We have been huge fans of Genie and Tim since the early days of Oriole, so we were delighted to hear about them opening Kasama, and even more delighted when they started serving a dinner tasting menu. It was our first stop on our visit to Chicago.
Kasama is a very different experience at night than during the day. During the day it's all about Genie's amazing pastries and Tim's small plates and sandwiches, much of it served to go. At night it transforms into an intimate fine dining restaurant that is pretty much perfection.
From the moment you sit down you know you are in capable hands, with absolutely pitch perfect service that always seems to be there a moment after you finish a dish or glass of wine, but never seems to be overbearing.
Even the background music is perfect, with upbeat stuff like Asian renditions of I Can't Get No Satisfaction, yet at the perfect volume for pleasant conversation levels at each table.
We certainly got satisfaction! Each dish seems to top the one before it, so it would be impossible to pick a favorite. If you are unfamiliar with Filipino cuisine it doesn't matter, because each dish has a creative twist that has turned it into something completely unique anyway.
The wine pairings are just about perfect, too, with the dish enhancing the wine and vice versa.
The pacing was great, and the amount of food and wine in the 13 courses was also perfect. Clearly Kasama deserves its shiny new Michelin star, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a second one added next time.
Prost is across between a German beer hall and a sports bar. We had the LARGE pretzel, which definitely lived up to its name. We also had a medium wurst platter. Bot came with an assortment of mustards and a beer cheese.
Needless to say, there is a large selection of German beers. The friendly server (owner) helped us to choose beers and wursts that matched our tastes.
From the description of "cozy fireplace" and BBQ, this wasn't what I was expecting, but I did enjoy it. True, there is a more tavern-like room with a fireplace, but most of the space is a sports bar, filled with TVs.
The Big Ass Pretzel is indeed giant, and very good, with a crisp crust and light interior, and served with a slightly piquant cheese dip.
The BBQ baby back ribs were also good.
I had an excellent porter, and an equally excellent Irish coffee.
On a Saturday at lunch they were very busy, but the service was on top of it, and the meal was enjoyable.
This is a lovely pastry shop that also has a few inside tables and makes breakfast and lunch sandwiches. I had the Banh Mi, which includes slow roasted pork, shaved asparagus, pickled carrot, cilantro, cucumber, and Kewpie mayo on a toasted baguette. Although a bit unconventional (the pork was pulled rather than sliced, and the absence of jalapeno was compensated for by an accompanying hot sauce) it was delicious, and hit the right flavor profile. It came with a lovely selection of fresh fruit.
As one might expect, the pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) was filled with a wonderful "Bittersweet" chocolate!
Bittersweet Pastry Shop 1114 W Belmont Ave Chicago, IL 60657
I always check out the interior pictures on Yelp before I visit a restaurant, because they tend to tell me more about the dining experience than almost anything, including sometimes event the menu. So I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at Pescadero, because it is really much nicer than the Yelp photos (even my own) suggest. Rather than the Long John Silvers decor of the photos, it really is more restaurant-ish. And despite the concrete floor, they've added acoustic treatments to the ceiling, which really help with sound levels.
The menu offers a variety of cooked fish, from pan-seared to fish and chips, a ceviche that sounded tempting, and a few "from the land" items. And of course there are oysters. There are happy hour specials on the latter, along with tap beer.
But I went a different route and had the Mussels Frites. They were a traditional French preparation in a garlic broth. The serving sizes of both the mussels and the accompanying frites (French fries for you landlubbers) were very generous. The garlic broth for the mussels was simple, but good, and the mussels were tender and tasty. The frites were the right dimensions for traditional Parisian frites, but could have used a couple more minutes in the fryer.
The wines by the glass offer a nice variety. My Albarino was a perfect match.
For dessert I had the special Bananas Foster cheesecake, which had lots banana flavor and a nice graham cracker crust, and an espresso.
Service was friendly, and the restaurant, open only a couple of weeks, seems well managed.
Pescadero Seafood & Oyster Bar 1258 W Belmont Ave Chicago, IL 60657