Chicago Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week 2013: Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, Sunda, and Frontier

This is part of a series of posts about Chicago Restaurant Week, held February 1–10, 2013.

Lunch at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba

Endive salad with blue cheese and almonds, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba
Endive and blue cheese salad with almonds and membrillo, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba

Best Bite: The generously portioned endive salad was a unique start to our lively meal. Amid the tang of blue cheese and vinaigrette, I especially appreciated the membrillo (sweet quince paste) and marcona almonds. Colorful, too – especially with my pomegranate mimosa as a backdrop. See full menu.

Other notes: Definitely the best value of the week, with soup, bread, cold tapas, warm tapas, and dessert for the $22 lunch price – it was the first time I took home leftovers! Speaking of the soup, it was creamy, comforting mushroom, with a manchego toast that made it feel almost like a Spanish version of french onion soup. Also enjoyed my petite caramelized banana dessert, with lots of crushed pistachios. Cheerful, bustling atmosphere as always.

Mushroom soup with manchego toast, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba
Mushroom soup with manchego toast, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba

The details: Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, 2024 N Halsted St., Chicago.

Dinner at Sunda

Miso-bronzed black cod with red curry and glazed eggplant, Sunda
Miso-bronzed black cod with red curry and glazed eggplant, Sunda

Best Bite: So many fun courses at Sunda, but I couldn’t get enough of this miso-bronzed black cod. Don’t let its plain appearance fool you: the buttery fish was ultra-flavorful from the miso and red curry, and the glazed eggplant underneath was a revelation for this eggplant skeptic. It also served as a nice contrast to pork belly sticks in the previous course, and left enough room for me to enjoy my chocolate mousse for dessert. See full menu.

Other notes: Besides the great food, our group of 8 also thoroughly relished Sunda’s exotic cocktails. Of all the varieties, the Grass Tiger (below) was the clear winner for me. I adored the heat of jalapeño-infused gin with cool ginger beer, mint, lemongrass, and more citrus. You can even check out the restaurant’s Vine video of a bartender mixing this delicious drink.

Grass Tiger cocktail, Sunda
Grass Tiger cocktail with jalapeño-infused gin and ginger beer, Sunda

The details: Sunda, 110 W Illinois St., Chicago.

Dinner at Frontier

Wild boar chop with sweet potato puree, Frontier
Wild boar chop with sweet potato puree, Frontier

Best Bite: When I saw all the game meat featured on Frontier’s gastropub-y menu, I knew I’d go straight for the wild boar chop. I loved the flavors of the meat and sauce, and with the sweet potato puree, toasted marshmallow, and crispy kale, it was basically a hunter’s Thanksgiving. See full menu.

Other notes: Duck tacos and antelope meatballs with gnocchi were both tasty starters, and Frontier pulled off its s’more dessert with just the right level of char and melty chocolate. Great beers and cozy fireplace too.

S'more, Frontier
S’more, Frontier

The details: Frontier, 1072 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago.

3 replies on “Restaurant Week 2013: Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, Sunda, and Frontier”

What a fantastic trio of eateries! Can’t believe how long Ba-Ba-Reeba’s been around. I ate there over 30 years ago, I think. I must say the cod at Sunda is the most intriguing to me. Great pictures and even greater choices.

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