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Posts tagged ‘CRW’

There is Nothing Little About It: Embeya (Now Closed)

For dinner, I chose to experience the Restaurant Week menu offered by a restaurant located in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood by the name of Embeya. This sexy establishment is located on the northeast corner of Randolph and Jefferson.

Embeya

Embeya

Yes, I said sexy. Everything was inviting. The decor drew me in and the flavors kept me captivated and satisfied. I didn’t have to do anything but enjoy the moment.

By the way, I did have to decide if I wanted 3 courses or 4 courses. I proudly chose 4 courses since I had studied the menu earlier that afternoon. Unlike Blackbird, you received every dish listed for each course.

WARNING: Bring your appetite.

Embeya CRW Menu

Embeya CRW Menu

Embeya means ‘little one’ in Vietnamese. The Asian Progressive restaurant did not deliver a ‘little’ experience. Embeya exceeded my expectations with each course.

The First Course:

Octopus

Octopus


Green Papaya

Green Papaya

The Optional Course:

Clams & Grilled Quail

Clams & Grilled Quail

The Main Course (not showing Thit Heo Kho & Fried Rice):

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts


Garlic Chicken

Garlic Chicken

Dessert:

Pineapple Marmalade

Pineapple Marmalade


Creme Puff

Creme Puff

I am a fan of coconut. I found myself wanting to tilt my head back & slurp the remaining broth left in the bowl after I finished the clams. Instead, I remembered my manners and used my spoon to shovel the broth in my mouth. The octopus was a winner also. The octopus replaces kampachi found on the online CRW menu.

Embeya offers a restaurant week menu for lunch ($22) and dinner (3 courses for $33 or 4 courses for $44). Tax, tip, and beverage are not included.

I will be returning back to Embeya. I suggest that you make your reservation and you tell me how it is. The staff at Embeya will be happy that you stopped by. I don’t think you will regret it.

My CRW @ Embeya

My CRW @ Embeya

Chicago Restaurant Week 1st Stop: Blackbird

Clean contemporary lines and attentive service are two characteristics that describes the first restaurant I visited during Chicago Restaurant Week (or 2 Weeks since it began 1/28 and will end 2/6). This afternoon I went to lunch with fashionista, RD. We had the pleasure to experience Blackbird.

Blackbird

Blackbird

I would walk past this West Loop restaurant (619 W. Randolph Street) and simply wonder. They were not at the First Bites Bash. So when RD chose this restaurant, I didn’t have any complaints because I knew I would satisfy my curiosity once and for all.

For Restaurant Week they are offering a Lunch Prix Fixe for $22 per person (tax, tip, and beverages are not included).

Blackbird Lunch Prix Fixe Menu CRW

Blackbird Lunch Prix Fixe Menu CRW

I suggest that you make reservations to ensure that you will get a table for lunch. Today, the artic temperatures resulted in a cold weather advisor; but people still made their way to Blackbird. The staff worked diligently to ensure walk-ins had the opportunity to dine.

I started with the butternut squash soup (lemon ricotta, fried shallots, and compressed quince).

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

For the entrée I chose, the wood-grilled sturgeon (salsify, black trumpet mushrooms, buckwheat, and grapefruit).

Wood-grilled Sturgeon

Wood-grilled Sturgeon

The final dish I chose for dessert was the dark rum cheesecake (with pineapple shaved ice, caramelized puffed rice, kinako, mustard).

Dark Rum Cheesecake

Dark Rum Cheesecake

Each dish proved to be a progression of pleasure with each bite. The wood-grilled sturgeon was the star of the lunch for me. Sometimes fish is overcooked in spots. This was not an issue at Blackbird. The sturgeon was grilled to perfection–moist, flavorful, and light. I must admit that as I type, I wonder how they made the pineapple shaved ice–perplexing.

WARNING: This is a contemporary restaurant that does not stuff the plates. They served single servings. In other words, do not expect for the server to ask if you would like the leftovers wrapped up.

Give Blackbird a try and tell me what you think.

Foodie Paradise: First Bites 2014

What brings over 1000 people from various ethnicities and socioeconomic classes out to brave the below zero temperatures and converge on The Great Hall at Union Station located in my lovely city of Chicago? The answer is First Bites Bash.

First Bites Bash 2014

First Bites Bash 2014

First Bites Bash is the opening public reception for Chicago’s Restaurant Week (this year it lasts 2 weeks). Restaurants and liquor distributors around the city of Chicago provide tasty samples of the offerings they will showcase during this 2 week period.

I sampled a variety of tacos, seafood dishes, and delightful desserts while I bounced to the rhythms of the dj.

My favorite savory bites of the night were: El Barco’s Ceviche Tocho Morocho (fish, shrimp, octopus ceviche served on a tostado with salsa negra & chipotle), Standard Market Grill’s Crispy Thai Shrimp (crispy shrimp, spicy Thai dressing, lettuce cups, and candied sesame peanuts), and Big Star’s Mole Almiendero De Borrego (slow roasted lamb tacos with cherry almond mole, dark chocolate, chopped nuts, queso de chivo, and fresh mint).

My favorite dessert bites of the night were: ZED451’s Gluten-free Chocolate Marquis, Farmhouse Tavern’s Fruitcake (not your typical fruitcake), and TABLE fifty-two’s Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with butter cream filling.

Bites @ First Bite 2014

Bites @ First Bite 2014

The best bites were on the main floor. The bites served in the Goose Island’s Beer Company’s To What’s Next Lounge fell flat on taste. I quickly returned to the main area.

My honorable mentions are:
Beatrix
Bistronomic
Carnivale
Gallery Bar
The GRID
Local Root
Rockit Bar & Grill
South Water Kitchen
Tavern on Rush
tesori

By no means are the honorable mentions 2nd best. Each of these restaurants presented flavorful, thoughtful, quality dishes. NOTE: It is not my preference to eat pork dishes. There were a number of restaurants that showcased pork bites and they truly looked amazing. I didn’t experience those dishes.

My first First Bites Bash experience was amazingly awesome. This will not be my last.

If you are in the Chicago area during 1/24/2014 to 2/6/2014, visit one of the restaurants participating in Chicago Restaurant Week. Click on CRW for more information.