We have dined at Scoozi a number of times, and as vegetarians we always can find something good. The olive oil for the bread is fantastic. The wine list is very good. We love the goat cheese appetizers, and the pasta options are great.
However, there were a few changes that have been made recently that disappointed us.
The first is that the pizzas have gone to a superthin cracker crust. The pizzas were great before --why change to the no-flavor dry cracker crust format that so depressingly pervades this city?
The second "change" was allegedly in the portion sizes for the appetizers. Our waiter told us that the appetizers had changed to one-person servings. Immediately that was frustrating because the prices had not changed. So had they become twice as expensive? Actually, no. We ordered two since there were two of us, and lo and behold, the sizes had NOT changed. While that's good news for the price, it did mean that we ordered two when one would have been enough. We felt cheated.
Scoozi consistently has good food. We go there probably twice per year and we're always pleased. But it was frustrating to experience these "changes". We'll go back, but not for pizza. And we won't be duped by the supposed change to one-person sizes for appetizers.
I want to like this place. Preferring California Mexican food, rather than the Tex-Mex so often found here in Chicago, going out for Mexican is always a gamble. And in many respects this place doesn't disappoint. GREAT margaritas. Excellent salsa and guacamole. And very decent food. But it's just decent. As a vegetarian I appreciate the abundance of potato and vegetable fillings available. But the sauce on the enchiladas, no matter which one I try, is just too smoky and thick for my taste. And the dishes do seem too fried. Maybe I'm searching for that impossible mix between Chipotle and Chi-Chi's. But I just haven't ever been pleased with the entrees here. The drinks and appetizers rock. But I'm still searching for good Mexican entrees.
I was pleasantly surprised by Indian Garden. We dine on Devon a lot, but had found a favorite in Viceroy. Pushing ourselves to try someplace new, we went with Indian Garden. We dined on a Monday night, so we very nearly had the place to ourselves. Atmosphere was clean and appealing. The service was fine, a little unattentive but then again it was pretty empty. I ordered the malai kofta, which is a favorite of mine. The sauce was a little flat; it almost tasted like it came from a can, but it had a nice spicy finish unlike other kofta sauces I've tried other places. The dumplings themselves, however, were among the best I've ever tried. The texture was perfect --a little sticky without being too mushy, and a great blend of flavors. I think that if I could take the dumplings from Indian Garden and the sauce from Viceroy, I'd have the perfect malai kofta! And that, in my book, makes Indian Garden well worth returning to. My fiance had a vegetarian sampler dish, and was really pleased with both the variety and the flavors. Combined with good wine offerings and a comfortable atmosphere, this place exceeded our expectations. We'll definitely return!
I liked Sappori Tratoria more than I thought I would. Being a vegetarian, I wasn't sure how much selection I would find, and I was worried that the abundance of Italian places in the city would make it a "just average" experience. Instead, I found a really cozy, friendly, and yet slightly upscale atmosphere, helpful and yet unpretentious service, and solidly good food. Five of us were dining that night, and we all loved our dishes. I had a very basic tomato basil pasta dish, but it had a complexity and flavor that I would return for. We all tried the avocado bruschetta, which I had seen recommended here, and weren't let down by its freshness and flavor. The price is reasonable, the feel is right. And the food stood up to and surpassed our expectations. I'll definitely go back!
We came on a Thursday evening and ordered two vegetarian combo meals, allowing us to sample a total of 8 dishes. We eat Ethiopian regularly, down in Edgewater, so perhaps our expectations were too high. But this place was mediocre at best. Nothing particularly wrong, but certainly nothing right. The lentils and peas all felt a little undercooked. But even more disappointing was the flavoring. I can't think of any other way to explain it other than to call it "canned" tasting. The flavors, while fine, were one-dimensional. Not at all hearty or complex. We ate almost everything and definitely left full, but we both decided that we wouldn't return, particularly with other good options (Ethiopian Diamond, Ras Dashen) nearby in Edgewater.
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We had a lovely meal at Scoozi. The calamari is perfectly fried and seasoned, and the goat cheese appetizer is velvety and fresh. Delicious bread, several types of gnocci to choose from, ample choices, and excellent service. We are vegetarians and could find a few options, and we certainly plan to return!