The Review / 773 North
New American cuisine shines at a Grand Island bistro
Pot roast shepherd’s pie
Photos by kc kratt
2749 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island
773-6678 or 773north.com
Stop for a moment and think about your next great meal. Chances are, you’re thinking about somewhere downtown or maybe the Southtowns—probably not Grand Island.
Grand Island’s culinary landscape has been, with the exception of a few establishments, light on excellent dining options, but 773 North—located at 2749 Grand Island Boulevard—is changing that reputation one meal at a time with its standout new American cuisine.
After hearing good things, we made 773 North, which opened in February, a mid-fall date night destination. The weather was typical of late October, drizzly and dark, as we ducked inside. The restaurant holds just nine tables and three booths, separated into two distinct areas, one for dining and the other a bar. Warm colors on the walls, a dark ceiling, and modern décor—along with candles and fresh flowers on every table—create a cozy atmosphere.
Once we were situated, our server presented a full list of specialty cocktails. I chose a seasonal drink—a caramel apple martini—and my husband, his usual, a Long Island iced tea. A mini cinnamon stick in the martini was a nice touch, one of many to come.
I can tell a lot about a place by its bread. It’s a deceptively simple offering, but the effort put into it—or not—often foreshadows the meal. The baguette arrived with pesto butter and was presented prettily on a cutting board. “Carbs are l-i-i-i-fe,” said our server as she set it on the table. (Yes, yes they are.) Steam escaped as we split the crusty loaf. The pesto butter melted into the bread, creating what felt like summer in France, all in one glorious bite.
Shrimp bisque; elevated comfort food and a seasonal cocktail menu please patrons at 733 North.
We happened to go during Restaurant Week, so we snagged a couple of deals that included soup, entrees, and desserts. I went with tomato basil soup and my husband, shrimp bisque. The tomato basil was both creamy and tangy—bursting with flavor—and, with the bread, hearty and delightful. It could easily have served as its own entree.
As the meal proceeded, there were a couple of hiccups. At many restaurants, mistakes happen, but no compensation is offered. Not here. Our waitress forgot to put in our appetizer order. Apologetic, she offered to bring me another drink on the house. She also put in the wrong entree order for my husband. To compensate, she left it on the table and brought out the correct plate, so he ended up with two entrees, which was fine with him. We were still smiling.
I never order pot roast, because it just makes me feel acute disappointment for not measuring up to my mom’s, but after hearing rave reviews on this particular dish, I put aside my hesitations and made an exception. I ordered the pot roast shepherd’s pie ($16), and my husband ordered the parmesan-crusted chicken ($18).
The pot roast, served in a cast iron skillet, featured a mound of smoked gouda whipped potatoes in the center surrounded by braised beef, with crispy fried onions heaped on top and, on the side, maple bourbon carrots. The expertly seasoned beef was a comfort food triumph. Unfortunately, however, the baby carrots, as they often are, were bland.
Apple crisp with vanilla ice cream; seasonal cocktail
The panko-breaded chicken cutlet was fried to a perfect crispiness, with the meat still juicy inside, a tricky combination to achieve. The lemon basil orzo on the side was light and summery. The “mistake” entree was classic chicken parmesan, with al dente fettuccini and a bright, smooth tomato sauce.
We finished with an apple crisp. The apples were salty, sweet, and full of cinnamon, and, with the dollop of homemade whipped cream and vanilla ice cream, a wholly satisfying cap to an autumnal meal. My husband’s face lit up when he tasted the other option, carrot cake, and he pronounced it equally as good.
773 North is worth a trip over the bridge. Executive chef Christy Zippier, along with her husband Jason Zippier, are serving their own interpretations of American classics, and they’re doing it extremely well, with attention to detail and at an excellent price point. Our bill, including a military discount, came to $70, which included drinks.
Has 773 North set a new dining standard for Grand Island? That’s for each guest to decide, but it left me wanting more. Much more.