By The Black Foodies
Chicago Public School Special Education Teacher, Vanetta Roy, is on a mission. Her mission is to help bring back a thriving economy to Chicago’s South Shore community. Her storefront restaurant, Surf’s Up, located at 2236 East 71st Street, is certainly going to be a part of the economic revival. With family roots from New Orleans, Ms. Roy decided on a Louisiana-inspired menu with an emphasis on seafood. However, word on the street is that Surf’s Up has a Hennessy cognac sauce that its customers cannot get enough of. With the constant word of mouth and increasing social media buzz, we decided to give Surf’s Up a visit.
Upon arrival, we eagerly looked over the menu and being Shrimp and Grits groupies, we decided to start there. We must say, Surf’s Up really delivered on their rendition of this southern classic. The grits were velvety and had the perfect amount of cheddar cheese. The preparation of the shrimp, however, is what made this shrimp and grits dish memorable. The shrimp were superbly seasoned and grilled, caramelizing the spices which formed a delectable outer crust. The fresh herbs topping amplified its flavor as well as its curb appeal. Top flight shrimp and grits!
We next sampled Surf’s Up Fried Lobster. That’s right, we said fried lobster! Two generous portions of lobster tail (totaling a quarter pound) are dredged and deep fried to a golden brown. This may sound simple enough, but the end result was amazing. A perfectly seasoned and crunchy exterior encapsulates sweet, juicy lobster, reminiscent of a New England lobster boil. Dip this in Surf’s Up tangy remoulade sauce and you have a new addiction on your hands. We had a side of collard greens that we affectionately called “mama’s greens.” Boy, were they scrumptious! The collards were tender with the smoked turkey rounding out the flavor of an excellently executed greens dish.
Now, for the moment of truth – Surf’s Up Hennessy Wings. We ordered the wings and actually got two WHOLE wings (not two wingettes) which were very, very good. The wings are dredged, deep fried and then immersed in a bath of their sensational Hennessy sauce. The sauce has a slight spicy note, a hint of sweetness, followed by the bold flavor of the cognac. The components of the sauce seamlessly mingled with one another, creating a delightfully unique condiment. We also loved the fact that even while coated with the sauce, the wings retained a crunchy exterior. We were so impressed, we ordered twenty wings to go.
To cap off the meal, we ordered Fried Biscuits. The fried biscuits are Surf’s Up interpretation of New Orleans-style beignets. These mini biscuits are light and airy – like little pillows – and topped with butter and powdered sugar. Miss Coretta said she’d love to eat these heavenly bites every day with her morning coffee.
Vanetta Roy is doing some phenomenal things at Surf’s Up. We suggest you try the Crab Legs, the Catfish, the Perch and the Shrimp. And, by all means, don’t forget to order a side of the Hennessy sauce. Surf’s Up also provides fresh and flavorful sides. If you’re ever in the area, make sure you check out their Maywood location. Being an educator has taught Ms. Roy the importance of paying close attention to detail, and she definitely has done so at Surf’s Up, leaving no stones unturned when it comes to quality. So, make your way to Surf’s Up and get acquainted with great Louisiana-style food with a Chicago spin.
We rank restaurants based on number of kisses (one thru five). One…two…three…four, with five being the best. Surf’s Up receives 5 kisses. Check out the video of our review https://youtu.be/ldLWpdlpI-o
The Black Foodies are food bloggers/vloggers and husband and wife of 25 years. We are also home cooks who believe in group economics and LOVE great food. We write the food blog ‘Let’s Eat’, where we review black-owned and other ethnic restaurants. FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter @theblackfoodies, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel ‘The Black Foodies’, where we review restaurants, share recipes, and give cooking tips. https://youtu.be/f1fsSQ24wgQ. Also LIKE us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, ‘World Wide Black Foodies’.
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