Friday, February 25, 2011

BOKA (Chicago Restaurant Week)

I don't even remember what I previously read about Boka, but I've always wanted to try it. I thought Restaurant Week is a great way to check it out.

A bit of info from their web site:

Progressive American cuisine
Executive Chef/Partner: Giuseppe Tentori - grew up helping out on his grandmother's farm in a small town outside of Milan. Along with an emphasis on local farmers and seasonal ingredients, innovative pairings have become his trademark.

Pastry Chef: Kady Yon - born in Hong Kong, native of McHenry, Illinois. website: "Deriving inspiration from both nature and art, Yon masterfully crafts desserts based on each ingredient's characteristic and loves the unpredictability one batch of product has from the next."

Both chefs worked at Charlie Trotter's.

Ben Schiller: Mixologist - his signature style: progressive and seasonal twists on classic favorites with house-made ingredients. His mission is to have a more personal relationship with the origins of the products behind his bar.

$33 Menu

I've never seen a Mixologist profile on a restaurant's web site in the past, so I was intrigued, and wanted to try their mixed drinks. Our waiter said they stored Manhattan in a barrel for 1 year (I think?) and recently cracked it open, so we definitely wanted to give this a try:

I thought it was smooth & delicious.

Our waiter recommended this for me, which was also flavorful & delicious (I told him that I don't want something too sweet):

Clean Break - Genever, Pimm's No. 1, Cucumber, Lemon, Orange oil

Foccacia served warm (someone walks around to serve 2 pieces/ person via bread basket - they do come around to ask if you want more)
warm, buttery, delcious.

We ordered 1 fresh oyster each ($3/piece?) It was fresh, but not memorable.

First Course:
Maine Diver Scallop, Broccoli Sauce, Sweet and Sour Onions
Scallop was cooked nicely, but this dish wasn't interesting at all.

Crispy Amish Chicken Thigh, Yukon Gold Potatoe Puree, Pickled Celery Root

We liked both the crispy, moist chicken & potatoe puree.
Second Course:
Whitefish, Prawn Brandade, Grilled Fennel
note (from wiki): Brandade is an emulsion of salt cod and olive oil eaten in winter with bread or potatoes. The word brandada is the Catalan and Occitan word for the past participle of the verbbrandar, meaningto beat in oscillations and having a very strong sexual connotation.

Braised Pork Belly, Fried Oyster, Baby Bok Choy, Green Tea Soba Noodle

Both entrees were just alright. Neither were exceptional, memorable, note worthy.

The best part of this meal was surprisingly the dessert (typically my least favorite part of a meal):

Ginger Kulfi, Marshmallow, Espresso, Tangerine, Chocolate
note (from wiki): Kulfi or Qulfi (Hindi-Urdu: क़ुल्फ़ी or قلفی) is a popular frozen milk-based dessert from India and Pakistan. It has similarities to ice cream (as popularly understood) in appearance and taste, but is denser and creamier.Due to its density, kulfi takes a longer time to melt than Western ice-cream.
guy seated at the table next to us was amazed by how intensely flavorful the kulfi was.. he asked whether or not sugar was added, and it wasn't. really was pretty good.

1729 N Halsted St
1729 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614-5537
(312) 337-6070

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