Sunday, June 3, 2012


If you look in the dictionary for the definition of the word epic, you find, after descriptions of poetry of heroes doing great things, descriptions such as heroic, impressively great, or of unusual size or extent.  If you name a restaurant Epic, you have a lot to live up to and yet it is still done.  I had dinner recently at Epic, and admittedly, I did go in with a certain level of expectation.  If a restaurant is going to call themselves epic, it should be more impressive than the restaurants with which it is competing.  I will first say that it is very big.  While it is only three floors, with 23 foot ceilings, it could have easily been five or six.  The restaurant is divided by floor into three sections.  The first floor is the lounge which has high unfinished ceilings, a long bar along one side, and some private tables.  There is a lounge menu that features oysters, sliders, and tacos.  The second floor is the large dining area.  It has banquette seating along one wall, a large communal table, a high unfinished ceiling, and separate table seating.  There is also a large raised mezzanine area that will seat about 40 people.  The third floor is the rooftop lounge which also offers the lounge menu.  As I came for dinner, I will focus on the happenings of the main dining area.  I mentioned that the space was big.  At the front, it has a large window wall. and the unfinished ceiling was more than 20 feet up.  Other than the large window wall, lighting came came from hanging lighting hung at various lights.  I sat at a two top on the leather covered bench seat.  Epic has been open for a couple of years and if I remember correctly, when it opened, it looked like it was trying to be a steakhouse.  Considering the location (River North), I can't say that I thought that it was an exceptionally good idea.  There are a large number of very good steakhouses in River North and, to me, even if the steak was good, it didn't seem to have anything that differentiated it from any other steakhouse in River North.  Since then, while the steaks are still on the menu, they have been deemphasized going with a seasonal American menu which earned it it's first Michelin star this year.  There were several things on the menu that sounded good but I did find things that I thought that I would enjoy.  For my appetizer, I ordered the Crispy Pork Belly with Golden Beets, Horseradish, and a Root Beer Reduction.  It was topped with arugula and sat on some sort of soft bread.  This was very good and may have, in fact, been my favorite course.  The beets were sweet, a little tart, and almost reminded me of a citrus fruit.  The pork belly was crispy and a little spicy and the bread was nice and soft.  It was a good start, the question was whether they could sustain it.
For my entree, I ordered a Coffee and Cinnamon Rubbed Rack of Lamb with Eggplant Puree, Baby Artichokes, Lipstick Peppers, and Olive Jus.  The presentation was nice and there was a variety of flavors but I actually expected a stronger cinnamon and coffee flavor.  I was served six ribs and it was a little bit of work to get the meat off of the bone but I kind of expected that.  It was good although I don't know that I would call it great and certainly not epic.
With my entree, I did order some vegetables.  I ordered some Broccolini with Fennel, Crispy Ham, Chilies, and Garlic.  Broccolini is like a cross between broccoli and mustard greens and looks kind of like anorexic broccoli.  It tasted very nice although admittedly it was a little difficult to eat.  The stems were a little long to eat politely without cutting.  The stems were a little thin to stab with a fork well but it could be done and it did taste good.  Another problem was that there was a delay between appetizer and entree, and another delay between entree and dessert.

For my dessert, I ordered Lime Pots de Creme with Blackberry Jam and topped with Fresh Blackberries and Crunchy Granola.  Pots de Creme is a custard dessert and while it was good, I think I may have preferred it bruleed.  I get that the granola was there to provide some crunch to the dish which it did but I do think that it still would have worked had it also been bruleed.

While I can see using the adjective epic to the space, I don't think I can apply it to the whole.  While the food was good, it wasn't epic and while the service was friendly, it could have been more attentive and prompt.  There were other things on the menu that did interest me although I am not sure that I will return to try them.

No comments:

Post a Comment