This is part of a series of posts about Chicago Restaurant Week, held February 1–10, 2013.
Lunch at 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
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
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 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
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.
The details: Frontier, 1072 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago.