Sunday, January 14, 2018

AMK Kitchen Bar

 

I will admit, that when it first opened, I was a little turned off by AMK Kitchen Bar, because the name seemed a little jingoist, being a shorthand abbreviation of America.  This attitude was helped with reviews mentioning the paintings of the American Flag and Uncle Sam on the walls inside.  Considering the neighborhood, though, I am not sure if a place with an "America Right Or Wrong" attitude would really fly.  I later went to their sister restaurant, Nosh and Booze for brunch, and really liked it and I had heard that they operated as a scratch kitchen, making a comfort food menu from scratch, so I become interested and recently stopped there for dinner.  Located near a major intersection in Bucktown.  The front window/wall is a garage door which is opened when it's warm outside.  It was not warm when I went, so things were buttoned up tight.  The walls on which there are many murals are old brick, giving the murals the appearance of being weathered with age.  I was seated next to a mural of Uncle Sam which was very big, weathered, and kind of cool.  The flag, also very large and weathered. was on the wall behind me and to one side.  There was a painting of a woman on tile behind the bar between the bar shelves and beside one of the several TVs around the dining area.  The kitchen was open and a little small, sitting next to the bar and the lights are on wires hung in the unfinished ceiling.  It looks like they started the design of this place by stripping it to the bones before painting on the walls and putting in furniture.  The look was very rough, but it worked.
AMK has a nice cocktail list combining classics with originals.  They also have a good whiskey list of American Whiskeys primarily focusing on Kentucky Bourbon, but also including Rye and Tennessee and local varieties.  The beer list seems to be split pretty evenly between local and national craft beers, but it does have a macro representative, Miller High Life, the Champagne of Beers, whose ABV "Doesn't Matter" (from the beer list).  I started things off with a cocktail, actually the same cocktail I had at Nosh and Booze, although with a slightly different name.  Here it was called an IPA Mule (at Nosh and Booze it was called an IPA Jackass).  It started with Hophead Vodka, and included Ginger, Lime, Deschutes Freshly Squeezed IPA, and was garnished with Mint Leaves.  It was both hoppy and sweet, with a tart finish, and was very refreshing in it's copper mug.
The food served at AMK could both fall under bar food and comfort food, everything of which as made in house, so there were many things that looked of interest.  The menu was divided into Snacks, Salads, Sandwiches, and Mains.  While there were several snacks that interested me like the Cheese Curds and the Dorito Pie, I decided to start things with Fried Pickles with a Spicy Ranch Sauce.  The Pickles were sliced and coated in breadcrumbs and fried.  The exterior was crispy while the center was still juicy.  While I like pickles as they are, they lose little flavor in the frying and the spicy ranch dipping sauce went with it well.
 
There was an item in the snack list that was quite a bit more expensive than the other snacks, the Mac and Cheese.  I was told that it won the Mac and Cheese Fest this year, so it was a must try.  What I didn't expect was how big the serving was going to be.  It was served in a 6 inch cast iron pan and filled to overflowing.  In addition to the cheeses (I'm not sure how many or what cheeses were used) and the Cavatappi Pasta, it included Bacon, Jalapenos, Parmagiano-Reggiano, and Breadcrumbs (I think Brioche).  It was spicy, cheesy, and had plenty of bacon flavor.  As it was listed under snacks, I ordered a main course as well.  I saw as soon as it arrived that I was going to have to bring part of it home and at least half came home with me.
Under the mains they had a Chicken Pot Pie listed that I was very interested in.  I was told though that the Chicken Pot Pie would require a 30 to 40 minute wait (because they would have to make it).  I was interested in it, but I didn't really want to wait as long as it would take, so I decided to switch my order.  A burger would have been an easy order and they have been recognized for their burger, but I wasn't interested in a burger, so I went with Nashville Hot Chicken on a Biscuit.  This was a big piece of fried chicken covered in pepper sauce on a large biscuit with a dill pickle slice skewered on top and served with fries on the side.  There was also a small container of Ranch Sauce served on the side, I assume to temper the heat of the hot sauce, like it's done with Buffalo chicken, but I really didn't want to take the sandwich apart to add it.  The sandwich was very big and I had to stretch my mouth a lot to get a bite of it, but it was very good.  The Crust was crispy and crunchy and held in the juices of the tender chicken.  The biscuit was unusually square, but it did have the crispy exterior and crumbly interior of a good biscuit.  The hot sauce was very spicy, as might be expected, but it wasn't so hot as to make it inedible and did add to the flavor of the sandwich.  The fries that were served with it were done well, and were lightly salted, but with everything else that I had eaten, were kind of unnecessary.  
When it came time for dessert, I was starting to feel a little full, but I couldn't turn away dessert.  I asked about a dessert menu and was told that they only had one thing that they offered for dessert called a Brookie Sundae.  The waiter described it and after hearing Brownie, Cookie, and Ice Cream, I was interested, though still unsure what I was going to be getting.  What came out was ridiculous and something that I knew that there was going to be no way I would finish.  It was a Chocolate Chip Cookie baked in a Brownie in a Cast Iron Frying Pan, topped with Vanilla Ice Cream, Whipped Cream, and drizzled with Fudge Sauce. Knowing that I wouldn't be able to finish it, I wanted to at least try everything together and eat it in a way that I would be able to bring home what I couldn't eat.  The brownie and cookie were warm and were great with the vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.  I only had a few bites of the brookie in the restaurant because I knew that would be transportable, I did eat the ice cream, and left very full.

