Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mon Ami Gabi

A lot of people make a fuss over Chicago's most expensive restaurants, and for good reason - places including Tru, Aliena, and Charlie Trotters are consistently ranked among the top restaurants in America. And they all run at about $200 per person, at a minimum. However, I've discovered that there's a lot of other really dynamic restaurants in the city that don't pack as much of a punch on your wallet. Some of them still have prie fixe menues, if that's what you're looking for, but they also offer a la carte menu items for around $13 an appetizer and $25-30 per entree. If you don't splurge on wine, you can easily get a great meal for around $50, which is a much more reasonable "splurge" for a starving young professional's budget.

The places on my list that fall into this category are:
Bistro 110
Hot Chocolate
Sushi Samba
Another one of these delicious, somewhat expensive lot is Mon Ami Gabi, an absolutely charming French Bistro located in the decadent Belden-Stratford apartment building, right on Lincoln Park. I had the pleasure of dining there a few weeks ago with my friends Amy and Laurel. We wore dresses.
Mon Ami Gabi looks like it's straight out of The Great Gatsby. The interior is a cosy parlor framed with warm dark wood, a tiled floor, stained glass accents and 1920s style art. There's also an outdoor patio lined with white Christmas lights that looks out onto the park.
Our smartly dressed, very attentive waiter started us out with a bottle of white wine and a steamed artichoke - you peel off the "leaves", dip them in lemon butter, and enjoy. Yum.
I also indulged in the cold carrot soup, which was DIVINE. I have a new thing for fine soups. Especially the ones that they pour for you at the table. I enjoy the extra flourish!
Although Mon Ami Gabi is known for it's steak frites (steak with fancy "french fries"), I opted to get the pork. Here I have three little medallions of pork, wrapped in bacon, topped with julienned granny smith apples. Also on the plate: wilted greens and a square of potatoes au gratin. They were a bit intense on the creaminess, but delicious nonetheless. The pork was juicy and tender - I suspect the bacon-wrap helps keep the moisture in the cut of meat. Amy did get one of the steak frites (which run at about $18 - a deal!), and LOVED it. Still need to work on these flash-less picture taking skills, though...
Then came dessert. Perhaps my favorite thing about French dining is the desserts - they sure knew what to do with their pasteries, cream, and fruit. We couldn't decide on just one, so we got two. The were both AWESOME.
First, a Bananas Foster Crepe, filled with vanilla cream.
Second, a berry crumble topped with a scoop of vanilla. SO GOOD!
I could get used to dining like this.... when my budget will allow, of course.

1 comment:

adam said...

after finding your blog linked through "the stew" i've had to read several of your previous posts. i really enjoy your blog! interesting posts about restaurants, and especially TC news!

one other place i want to recommend: Tank for fabulous sushi in lincoln square.

great blog!