Update: Cha Gordo (Fat Tea) – This is where you need to go for brunch!
Fat Rice is the restaurant everyone and their mother has been talking about recently. I wanted to see for myself if this number four rated best restaurant in America 2013 (according to Bon Appetit) lived up to the hype. Waiting for an hour for a table can be a pain but the set up at Fat Rice makes it bearable (does anyone take reservations anymore?). Meaning there is a dedicated server for the people waiting in the outside seating that will promptly feed you drinks.
The menu is based on food from Macau serving “Euro-Asian comfort food.” What that means is a mix of great flavors with roots from Portugal, Asia, India and Spain and a whole lot of lemongrass, garlic, sauces, curry, sausage, vegetables, noodles and seafood.
I started with the Kalimotxo, described as “sangria-like” with Luberri Rioja “Biga”, coca-cola and lemon. It was a tasty twist on sangria and the cola actually works with it. Continue reading
There really isn’t anything not to like at Farmhouse Tavern. You feel like you are in a shabby chic farmhouse with details like the rustic stain glass windows, exposed brick, mix and match chairs, and copper wire lights. Most of the decor is salvaged from around Chicago. The service is very welcoming and very good at helping you make the tough decision of which dish and beverage you should pick. Last but not least, the food is fresh, fresh, fresh.
Everything is either house made or sourced from local farms in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. “Farm-to-table” is definitely a trend but the food here actually tastes like it just came off the farm. They have a huge craft beer selection and get this, Michigan wine on tap. I had a house made cucumber and basil soda and it was refreshing with the perfect balance of savory and sweet.
Click here to see what we ate and a peek inside the restaurant!
Katsu is refreshingly not trendy (untrendy?). From the traditional Japanese menu to the minimal decor to the actual location. Chef-owner Katsu Imamura serves up authentic Japanese for those that appreciate fish and his years of experience.
Zagat rated Katsu number one over the likes of Alinea and Vie as Chicago’s best restaurant. There is a reason why it’s been open for over two decades. Chef Imamura and his wife have cultivated great relationships with fish purveyors around the world so you can enjoy not only ultra fresh fish but also hard to find and lesser known quality fish.
We stopped in here for an early quick dinner on a weekday (I’ll be back when I have more time and appetite). The sushi counter is always the best seat in the house because you are in the middle of the action. Watching nimble hands crafting small works of art one after another and while conversing with the sushi chefs and your neighbors.
The theme for the night was “melt-in-your mouth” because that is essentially what every bit of food did. The generous portions of salmon nigiri with gold flecks and roemelted like a rich butter.
Even cooked items dazzled the palate like the kitchen special for the day, Grilled Silver Codfish. Described as “very tasty and juicy fresh Silver Codfish grilled ans served with fresh green vegetables.” You could eat it with a spoon and it fell apart once it hit your mouth. Cooked perfectly and full of rich flavor for the usually mild flavored fish.
We did not order the omakase (chef’s choice of tasting menu) but once I finally do Katsu will be the restaurant it will happen in. I am confident it will be money well spent. You can still find more Americanized items such as rolls. We settled for a selection that was heavy on the fish and light on the sauces, always a good sign.
I am a big fan of beer with sushi and this Red Rice Hitachino Nest Beer was fantastic. Just the right amount of sweet notes and bitter to be complex enough to stand up to the sushi but not over power it in taste. I’m also a fan of the White Ale. From an aesthetic stand-point the label is pretty cute.
Sliced oranges for dessert was the perfect end to this amazing meal. Katsu is for those who appreciate high quality fish presented in a traditional Japanese manner. Your dinner will not be cheap but as they say, you get what you pay for.
Katsu 2651 W Peterson Ave Chicago, IL 60659
This tiny breakfast spot on the corner of Church Street is off the beaten path but that doesn’t stop the crowds from flocking here. If it weren’t for the line outside it would be easy to miss Mike & Patty’s as it blends into the neighborhood. That and the smell of bacon.
Life is good when you get invited to a chocolate tasting. I ventured over to my old neighborhood, Ukrainian Village, to Takito Kitchen for a chocolate tasting hosted by TCHO Chocolate and Fortune Fish & Gourment . The whole event was inspiring from the restaurant space, friendly wait staff, incredible food and of course, amazing chocolate.