While I really enjoyed the food here, I know now that the portions are very large, and I can plan next time to order less or plan to bring something home.         

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Dinner Club - Taco Night at Half Acre Balmoral


 
I like Sunday Dinner Club and have been to many of their events.  Their regular space above Honey Butter Fried Chicken is nice and cozy, but it's also fun when they do a collaboration with Half Acre Brewery.  Most of the time they will do it at Half Acre's original location on Lincoln in Lincoln Square which is still in operation, but they recently decided to hava Taco Night at Half Acre's newly opened tap room on Balmoral in Bowmanville which is part of Half Acre's Production Brewery.  While the address for the brewery is on Balmoral Ave, and there is a sign there, the entrance is actually a block north on Rascher.  There is a parking lot on Rascher which is surrounded on three sides by brewery, so it's easy to see that this space is much bigger than their original space.  There is also a large bike rack at the front of the parking lot, which I really appreciated.  Entering from the parking lot leads to a long hallway which passes by the windowed kitchen and eventually into the taproom.  The bar is on the same side of the room as the entry hall and stretches the length of the room, as opposed to the bar at the Lincoln taproom that is basically in a corner.  The room is brick walled with a light wood bar and floor.  There is also a wood frame on either side which support open rafters and joists.  It looks both unfinished and very open and lodge-like.  There are also a couple of windows on the bar side that look into the brewery itself.  At the time that I was there, it was filled with palettes of highly stacked cans.  There were lot of palettes, but there were passages between them so you could see just how deep the space was.
I sat at the bar because it allowed me to follow the action better and gave me better access to the bartenders so I could more easily ask questions.  The wall behind the bar had a large wood covering that was the same color as everything else that was engraved with parallel lines of decreasing length making an interlocking triangle pattern.  Half Acre was engraved at an angle in one of the triangles.  It was a cool design and could keep someone's eyes busy for a while.  Generally when I go somewhere several times, I try to try something different, even if I have a favorite on the list, because what's to say that I won't find another favorite among the new things that I try?  There were a lot of new things on the beer list that I hadn't tried, so there were a lot of things to try.  I started with Longhouse Belgian Single.  I am much more familiar with Dubbels, Tripels, and Quads then Singles.  All of these start with Singles, so I decided to see how their single was.  Like many Belgians, it had a nice head.  It was slightly foggy and flavor wise reminded me of a light Tripel with a light, sweet, malty flavor.

As this was Taco Night, I couldn't not have a beer called Taco Day.  Taco Day was what they called a Wakatu Pale Ale.  I had no idea what that meant when I ordered it, so of course I had to ask.  Taco Day, is apparently a Single Hop Beer, and they use it to experiment (kind of like Old Irving Brewing's Trendii Series).  For this version, they used Wakatu Hops, a New Zealand Hop Varietal.  They also dry hopped the beer with Wakatu Hops.  The beer had a nice citrus lime flavor and medium bitterness.  While I was enjoying Taco Day, my Tacos came out.  They were very definitely not authentic Mexican.  I would probably call them authentic Midwestern.  Having said that, they were very good, though.  Built inside Fried CornTortilla Shells,  the tacos had some good quality Spiced Ground Beef, Lettuce, Tomato, Cheddar, and Sour Cream.  The tacos (We were served two) were served with Black Beans and Spanish Rice, which were much closer to authentic Mexican and had a good texture and flavor.  While I was enjoying my tacos, I ordered my next beer.  We got four, in total, with the meal.  I had a Dopee IPA, one of the more clear beers that I have had from Half Acre.  It had the nice bitterness of a good IPA with some nice herbal flavors.
To finish things off and to pair with my dessert, I went with my biggest beer, Bivouac Double IPA, which, in actuality, is kind of small for a Double IPA at 8.1%.  Having said that, it was full bodied and slightly sweet, though it did have a dry finish.  This, I paired with a cookie that I saw recently in SDC's Pizza Night.  It was a Lemon Frosted Cornmeal Cookie.  It was very good with Pizza, it also finished a very nice Taco Night.

