Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sweets and Savories, Redux

Nearly a year after our first visit to Sweets and Savories, on Fullerton near Ashland in Chicago, we returned with out-of-town guests. Monday nights are definitely the night to go — they have a seven-course no menu meal for $50 with free BYOB, which can save you a bundle and let you bring a special bottle or two from home to enjoy.

There had been some disparaging comments on Metromix about the restaurant either about the quality of the food or the service. I have to think that those people either are too uptight, i.e. food like this should be served by stuffy individuals, or are not adventurous eaters, i.e. what's risotto?. We had the same server as our previous visit and he is quirky and funny, but not intrusive. Very knowledgeable about the food and proud to work there. I'd rather have someone like that to interact with than someone completely detached who doesn't care about the food or the person being served.

That said, the food was outstanding. We started with a dish of mussles in tomato fumé with sausage (possible andouille). We all were scraping the plate to get every last bit cleaned. This was a nice starter and we opened with a 2005 Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, which was a very good Sauvignon Blanc — tropical fruit, pears, even a little apricot on the nose and continued through the finish.

The second course was very good and visually interesting. It was a seared scallop on celery root purée with chevril on top with a streak of bright yellow-orange mango coulis. The celery root was perfectly salty and the scallop had a great texture and flavor that came through clean.

The third course was probably everyone's favorite and one that I will mimic at home. It was a striped sea bass on top of saffrom-goat cheese grits with a salad of lamb's lettuce on top — very interesting, but simple too. Really perfect.

Then we had a duck leg confit on blueberry risotto finished with truffle oil. This was very good. The last time we were there they had blueberry risotto that I criticized because there were seeds in the risotto that took away from the texture enjoyment — this time that had been remedied and was perfect.

Moving toward the home stretch, the next course was a baby arugula salad with a lemon/truffle oil vinegarette with grana padano on top. Very nice transition to the sweets portion of the meal.

Next was an apricot-chardonnay sorbet. Nice palate cleanser. Good consistency.

Finally, the finish was the big dessert bang —a warm chocolate budino with chocolate ganache, chocolate sorbet and Scharfen-Berger bigs. A beautiful plate and very good finish.

For the wine, after the Kim Crawford with the sea food dishes, we had a Praxis Pinot Noir that we purchased at the Oakville Grocery in Napa based on a recommendation. It was very good — nice dark cherry notes and a smooth finish. Then we had a bottle of Amphora Dry Creek Syrah, brought by our dinner guests, that was also very good — jammy, but not over-the-top. Finally, we ended with a Quady Elysium dessert wine made from black muscat. This had an almost bubble gum flavor that is a wonderful, lively finish to any meal.

All-in-all, an incredible deal at $50 and a meal that is not soon forgotten.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yummy. Goat cheese grits. Hmmm.