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Dine In: Two of Our Favorite Eateries Let Us In on the Secrets Behind Their Signature Recipes

Jane Humphrey | June 4, 2020 | Food & Drink Features

With all of our recent time spent at home, culinary chops have been put to the test. Luckily, two of our favorite eateries let us in on the secrets behind their signature recipes so we can bring the magic home.

The Charles

This Design District hot spot touts a well-curated menu and an impressive wine selection. Chef J. Chastain, known by most as chef J., shares his go-to dish for an exceptional meal at home. “This dish is very simple,” he says, “but getting it balanced just right is difficult. The acid, chili and butter come together to complement each other and make a flavor that is so craveable, you never want to see the bottom of the bowl!”


Creste di Gallo

4 oz. rock shrimp

2 cloves garlic

1 shallot

½ Tbsp. olive oil

½ Tsp. chili flake

3 oz. white wine

1 oz. lemon juice

2 oz. butter

8 oz. fresh creste di gallo pasta

Fresh parsley, tarragon, basil


Drop pasta in boiling salted water for 3 ½ minutes. While that is cooking, saute shrimp in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add garlic and shallot, and cook until softened. Deflate with lemon juice and white wine. Add chili flake, then reduce the liquid in the pan by half. Pull off the heat; add pasta, butter and fresh herbs. Toss until well-coated. Enjoy!

Al Biernat’s

This culinary institution has been going strong since its doors first opened. What’s the secret in the sauce? Impeccable cuisine and friendly faces—starting with its namesake, Al Biernat. For a five-star meal at home, he suggests the Al’s Salad, of course. “I created the salad initially as a seafood salad,” he says, “and over time, as customers told me what they wanted to add, the salad kept evolving. ... If you happen to catch me on my lunch break, you will find me eating the Al’s Salad. But I’m happy to share, there’s enough to go around.”


Al’s Salad

Salad ingredients
2 oz. cut green beans (approx. ¼ inch)

2 oz. cut hearts of palm

2 oz. cut, peeled and chilled boiled shrimp

2 oz. diced tomatoes

2 oz. jumbo fresh lump crabmeat

2 oz. field greens

3 slices avocado

Dressing ingredients

1 Tbsp. finely diced red bell pepper

1 Tbsp. finely diced green bell pepper

1 Tbsp. finely diced yellow bell pepper

4 oz. mayonnaise

2 oz. ketchup

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 oz. red wine vinegar

½ oz. champagne vinegar


Whisk dressing ingredients in a bowl. Separately, mix salad ingredients in bowl. Add the dressing to the salad and lightly handtoss. Garnish with avocado.


Photography by: Photos by Gustav Schmiege/courtesy of Al Biernat’s; courtesy of Plug Public Relations