I always enjoy Sunday Dinner Club's dinners, so I will continue to go to them.  It's also a lot of fun with Half Acre because I get to try a variety of beers.  The Balmoral facility is very cool and I will have to return and try some of their regular fare. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Old Irving Brewing

 
 
I will be the first to admit that I like beer.  I also like exploring and have been to many of Chicago's breweries and have gotten to know brewers, partners, owners, or other employees of several breweries.  One such brewery, Old Irving Brewing, I have been friends of the brewery since it was an idea in the head brewers head.  I met Trevor Rose-Hamblin, the Head Brewer/Partner at Old Irving Brewing when he managed fine dining restaurant, Moto.  The last time I had a meal there, he mentioned that he would be leaving to train with the guys from BrewDog in Scotland, so he could start his own brewery/brewpub.  He returned a few months later and worked toward opening the brewpub.  There were complications and things took longer than expected, but it opened at the end of 2016.  I tried to get there soon after it opened, and I did actually get there a few times, but complications prevented me from actually going in until last spring.  I have been there a few times and enjoyed both the food and drink.  They had a bottle release on black Friday for a beer that I was very interested in.  So I decided to stop in shortly after to pick up a bottle and have some more of their excellent food.
As it is a brewery and I was coming for a specific beer, I decided to try a few of the beers that they have on tap.  They generally have 8-10 beers on tap ranging from low alcohol to high, and light to dark.  There is always a very drinkable Kolsch, an IPA, and a Stout on the menu.  For this trip, I went with House of 'Pagne, an American Strong Ale that was a collaboration with Pipeworks Brewing, that used White Peaches and Belgian Candy Sugar, Trendi the Sixth, a Double Dry Hopped IPA that goes through frequent variations (hence the Sixth part of the name), and Imperial Krampus Cookies (the bottle I was picking up), a Barrel Aged Imperial Milk Stout with flavors of Cherry and Vanilla.  A ll of the beers were good, though House of 'Pagne was a little dryer than I generally like.  Of the three that I tried that night, I liked Trendi the Sixth the best.
As I was sitting there drinking and it was close to dinner time, I decided that I should eat.  Their restaurant menu has some really good food.  In the past, I have had some Brussels Sprouts, Marrow, and a very good burger that changes topping from week to week.  This time around, I decided to stat things off with the Fried Zucchini which was served with Sicilian Caper Salsa, Garlic Aioli, and Parmagiano-Reggiano.  It was very good.  The zucchini was sliced lengthwise and had a crisp crust, but it was not completely fried through, so you got some of the texture of the zucchini in the center.  The flavor of the zucchini also went very well with the caper salsa and the garlic aioli.  As this was very much an Italian dish, what better way of finishing it than by topping it with grated Parmagiano-Reggiano Cheese.
For my main course, I went to Spain and had the Wood Fired Spanish Octopus.  It was served with Crispy Potatoes, Piquillo Peppers, more Garlic Aioli (I can say for certain that I am not a vampire, because I like the aioli and think that it goes well with the food it was served with), Oregano, Lemon, and Green Olive Salsa.  Many people confuse octopus and squid and think that they might taste similarly.  Octopus has a much meatier texture and flavor, and goes better with savory elements.  The potatoes (which would have gone well with a steak), were cut in large pieces had crispy edges, but were well cooked fried potatoes.  I am generally not a huge fan of green olives, but the salsa went well with the octopus and other elements of the dish. and the piquillo peppers added a nice spice.
To finish things off, I was a little torn.  They generally, have a brownie, a panna cotta, and a strudel on the dessert menu.  All sounded good, but I decided to go with the Chocolate Fudge Brownie that was served warm with Fudge Sauce, and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.  It was very good on it's own, but also, I drink my beers from light to dark and by this time, I was down to the Imperial Krampus Cookies Barrel Aged Milk Stout, which it went very well with.  I enjoyed my dinner and beers here.  The food was good and the staff is very friendly.  I will definitely return to enjoy more of their good beer and food.   

