**** (4 stars)
I liked Proxi, Andrew Zimmerman’s new restaurant around the corner from his stalwart Sepia. In fact, I liked Proxi considerably more than Sepia. It’s lively without being deafening, and the small plate format provides the opportunity to taste many very different and varied dishes.
The menu is more or less in three columns, vegetarian, fish and meat.
From the vegetarian column of the menu, we loved the grilled sourdough that came with the burata, and the Asian take on corn elotes was also spot on.
From the fish column of the menu, raw tuna incorporated a lot of nice flavors, and was inventively served with a sorbet. The cobia in curry sauce was also very good.
The meat column was a bit less successful. The pork jerky was pretty good, but the short rib in curry didn’t have much flavor beyond everyday pot roast, save for the very spicy peppers on top.
For dessert, the Mexican chocolate semifreddo was very tasty; I’m a sucker for cinnamon with chocolate. However the meaning of semifreddo seems to have been lost somewhere along the line, as it was frozen rock solid.
Service was fine, although there were long pauses at various times, partly due to the disconnect between a server taking the order and others delivering it and clearing plates, and partly just due to a lot of business.
The only thing I really disliked was the wine list. Why someone would decide they need fifty wines from France’s Loire Valley and NO wines from anywhere else on the planet is beyond me. The wines from the Loire are fine, but they are limited in style. I could pick six to ten wines that would reflect the entire scope of the region. That leaves forty others that could better be replaced by other varietals and styles from around the world… just like a real wine list. In fact, although I liked the food, this bizarre wine list would be a serious stumbling block to me returning very often to an otherwise very good restaurant.
565 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661