500 N Clark
Date of Last Visit: Friday, May 27, 2011
The Victim: Me
The Damage: Keep reading.
When I entered university, I was under tremendous pressure to major in math. Having an affinity for standardized tests — who doesn’t love Number 2 pencils — I had apparently scored off the charts (well, at least according to my parents) when it came to all things quantitative in whatever tests they were measuring me by. My freshman year academic advisor just sat there, mutely shaking her head, when she noted my intended major of MEDIEVAL HISTORY. (At the time, in addition to math, I also had quite the affinity for a good bodice-ripper. Of the medieval sort.)
My parents — not really the strictest of sorts — made it very clear. Major in Medieval History and I could pay for my own education while I lived in their basement on Long Island for the next four years. Ever the compromiser, I took more math classes than could possibly be healthy for ANYONE to take — no less an English Literature major — and I saved my affinity for medieval history for university breaks, where I would devour Julie Garwood books by the case full. In the basement.
But let me tell you…an affinity for Number 2 pencils and taking a lot of math classes does not a mathematician make. Because I woke up the night after my meal at Naha thinking, “Holy f*cking sh*t. I think I left a 33% tip at lunch yesterday.” A bill of $71.04 (including tax). I am pretty sure I tallied it all up to $95, because I remember thinking, “Wow. $95 for lunch. I’m not a cheap date.” OUCH.
$95/2 = $47.50. I thought the prawn risotto was a very proper “Ladies who Lunch” dish, but not a $47.50 dish. If I were on a diet — which I probably should be — I would have had just this and called it a day. And I would have been quite happy, if not jonseing for some egg rolls three hours later. But…if we put the ratio of starter to main here as 2/5 (ignoring of course any alcohol consumed) this starter cost me a more palatable $38. Yeah.
But you know I can’t possibly live on risotto alone. I moved on to the roasted quail with Korabuta pork belly, McWethy Farm “Hoop House” Tomatoes, Swiss chard, fiddlehead ferns, wild ramp — Is it me or are fiddleheads and ramp everywhere recently? — and basil jus. By my math, my mathematical error means this cost me $57 (going with that 3/5 ratio). Prettily presented and a very hearty hearty dish, at times, it felt like bottomless hard work. (Oh no…there’s STILL more pork belly.) But while the flavors came together nicely and it was all very, very interesting, it wasn’t the summery dish I was looking for.
What Happened Next: I checked my credit card statement the next day. $85. So either I actually did the math right, or Naha corrected my math for me. Relief. Majorly.
The Service: Really friendly and informative and opinionated, which I like.
The Loos: Meh. I’m so tired of Chicago restrooms. (And American restrooms in general.) They can just be so oddly cavernous and over-tiled at times.
The Verdict: I like Naha. If I had something to celebrate, I’d go back and try a different main dish. I’d be a bit more careful about ordering wine with my meal though as this ended up being a bit more pricey than I had hoped for.