Fusion, smut, and fish - Really!?

By Carmen Schmidt |

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We're always trying to mix-it-up at Check, Please! and this week's show is the very definition of eclectic! From an upscale meal at an unbelievable price to a restaurant that features brunch and porn there is definitely something for everyone in this week's show! Really!

Are you ready for an upscale prix fixe, multi-course meal, perfectly prepared, uniquely flavored, and artfully presented for around $25? Yes, you read that correctly! In this week's show guest reviewer Greg Gurley reveals the best kept dining secret in Bridgeport - Han 202. This is not your "around-the-corner" carry-out Chinese restaurant offering shrimp fried rice. No. Han 202 offers a multi-course meal of uniquely paired ingredients like perfectly seasoned beef over a salad of shredded green apple or monkfish in a delicate black bean sauce, followed by a decadent chocolate truffle dessert. Guests choose from a selection of dishes for each course. Good luck making a decision because according to our guest reviewers everything is wonderful. Chef Guan Chen wants his guests to truly enjoy the flavors he puts together through a fusion of the best ingredients and techniques from Asian and American cuisine. If you visit the website for Han 202, you will find the story behind the restaurant's name. It is the inspiration for Chef Chen's fusion creations. In a nutshell, it describes the Chinese Han Dynasty of 202 B.C. and how, after losing a battle due to an inadequate breed of horse, the Han people bred a hybrid horse that rivaled their opponent's and won the next battle. The idea of taking two known items and blending them to create something new and bold is what fusion is all about. Our guest reviewers all agreed that Chef Chen, a humble master at his craft, reaches his goal of creating something memorable and delicious. And, since it is BYOB you really can't beat the value for this quality, fine dining experience. The only drawback to this restaurant is that it is small and quite intimate. When people hear about this place, it's sure to be full so make your reservations now!

If prix fixe is not your style and you're looking for some great whiskey and burgers, then guest reviewer Erica Hennes has the place for you. If you see a skeleton riding a motorcycle at Ogden and Grand, then you've found the Twisted Spoke, a self-proclaimed "family biker bar." Wait, did I really just write "family biker bar"? Our reviewers say this place is definitely not just for bikers...the crowd is a good mix of young and old, "yuppie" and ordinary guy. There's a huge selection drinks, the widest selection of whiskeys around, and a great menu of Mexican and American bar foods. Now, while it may seem like a mild-mannered bar setting serving the ever-popular Bad Boy burger and fries on a Tuesday afternoon, the manners are thrown "through-the-window" at midnight on Saturdays. Be warned that at midnight a delightful brunch menu becomes available as you and your guests can enjoy a selection of pornographic videos. Really! This two-and-a-half hours of porn and brunch in the wee hours is what they call "Smut & Eggs." Go ahead check out the website for more details.

Cue the light jazz music...we need to change the mood a little. Guest reviewer Elaine Michelini reveals her favorite special occasion recommendation in Evanston. Oceanique is a classy, upscale seafood restaurant, providing a serene, fine-dining experience. The food was fantastic, but reviewers Greg and Erica wanted more from the experience. The quiet atmosphere was a little unsettling for Erica, but all agreed that the seafood and desserts were exceptional. Maybe they could liven the place up with some creative movies in the late evening? (Just kidding.)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so I hope you have wonderful dining plans whether they are at home, with friends, at grandma's, or at your favorite special occasion restaurant. New episodes of Check, Please! will return again in January 2012!

Happy holiday eating!

Carmen M. Schmidt
Associate Producer, Check, Please!
WTTW