After hearing much about Nightwood, we finally were able to get there this past Saturday. It's wasn't difficult to get our reservation for four people at 8pm - I called early afternoon the day before.
We started off with four appetizers that we shared: ricotta gnocchi with sausage and tomatoes; beets with dill and creme fraiche; burratta with fig jam and bread; and fried smelt. All were delicious, but the gnocchi and beets definitely stood out.
The two guys had the whole trout, which was so tasty, there was nearly nothing left on their plates, including the bones! I had the duck breast, which was cooked perfectly and wasn't too fatty. It had a really nice smokey flavor to it, which reminded me of bacon and came with some delicious black beans. My friend's wife had the pheasant, which was the least favorite dish of the table, but everyone raved about the lentils that came with the dish.
Dessert with a group this size is always fun. We ordered a scoop of each gelato on hand (maple walnut, dark chocolate, vanilla), a plate of their warm cookies and the lemon upside down cake. The cake was by far the biggest hit of the table, with the gelato coming in close second (I could have eaten an entire dish of the maple walnut on my own). The cookies were okay, but definitely not worth ordering again.
In addition to two bottles of wine and one beer, the tab with tax and tip came out to around $80/person, which was not bad at all for the amount of food and wine we consumed. Parking was also not a problem on Halsted, so there was no need for a cab or valet.
The Paramount Room is a gem. Their $10 Kobe burger + pint deal is one of the best in town and it's available every night of the week.
I really appreciate the rotating draft beer selection here. The food could be described as "upscale" pub food, but I don't that really does the menu justice. The owner/chef have obviously put a lot of effort into crafting the menu which includes many delicious items such as beef tartar, tempura battered green beans and an excellent version of fish and chips.
I also really dig the atmosphere here. The clientele is usually a mix of professionals and bar regulars (like us).
The only downside is that there is no outdoor space to enjoy in the summer. I know warm weather is still several months away, but once things warm up it will hard to keep this place at the top of the go-to list.
I live in the area and was ecstatic when I saw a sign go up last summer announcing a 2nd Butterfly Sushi location on Chicago Avenue, which is closer to both my work and home.
The Chicago Ave location is exactly the same as the original location on Grand Avenue. Butterfly offers great sushi and decent Thai food at very reasonable prices. The decor is modern and appealing and it is BYOB without a corkage fee.
Weeknights are usually pretty slow and although the Chicago Ave location is smaller than the one on Grand Ave, it's been pretty easy to get a table. However, you probably want to call ahead on a Friday or Saturday night just in case.
I'm a fan of sashimi and the quality here is pretty good. You can get a large sashimi order (12 pieces) that come with shredded veggies (carrot, radish and beets), along with a side of sushi rice for $23.
The only criticism I have is that the service here, just like on Grand Ave, sometimes leaves something to be desired. When it's busy, you often feel like you're being rushed to finish your food. On the flip side, your order comes out very quickly and I've never had to wait more than 20 minutes for carry out, even at peak busy periods.
I've worked two blocks east of Green Zebra since its inception, but never took the opportunity to try it out, mainly because I was always under the impression that my carnivorous appetite couldn't be appeased by a menu made up mainly of vegetarian and vegan options. I'm glad to report that I was proven wrong.
The decor of this place is beautiful - the interior and all of the table settings are simple, but elegant.
I was delighted to see that they offered Death's Door gin and got a glass of that on the rocks. My boyfriend got a non-alcoholic drink that was like a grapefruit spritzer. I was pleasantly surprised when we got the check and my gin was on $7 for a generous pour.
The waitress recommended that we order one small plate from each section if we were hungry, which was a great suggestion and left us with a total of four small-plate apps and an entree for each of us. This included:
Cucumber and radish salad w/greek yogurt
Halibut in lemongrass broth
Mushroom and cherry popover
The portions were small, but the bread service and the time that we took to eat each course helped us pace ourselves and fill our stomachs.
I also have to say that vegetarian/vegan does not always equal healthy food. My burrata cheese course was deliciously rich and the popover was perfectly covered in a rich mushroom sauce that was thickened with either cream or butter... I didn't exactly walk out feeling healthy, but most certainly full and very happy. We'll be planning at trip back soon, but this time we'll have to save room for dessert.
A nice neighborhood wine bar, but the wine selections by the glass were very limited. We had the flatbread, which was not very filling and was described as being topped by arugula and basil, but it seemed more like a giant salad was dumped onto the pizza after it came out of the oven.
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Tucked away by an underpass just west of Hubbard and Milwaukee, The Paramount Room has a great beer selection for those who prefer not to drink Bud Light. The draft selections range from obscure microbrews to well-known, hard to find beers like Goose Island's Matilda (for only $7 a glass!) and Delirium Tremens, which is even served in the classic elephant glasses.
Although we only had the steak tartar on our first visit, the appetizer will have us coming back for much more. This was recommended by our bartender who said that it was the best thing on the menu... the generous portion came topped with a near-raw yolk with garlicky toasted bread. It was a perfect accompaniment to our tasty brews.
A stairway leads to room downstairs with a bar and DJ booth that would suit a small to medium sized private party very well.
Considering The Paramount Room's off-the-beaten path location, we hope this place stays open long enough for us to sample additional menu items.