything should be extraordinary, with nothing taken for
granted - not the room, not the service, and certainly not the
food. Too often, visiting a restaurant amounts to nothing more than
escaping one's kitchen - a convenience rather than an experience,
a meal rather than an event. But I wanted this night to be memorable.

We
have some picky eaters in our house, so visiting a restaurant as a
family is not something we do often. Usually only one or two of our
children tag along with us to a place that is carefully selected for
its ability to provide a dish that has a better-than-50-percent
chance of being consumed. With this criterion in mind, I took my
12-year-old son with me on a mid-June Friday night to Au Jus in
Milan. Formerly called Hodge Podge, the new restaurant opened in
August. Turns out I picked the right kid, anyway.

"You
are new here!" he beamed.

He
was right, of course. Our host/owner Xuan "Suni" Nguyen greeted
us immediately when we entered his dining room, and his regular
diners were smiling at a routine they must have witnessed dozens of
times.

the Maid-Rite sandwich
Sloppy
Joes, Reubens, meatball subs, and the Big Mac all have one essential
ingredient that makes the sandwich: a special sauce. But at
Maid-Rite, you can't say the secret's in the sauce, because there
isn't any. The absence of sauce is what sets this loose-meat
sandwich apart from the crowd.





If
necessity is the mother of invention, then Boetje's Stoneground
Mustard was born from 19th Century American cuisine.

 

Steve
and Nancy Rosetti opened The Faithful Pilot Café &
Spirits, located at 117 North Cody Road in LeClaire, in 1991. Voted
on several occasions as one of the area's most romantic restaurants
in the River Cities' Reader's
"Best of the Quad Cities" poll, the Faithful Pilot remains a
favorite local destination.

Quad Cities Dining Guide Registered users may download a PDF file of the River Cities' Reader's Spring/Summer 2008 Dining Guide.