3868 N. Lincoln Ave
Chicago. IL 60613
Tel: +1 773-327-3868
Date of Last Visit: Saturday, October 28
The Victims: Christina, Kent
The Damage: Unknown! They paid.
The Background: I am a not infrequent visitor to Chicago. My arrival is thus not trumpeted, heralded, or otherwise feted. With so many visits in 2006, I fear 2007 will be the year of “Oh hey, it’s you again.”
But shall such misfortune ever befall me, I will take myself to Sola, and celebrate myself. See, in Sola–a not-so-large-but-not-so-small restaurant on Chicago’s northside, I found everything I could ever want in a restaurant.
Christina and Kent had just gotten married in August–at the top of the Sears Tower, no less. Hence I had really just seen them, but being their wedding and all, I didn’t really get a chance to SEE them. So they took me to Sola on this last visit to town.
The Drinks: I ordered a martini. A rare event. But the drinks looked so fresh and fabulous, I couldn’t stop myself. It was a vodka-based martini (you know I don’t like gin, or vodka really for that matter, but I’ll take vodka over gin if I must), and it was yellow-ish. And I want to say it had star anise in it. It was very summery, which was funny considering it was like 0 degrees Celsius outside.
The Tap Water Test: All restaurants in the US pass this test. We love tap water. It’s bottomless. And there’s ice. And lots of it. And they refill your glass constantly. All this tap water–that’s why our skin looks so much healthier than that of the folks in my adopted country.
The Starters: I did the duck confit and it was perfect. Really perfect. The menu said it had arugula, endive, and butternut squash in it. I forget how much I love butternut squash.
The Mains: Mine was Black miso cod. Our server, who was really the best server I think I’ve ever had (more later), reminded me that it would be served medium rare. A medium rare fish? Sign me up. And honestly, it was so fantastically good. It came with “bambooed rice,” and I’m not quite sure what that means, but it sure was good. Creamy and almost curry-like. Kent went with the pork chop and it was HUGE but not in a bad way. It was perfect. Christina got the duck, duck, goose which was some sort of duck wontons. She did not share. OK, maybe a little. But not as much as I wanted her to.
The Service: Perfect. I liked how our server actually told us how much the specials cost. It was very matter-of-fact, and I appreciated that. Why do the prices of specials have to be so mysterious elsewhere? Heck, I am reading Kitchen Confidential right now. I know what goes on back there in the kitchen when it comes to prepping specials. Anyhow, our server gave great recs, didn’t interrupt us when we didn’t want to be interrupted, and was generally just very observant and perfect.
The Dessert: Banana ice cream. It was really some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.
The Decor: Very golden-like. In my mind’s eye, I see only golden browns and yellows. It was lovely.
The Verdict: Sola, please don’t ever change.