Lure in Owensboro offers classic European and American seafood dishes

OWENSBORO, Ky. — Evansville diners often crave more upscale seafood in the area. Here’s your chance to find a love that was there all along.

It’s been almost five years since Lure Seafood and Grille opened on the Owensboro River. During this time, the restaurant has evolved by finding a solid foundation in the high quality classics of fish and shellfish from the ocean.

“It was a fun ride,” said owner Ben Skiadas, who grew up in his family’s Famous Bistro, also in Owensboro. “We have found our identity. We understand the palate here and have developed a good relationship with the locals and the traveling business clientele.

Ben Skiadas de Lure with his Bourbon Bacon Pork Chop, a Southern-inspired dish served with white Alabama barbecue sauce, roasted sweet potatoes, tobacco onions and a sweet corn casserole.

The restaurant opened with a sushi chef and modern, upscale dishes, then experimented a bit before finding the sweet spot of age-old continental seafood dishes combined with regional American specialties and a few modern twists.

“We played around with how to present Southern-inspired comfort food, European dishes, and new things that push the boundaries,” Skiadas said. “In this field, we need to offer everything, and that pushed us to perfect classic dishes while having fun.

The menu changes seasonally, but the main courses are largely dishes you’ve heard named – with respect – all your life.

Lobster Béarnaise, for example, tops grilled cold-water lobster tails with Béarnaise sauce, a traditional French sauce similar to Hollandaise, but with layers of sweet tarragon flavor.

Want luxury seafood?  Lure's Seafood Tower features a cold platter with chilled lobster, snow crab, shrimp and oysters;  and a warm filling of mussels, clams and garlic butter shrimp, split king crab and baguette.

Steak or salmon can be served “Oscar”, meaning it’s topped with fresh crabmeat, asparagus and Hollandaise sauce.

A whole section of the menu is dedicated to freshly shucked oysters. Here you’ll find baked Rockefeller oysters with spinach, Pernod, bacon and Parmesan; and Huîtres Mignonette, raw oysters with a light garnish of cucumber and champagne vinegar.

“We started fresh oysters as a specialty because we didn’t know if they would fly,” Skiadas said, “but we became synonymous with fresh oysters. Now we use a bushel a day. We source them up and down the East Coast depending on the weather and the season. Even fried oysters are shucked just before they are cooked.

Great southern recipes have all the pedigree of European dishes, with more spice.

An original creation of southern inspiration in Lure - smokehouse oysters with a fried oyster, bacon, cream of smoked corn and marinated onion jam.

At Lure, you will find jambalaya on the lunch menu, or choose a po’boy sandwich with fried oysters, prawns or andouille. Southern fried oysters are served with remoulade sauce, a Louisiana favorite resembling tartar sauce with a hint of mustard and additional spices.

On the evening menu, Jambalaya is enhanced with meaty blackened swordfish, and you can choose from an array of blackened seafood.

However, not all of Lure’s American specialties are southern. Salmon can be cooked on a cedar plank Pacific Northwest style, and Hawaiian poke delight is on the entree menu.

“We’re so proud of poké,” Skiadas said. “We started it as a starter, but moved it to the appetizer section because that’s how people ordered it. It’s part of Hawaii’s Asian influence. We make a homemade ponzu sauce and mix it with avocado, cucumber, red pepper, diced raw tuna, a little toasted sesame, sriracha and cilantro. It’s so light and delicious.

Lure's Ciccia Calimari combines lightly crispy fried calamari strips with a tangy balsamic sauce, fresh greens and pickled onion jam.

If you’re not in the mood for seafood, choose pasta, a chop or a steak: tenderloin, trimmed rib eye or chipotle flank steak. An “upgrades” section gives diners the option to add Oscar garnish, lobster in Bearnaise sauce, shrimp in garlic butter, blue cheese and more to any steak. You can also add crab, scallops or lobster to the menu.

There are plenty of options for those who don't fancy seafood in Lure.  A selection of creative, thick wagyu beef burgers on brioche buns, for example, is pretty irresistible.

Adapting your own dish is a theme at Lure. Sandwiches can be topped with a Black Hawk wagyu beef burger, grilled chicken breast or black bean burger and a number of meat and seafood toppings are offered with side salads. starter, so that each guest can be sure to have a dish that suits them.

Finally, even the dessert menu mixes European and southern classics.

“I wanted ornate French desserts to match some of our French entrees, but also local southern favorites, so we split the dessert menu,” Skiadas said. “We bring desserts from Ghyslain to Union City Indiana, and that’s a big deal. They are beautiful and when you walk in they are the first food you see. On site, we prepare crème brûlée, a banana waffle with ice cream and a slice of fried derby pie with chocolate, caramel and homemade candied pecans. Big, sweet desserts to share are a southern tradition.

European tortes are thin on the ground in this area.  At Lure, enjoy Ghyslain's L'Opéra cake with layers of almond sponge cake, espresso, coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache.

After five years, Lure is successfully offering what most local restaurants fail to try – a menu based on high quality seafood that is both expensive and perishable and difficult for restaurateurs. The combination of local seafood lovers, business clientele at the nearby Owensboro Regional Convention Center, exciting selections such as wagyu burgers at a lower price, and a consistency that draws diners from Evansville and Louisville made this possible.

Not only does Lure serve delicious seafood, but it's a beautiful and unique place with a great view of the Ohio River.  In the background, owner Ben Skiadas chats with a restaurant.

“Five years was a big goal for me,” Skiadas said. “It’s a big problem for any restaurant. Now we have people from Owensboro and people from the hotel, but a lot are from Evansville, Newburgh and some from Louisville.

If you are going to

Lure is located at 401 W. Second St. in Owensboro, on the lower level of the Hampton Inn.

Phone: 270-240-4556

Hours:

Monday – Saturday 11am-3pm, 4pm-10pm

Sunday 11am-3pm, 4pm-9pm

Lure is handicapped accessible.

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