Our guest writer Sami Ari( @SamiAri formerly known as @tokyofan) who blogs at SamiAri.net answered our twitter request to write about their Restaurant Week’s gastronomic adventure and so check out his 3 destinations below: The Drawing Room, Mirai Sushi, and Province.
Crafted Cocktails and more at The Drawing Room
You arrive at the corner of Oak and Rush street and there is no sign anywhere of this restaurant you made reservations for. No signage, no windows or sign of life. There is, however, a man standing in front of a wooden door with “Drawing Room” written on it, vertically. The nice man asks you if you have reservations. Yes, we sure do. He opens the door and instructs to go down stairs into the unknown. After going down a flight of stairs we are to open another door. Once you open that door, the amazing food and drinks adventure begins at The Drawing Room. The dinning room is dimly lit, the right amount of volumed music is playing and you are seated at your table. My first thought was “this is such a sexy chic place”.
Our server was incredibly nice and seemed very passionate when educating us about the cocktails menu. Turns out, they take that very seriously at The Drawing Room. We are told that every cocktail is very carefully crafted by their talented mixologist with the freshest ingredients and that the menu changes seasonly but they are always able to make you any cocktail if it’s not on that season’s menu. I can’t lie, the cocktails looked intimidating but the lovely server made sure I know what I’m signing up for. For my first drink I opted for the “Paramour”, a delicious gin and citrus concoction that took me back to those days where the summer breeze blows into your face while sitting down on a bench by lake Michigan. That said, I would have to name my favorite cocktail the “Amuse”, something that wasn’t on the menu but was graciously sampled to us. That cocktail was serious business. Sometimes you have a drink that has too many flavors that ruin the essence of it. Amuse wasn’t like that. It was many flavors working in perfect harmony to create one of the best tasting sensations I have ever experienced from a cocktail.
So yes, the decor is chic, the music is seductive and the cocktails are out of this world but that’s not to say that the food is any less pleasing. Their menu is just as diverse as their cocktails. Whether you get the East Coast Oysters or, my favorite, the toasted Italian barely, goat’s feta, caramelized eggplant, hazelnut-spiced honey crusted chicken. Your soul and body will be in food paradise. Whatever you do, you will want to make sure you leave room for dessert. It felt like every spoon of my crème brûlée danced slowly with my taste buds, making sure it’s a slow very pleasurable experience. I couldn’t help but swing my head a little bit, left and right, in appreciation and of happiness.
I left the Drawing Room feeling cheerful and already planing my next trip there. I highly recommend going there. It is perfect spot for a first date or a group of 6 of your close friends, celebrating your birthday. Even a quick drink after work. Although I have to worn you, the bar only seats about six people. I don’t think anyone under 21 would have a good time, to be honest, definitely not a family oriented environment. I hope that doesn’t discourage you form visiting the Drawing Room, however, because that would be a shame. Reservations are required. After dinner, you can always check out their sister establishment “Le Passage” and dance the night away.
The Drawing Room @ Le Passage
937 North Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Other places visited during restaurant week that deserves notice:
The Wicker Park area has been expanding tremendously in the past years and it will keep going in that direction. There are few sushi places within blocks of each other in neighborhood but Mirai sushi gets my vote for the sushi restaurant to check out. The restaurant has two floors. The first is where the sushi bar resides along with a dinning area. I arrived earlier than my reservation time so I went to the second floor where, in addition to several dinning tables, there is a lounge with ample space. Upstairs seemed less noisy and with a lighting affect that resembles a cool lounge. With its backless high stools and large samurai art work, I couldn’t help but get a 60s cool vibe from my surroundings.
My favorite item from their menu would have to be the “Spicy Mono”, one of Mirai’s signature maki rolls, it consists of spicy octopus topped with spicy tuna with sweet unagi sauce. They also maintain a good selection of sake inspired cocktails. Mirai might as well be one of the best sushi spots in Chicago, whether it’s with your family, a date or anything in between, it will surely satisfy your sushi cravings. If it is a date you are on, I highly recommend trying to get reservations for the upstairs area for a more romantic feel.
2020 West Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622-3154
Want a place that has a great deal of good food and boosts a “green” attitude? If so then head over to Province, a contemporary American restaurant with influences from Central and South America as well as Spain. They are housed in a building with a “Gold LEED-EB certification by USGBS which means that the construction of the building is established to minimize environmental impacts. Yes, you can eat delicious food and be a better Earthling at the same time. I would recommend going there for lunch when it’s less busy. Otherwise, strongly recommend making reservations.
The staff there were incredibly nice and made sure we were attended to without being pushy. The best part was getting a table visit by their owner and chef Randy Zweiban to make sure the meal was to our liking. I throughly enjoyed my meal which included the “Wild Mushroom” soup and the “Pan Roasted Farm Raised Trout” with sweet potato hash and caper vinaigrette. I love sweet potatoes so imagine my excitement to see it on the menu. Definitely a must try!
161 North Jefferson Street
Chicago, IL 60661-2301