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Split Rail - Brunch

For our monthly brunch in November, we went to Split Rail.  I have a long history with the chef and enjoyed her food at Ada Street, her pop ups pre-Split Rail, and dinner at Split Rail, so I was confident that I would enjoy brunch.  Located in a former Doughnut factory in Ukrainian Village, I mentioned that it looked to me like Ada Street had grown up and moved to Wisconsin.  Like Ada Street it has black exterior walls and a white stenciled name.  In the case of Split Rail, it is more stylized and near the entrance as opposed to on the door.  The ceiling inside is also black and unfinished, there is a very nice long bar, and a banquette opposite the bar for seating, in the case of Split Rail, it was decorated with Polo players.  This is where we sat.  The kitchens of the two restaurants are semi-open, though in Split Rail's case, it is off to the side and elevated somewhat.  There are other tables over Persian rugs providing additional seating and the soundtrack is provided by vinyl LPs.  Split Rail is about twice as big as Ada Street, but it still feels cozy.
 
As we were there for brunch, coffee was a prime consideration.  The coffee we were served was from Dark Matter.  It seemed to be a medium roast, was nice and savory, and was served in a very nice Split Rail mug.  There were also 6 interesting cocktails being served for brunch, so I had to try one of those as well.  My drink was called Two Celestials.  It was pink, served in a Rocks Glass with ice and was made with Earl Grey Creme-Infused Prairie Gin, Combier Creme de Cassis, Grapefruit, and Lemon.  It had the bitter, floral, earthy flavor of Earl Grey Tea which combined well with the botanical flavor of the gin.  The Creme de Cassis (a liqueur made from black currants) added a bitter tang like a cross between a blackberry and a pomegranate.  The grapefruit and lemon added some sour and complemented the bitterness of the tea and the Creme de Cassis.
Starting things off, I ordered a bowl of Beignets for the table.  These were were fluffy fried yeast balls of wonderfulness like other beignets, but were covered in granulated sugar as opposed to the powdered sugar that most beignets are covered in.  They were also filled with Raspberry Jam.  They didn't have the mass amounts of jam that most bismarcks have, but these were like a beignet/bismarck hybrid and were very good.
 
For my main course, I went with Duck Confit Hash with Fingerling Potatoes, Fried Duck Egg, and Giardinera.  It was good and very flavorful with each piece adding something in flavor and texture, though at the same time, maintaining its individuality instead of combining into a homogeneous mess.  It was rich and savory with some significant spiciness added via the giardinera.  I am a huge fan of Reubens and there was a Reuben on the menu.  While I didn't order it, one of my friends did.  It was not the overstuffed thing that the Reuben from a Jewish deli would be, but it had everything necessary for a Reuben:  Toasted Rye Bread, Corned Beef, Sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese, and Russian Dressing.  It was crunchy, flavorful, and satisfying, despite being a little on the thin side.
Generally one sweet and one savory are my limit for brunch and will not generally go for dessert.  There was, however, something on the menu for which Chef Zoe is famous for, her bread pudding and I had to order it, ideally to be shared, or to take home if there was any left over.  This Bread Pudding was made with French Toast, served with Maple Syrup and Whipped Cream, and served in a Cast Iron Baking Pan.  It was sweet with a little crispness and enjoyed by all that tried it, but because the rest of brunch was also much enjoyed, I ended up taking about half of it home to be enjoyed later.
Like dinner, I very much enjoyed my meal here.  The food was very good as was the service, and I enjoy supporting and introducing friends to chefs that I have met in the past.  I will certainly return.       

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Pizza Night at Sunday Dinner Club


 
 
