Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Karyn's on Green
I'm so excited, I can barely contain myself. Last night the sweetest man invited me to dinner. When he said we were going to Karyn's latest addition, I was thinking casual, dark, and snugly. Karyn's Cooked is where we had our second or third date and it was so cozy. So, I was a little nervous when we pulled up to this very chic, glass, minimalist establishment. I probably should have dressed a little nicer.
Though the decor at Karyn's on Green is haut and the menu is artful, the service and company were that same "comfortable/cozy" that has become synonymous with Karyn's. Boy, was I happy AND appreciative. It was a good night for me and my date.
First things first: We were blown away by the cocktail menu. I believe a Sazerac to be the test for an accomplished mixologist, and I was not disappointed. My date was feeling a bit more creative and opted for The Southside. Although I didn't take a taste, it looked like a really inventive margarita. I guess he liked it as he went through more than one.
And the menu was amazing. I'm a big fan of restaurants who offer small and large plates, as I can't eat a lot, but I want a lot (does that make sense?). I started with Wild Mushroom Risotto. It was ...well, it was a really generous portion, for a small plate. And it was rich and creamy, with big chunks of wild mushrooms. I gobbled down about 2/3's before remembering to save room for dessert.
My date started with a chopped salad that I did manage to taste. It was incredible. There were big chunks of cucumbers and squash and all sorts of other vegetables. These were tossed with the perfect vinaigrette. My mouth is actually watering right now, just thinking of his salad. Not bad, huh?
For our main course, I went with the Caesar salad, and he opted for the Shepherd's Pie. Both may seem a little ordinary, but think about it...both are classics, with very distinctive tastes, and could be difficult to pull off vegan.
My salad was perfection. The taste was totally in keeping with a traditional Caesar, but with little bits of olive powder. And my dates shepherd's pie was totally traditional, but anything but ordinary. It had that perfect brown gravy, and was loaded with browned seitan, and oodles of vegetable chunks...all topped with browned creamed potatoes. Perfect.
And, of course, there is always dessert with me. Our Banana's Foster was a combination of several exquisite elements. Any one of these would have made a fabulous dessert, but combined, it was and over-the-top-banana-sensation! Vanilla-bean ice cream, with little coconut cookies and some rum-braised bananas, and others that were dehydrated or roasted or something that made them very banana-y and crisp.
I'm still excited about Karyn's on Green. It's been over 24 hours and still...the thought makes a smile come over my face. What a great restaurant! What a wonderful man who always considers my passions and my commitments when making plans for us. I have the biggest crush...on the guy and on risotto! If you're in Chicago you MUST try Karyn's on Green (or Karyn's Cooked or Karyn's Raw)! IF you live here, go early and often!!!