Warning: do not watch this episode or read this review if you have eaten at Ann Maria’s in Dunmore, PA before Robert Irvine showed up. You may become sick at what you are about to see or read. But if you want to learn how to make chicken francese, then you can just skip to the bottom, otherwise be prepared to hear the tail of “clean kitchen…impossible?”.
Anna Maria’s Resturant & Catering | Click here for restaurant’s website
Anna Marie’s has been around since 1985. Sadly, the original owner passed away before the airing of the show. His wife and son are now in charge. This time around Robert was faced with fixing a restaurant that included pink table cloths, ugly wallpaper, and a kitchen that was so disgusting it made Robert throw up. Yes, he actually blew chunks. The kitchen was so bad, he stopped service immediately when discovering the depths of it’s dirtiness. He had to hire a deep cleaning crew and they had to work through the night to get the place clean. Makes you wonder how bad a restaurant’s kitchen is, since you never see it for yourself. I think if the dinning area is dirty, you don’t want to know how bad the kitchen is (and you don’t want to eat there).
We never got to see what the restaurant’s food was like. Robert had to take the chef to another location to show him his skills while the kitchen was being cleaned. Their chef then made a chicken francese, which did not meet Robert’s expectation, so he received instructions on how to do it right.
Chicken Francese | Click here for my review of this recipe
This is a pretty simple dish with ingredients you probably have on hand. It’s a chicken that is coated in breading and then fried in a pan. It is all topped off with a chicken stock/butter sauce, along with a bit of lemon and parsley. The key is to make your pan is hot enough, when you place the chicken in, otherwise you end up with a soggy mess.
Tomato Herb Mussels | Click here for the recipe
This recipe features sun dried tomatoes that have been re-hydrated in some wine with some herbs. Then the mussels are added.
Chicken Francese was a recipe that Anna Maria’s was using before, so I imagine they would still be using it with Robert’s better technique. I checked the menu on their site and didn’t see this dish listed anymore same as the tomato herb mussels. I don’t know if they are using any of Robert’s menu ideas. Robert did have to spend a lot of time with cleaning this time. I don’t know if enough instruction went into making good food. A year after the episode aired I still have not read a positive review online. The place is still in business. If you have visited Anna Maria’s since the makeover, please share your experience in the comment section below.
If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:
This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.
In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.