I really like Sunday Dinner Club.  They are an "Underground" supper club, located above Honey Butter Fried Chicken, and are in fact the founders and owners.  They do a wide variety of meals throughout the year, most of which are BYOB.  For those dinners held at their space, besides about one set of wine dinners per quarter and a Three Floyds beer dinner held in the fall, all of the rest are BYOB.  With these dinners mentioned, you are also able to bring a bottle, but they will already be serving beer or wine.  About once a quarter, they will have a dinner at Half Acre Brewery's Taproom.  This dinner was at their space and was all about pizza.  The entrance to the space is next to the entrance to Honey Butter Fried Chicken and is basically unmarked.  There is a sticker that says SDC, but unless you know that that's Sunday Dinner Club, it's pretty anonymous.  The door is also locked and you have to be buzzed up.  The stairway is narrow and has several plates as decoration at the top of the stairs.  The stairs open up to a room with three communal tables which will seat about 26 people and the menus were set at every place setting.  When we were all seated and had started to enjoy our beer and wine, I had a Double IPA from a small brewery in Bridgman, MI that I enjoy called Tapistry Brewing, the team came out to introduce themselves and tell us about Sunday Dinner Club and our dinner.
While I did say that the dinner was all about pizza, while it was the focus, we did eat more than pizza.  Our first course was Tomato Conserva Arancini, risotto balls filled with mozzarella and reduced tomato sauce with spices, served with a very nice Pesto Sauce.  The outside was crisp though thin.  The balls could be eaten by hand, though you did have to be careful to hold them lightly to prevent putting your fingers through the crust.  The risotto in side was very tender and flavorful after being cooked in the tomato sauce and the cheese was melted and gooey, which could easily be stretched out.  Arancini are very good, but these were especially good with good texture and flavor.
Our first salad, there were actually two, was kind of an Antipasto salad made with Chili and Honey Roasted Cauliflower, Ricotta, and Mortadella, a cured meat similar to bologna.  The cauliflower was the feature of the dish with a nice sweet and spicy flavor.  The ricotta added a creamy and bitter tang, and the mortadella added a savory flavor.  It was both simple and complex and was eaten very quickly.
For our second salad we had a more traditional salad with Apples, Pecans, Chicories (Bitter Leafy Greens similar to lettuce, Arugula, Radicchio and Endive) and Warm Bacon Dressing.  This was more traditionally salad and was pretty good.  As opposed to a salad that might be built from a restaurant salad bar, this was focused with the greens providing a bitter flavor, the apples, sliced very thin, adding a sweet/tart crunch, and the nuts providing a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture.  The bacon dressing, added a sweet meaty flavor which moderated the bitter of the chicories, and provided enough moisture to hold things together.
There were actually three pizza on the menu and they were all served family style, although they were cut.  The first pizza was a Chicago Thin that was similar to a Margherita Pizza.  It was made with a Sourdough Crust and was topped with Tomatoes, Fresh Chevre, a soft goat cheese, and Oregano.  It was also cut in squares.  I will never understand the logic of cutting a round pizza in squares, though it is a Chicago tradition and will tolerate it.  The pizza looked like a Margherita, though with the sourdough crust and chevre, it was more tart than the standard Margherita.  It also had a nice crispy texture.  It was simple, but with good ingredients, it was a very good piece of pie.
 The second pie was called a Grandma Pizza and was a white pie.  It started with Garlic Cream, Roasted Delicata Squash, and Magia Negra Cheese, a hard, raw goat's milk cheese, similar to Manchego.  While I liked the first pizza, this was a big step up.  This was also square cut, but since it was a square pie, it was understandable.  The garlic cream gave it a pronounced garlic flavor which the squash moderated with it's sweetness.  The Magia Negra had a somewhat sharp flavor which complemented the garlic cream and provided a counterpoint to the squash.

Our last pizza, also square, was also called a Grandma Pizza (a homemade pizza you might have at grandma's house), but it had more traditional pizza flavors with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage, Mozzarella.  It also had some sweet spiciness provided by Candied Jalapenos.  This seemed to be the most popular pie, I'm guessing because it was the most traditional.  There were leftovers of the last two pies, which I was elected to take home (not that I minded), though there was more of the white pie than the red.
For our final course, dessert, everyone was pretty full, but dessert was pretty simple and light.  It was an Italian Cookie Plate with a Chocolate Drizzled Pizzele, a very thin and light sugar cookie, a Fennel Cookie, and a Lemon Glazed Cornmeal Cookie, also called an Italian or Mexican Wedding Cake.  While all of the cookies were good, the Pizzelle with it's thin crunchy texture and light sweetness with a little chocolate and the Lemon Glazed Cornmeal Cake were memorable.  I really enjoy Sunday Dinner Club and this dinner was one of their better ones.  I will continue to go and enjoy what they put out.    

