June 2010 Bites

Read the latest restaurant reviews from the MIBS:

Penny’s Noodle Shop
Northfield

Penny’s, located right off 1-94 at Willow Road, is the perfect place to pick up an order to bring to Ravinia (or eat there before the concert). Try the Thai Spring Rolls (rice pancakes stuffed with tofu, cucumbers, bean sprouts and omelet strips), Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, and the Vietnamese Spring Rolls (rice paper filled with noodles, veggies, cilantro and basil) to start. The Shrimp Salad, tossed in a spicy sauce on top of red cabbage and carrots, pairs well with the Pad Thai or Hot Pepper Noodle with Beef. All of their food travels well (although perhaps the soups aren’t the best choice for takeout). And the prices are incredibly reasonable.

Carnivale
Chicago

Still loud, still packed … but what fun! Great place for a girl’s night out or date night. Start with a Raspberry or Ginger Mojito, order some of the delectable Guacamole with fresh tortilla chips, the Arepas (Venezuelan corn cakes with duck confit) and a Shrimp or Mixto Ceviche to share. Mama Mendez’ Arroz Con Mariscos (paella chock full of shrimp, clams, squid, chorizo and chicken) and the Quinotto (vegetarian quinoa prepared risotto-style) were hits at our table. The Fried Yuca with Garlic Mojo is side dish nirvana. Where else can you go and feel this hip?

Campagnola
Evanston

This organically focused restaurant continues to delight with its thoughtful wine list, intimate atmosphere, and respectful service. The Wood-Fired Radicchio stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon is a taste explosion. I’m a fan of the Arugula Salad with Blood Orange and Fennel, especially when followed by the Linguine with Grilled Prawns and Preserved Lemon. The fish is always delightful, and the lamb? Yum. A very grown-up restaurant, but not stuffy.

Hackney’s on Harms
Glenview

This place feels like summer to me. When I’m sitting on the patio, sipping a gin and tonic, munching on my French Fried Onion Strings and waiting for my Patty Melt, I’m a happy camper. Sure, you can order a steak or their famous BBQ Ribs, but when my Bleu Cheeseburger or classic Reuben Sandwich lands on the table, that choice is one you’ll have to live with. I’m not sharing mine. Bring the family and the bug spray.

Mt. Everest Restaurant
Evanston

One of the few places around to find Nepalese food; they have a terrific lunch buffet during the week laden with Indian specialties. Service is quick and efficient, and the a la carte menu is vast. Love their reliably great Tandoor dishes (Chicken Tikka and the Boti Kabab are faves), moist Biryani (fragrant rice mixed with vegetables and meats), and chewy, toasty Naan and Paratha breads. The Vegetable Samosas here are remarkably greaseless; dip them in the herby green cilantro chutney. Mango Lassi and Kingfisher beer are the drinks of choice. If you like goat, you’ll love the Khasi Ko Masu. All dishes are meant to share.

Fogo De Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
Chicago

Fogo De Chao honors the Brazilian churrasco method of Dining- families festively gathered around fire pits roasting meat. Because the restaurant captures that sensibility and maintains consistent quality, this is a favorite dining destination for our family. The hot popovers, salad bar and molten chocolate cakes are all the best in Chicagoland. The gaucho servers are charming and fast, circulating through the restaurant with 15 types of grilled meat on spits that they carve at your table. My favorite are the bacon-wrapped chicken and beef ancho (an exquisitely seasoned rib eye), but I enjoy every cut they offer. It’s perfect for family celebrations, such as birthdays or graduations. Everyone in the family can find something they love and it’s a meat-loving teenagers’ dinging dream.