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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

THINK Cafe in Chicago

After an "amazing" New Year's Eve and Day celebration in Chicago, The Husband and I decided to just keep staying in Chicago until we were forced to leave due to work obligations. The Husband's friend Chris was immensely hospitable and his new place makes for a very comfortable stay in one of the nation's greatest cities to visit. So when Friday rolled around, January 2nd, we stuck in town and Chris had a brilliant idea to take us out to a nice restaurant - one of those ones you can bring your own bottle of wine to. This is a novel idea for Michiganders and it was also a special treat for The Husband and I, who typically only go to places where we have an Entertainment Book coupon to... haha. We're a little on the practical side. Anyway, so - this was a real treat!

Chicago is stocked full of awesome restaurants and they range from crazy expensive (100-200 per person) to moderate, and we googled menus and called for reservations. Actually, Chris was awesome and did all the research for us. Think Cafe was on his list and if you call earlier in the day and leave a message, they will call you back and let you know if you can get a reservation. Later that day we did get a call back and were excited to make the cut.

Another couple of friends joined us and the five of us brought two bottles of wine. The corkage fee was only $4 and they'll open as many bottles of wine as you'd like, which I think is supremely excellent. We almost never get wine when we're dining out.. the markup is so outrageous. A $30 of wine at Maggiano's Little Italy is only $9.99 at Kroger... wine before or after at home is fine, thank you very much! We like to spend our money on other things, like a dwindling 401k and such.

Let's talk about the FOOD. We chose some of their specials so my few pictures are not all firm menu items, you'll just have to show up and see what's on special that day! Chris ordered a delicious appetizer which was a special, so all I can remember was that it was red peppers stuffed with goat cheese and I know there were some truffles sprinkled on top, some microgreens, maybe some balsamic vinegar... whatever the details are, it was EXCELLENT. The Husband hates goat cheese but he would've downed a plate of those, for sure - Chris was so nice to let us all taste! Really good food is truly a fun experience. Next up were some of the entrees that we ordered... Chris tried the osso buco (Italian braised veal shanks, where bone marrow is part of the appeal!), The Husband had the rack of lamb, Pat had the formaggi penne (white wine poached pear, chicken breast, goat cheese, etc) and I had the chilean seabass special... I wish I remembered all the details but it was superb - banana chips, microgreens, buerre blanc sauce, and a lot more.

So next time you're looking for a delicious, high-end but still affordable dinner in Chicago - try THINK Cafe! Also, check out their website, as my photos above don't do the place justice! The website says business casual but jeans are totally OK in this place.

THINK Cafe (located in Bucktown)
2235 N. Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

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