Friday, December 8, 2017

Pub Royale

While I have been told that I am a pretty adventurous water, I am a little intimidated when I don't really know what the food will be like.  Indian food uses so many unusual spices that are not used in other cuisines, that I have been a little intimidated to dive in.  There are things that fall within the realm of Indian cuisine that I really like, but my knowledge base of Indian Cuisine is small so it is generally not a go to for me.  India, however, was a colony of the British Empire and Anglo-inflected Indian cuisine is popular in England, so if Indian Cuisine is put through an English lens, this makes it easier for me to try.  If a restaurant putting out Anglo-Indian pub fare hores a chef that I know and like, that makes it easier for me to try.  Pub Royale, a gastropub with a really good beer list serving Anglo-Indian cuisine recently hired Chef Joanna Stachon, formerly of Ada Street, a restaurant I have come to love, so I decided that it was time for a visit.  The sign over the door looks really weathered with the lettering giving an exotic Indian feel and green neon signs above the name announcing food, beer, and brunch.  Inside, the space is narrow with the bar running along one side.  The walls are brick with Indian masks hanging on the brick walls and hanging globe lighting.  There is a large mirror behind the bar framed by a couple of stuffed white peacocks.  The glassware is kept hanging or sitting under the shelf holding the liquor and there is an old BMW motorcycle hanging on the wall behind and beside the bar.
While there is a printed beer list, the most up to date list is on a digital screen at the back of the restaurant.  I didn't actually notice the list until I had already ordered and received my beers off of the cardboard menu.  I ordered Odell Pyrus and Prunus American Wild Ale and Prairie Twist Farmhouse Ale.  The Odell was very tart.  While I liked it, it was a sipper as opposed to something you might put down quickly.  The Prairie was a hoppy and funky saison.  It had a pronounced flavor, but I had never had a high alcohol sour before (the Odell was 9% ABV), and I liked that more.  Having said that, while I did like the Odell better, the Prairie was better with my food.  
As for my food, I started with something I will almost always start with when I eat Indian food, Samosas.  They had a crispy outer shell as a good samosa is supposed to and was filled with Potatoes, Peas, and Onions, and was served with Cilantro and Tamarind Chutneys.  The samosas were good without chutney.  The crust was like a fried wonton with steamed potatoes, peas, and onions and the flavors that they provide.  While they were good without the chutney, they were better with, thiough I will admit that I did prefer the tart and bitter flavor of the tamarind to the green flavor of the cilantro chutney.
When I looked over the food menu, I saw something else that there also was no question about ordering.  At Ada Street, Lamb Ribs had made a showing on the menu and they were a big favorite among my friends and I.  They were also on the menu at Pub Royale with an Indian twist, adding Pomegranate Seeds, Cilantro, Pistachios, and Crispy Rice.  The ribs themselves were tender and flavorful, but required a little pull to remove from the bone.  The pomegranate seeds provided a bitter sweetness, and the crispy rice had a light fried flavor and added some crunch.  While it was a little different from that that was served at Ada Street, it was still very good.
My next course, while vegetarian, could very well be considered a main course.  It was Butternut Squash Dal with Red Lentils (the dal), Broccolini, Saffron, Pumpkin Seeds, Lasanachi Chutney (Garlic Chutney), and Crispy Kale.  This was very rich, flavorful, and spicy, and the Kale was very light and crispy with the lentils and squash being very creamy textured.  While I expected that I would like this, I was surprised at how much that I did like it.
While I was enjoying the dal, Chef Joanna came out to greet me (I asked if she was in and when told who was asking, she said that she would come out and say hi).  We exchanged pleasantries and caught up a little and shortly after she returned to the kitchen, I received a bonus course that was not yet on the menu:  Charred Rainbow Carrots with Lemon and Honey Greek Yogurt, Smoked Pistachios, and Sherry Golden Raisins.  I really like carrots and these were cooked to a perfect tenderness.  They were lightly sweet which the raisins paired well with.  The pistachios added a crunchy textural variety and a nutty flavor and the yogurt provided a tart counterpoint.  It was simple and complex at the same time and I really enjoyed it.

There is one thing on the menu that could qualify as dessert and that was the Naan Doughnut with Chai Dulce de Leche Sauce.  While most doughnuts are finger food, this, because of the Dulce de Leche Sauce needed a knife and fork.  The doughnut itself was pretty dense and powdered with sugar, making it lightly sweet.  The Sauce provided the sweetness that you would expect of a doughnut and the chai spices added a sweet spiciness to the whole thing.  It provided for a very nice finish to a good meal.

 I really enjoyed my meal here.  The food was really good, and while a little exotic, not inaccessible.  The staff is very friendly and helpful and the place has a nice design.  I will definitely return and will probably bring friends.