Tryzub Ukrainian Kitchen
With Ukraine in the headlines, dining at Tryzub (two syllables-try and zub) Ukrainian Kitchen in Ukrainian Village offers an opportunity to learn more about the country and its cuisine. The decor is a mix of elegant chandeliers and cultural artifacts, everything from books, furniture, maps and traditional clothing to photos of important authors and dignitaries.
There's a large screen running along one wall that shows cutting edge videos of Ukraine's pop culture. The sound is muted, so the videos are interesting, rather than intrusive. And because they focus on contemporary Ukraine, they strike a balance between the past and the present.
Famous dates in Ukraine's history are listed on the menu, and many of the dishes are priced to coincide with a particular event. The "fluffy" cheese pancakes, for example, are $10.27. Check out the date 1027, and it marks the construction of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev.
Ukraine is often referred to as the "breadbasket" of Europe, and much of its traditional diet is grain-based. It's a hearty, Eastern European cuisine, similar in many ways to the equally hearty diets native to the rest of Eastern Europe.
Expect vegetable-based pancakes made with potatoes, onions, zucchini, beets, and/or cabbage, all served with a side of thick sour cream. Pierogies (dumplings) come filled with potatoes and caramelized onions, potatoes and cheese, sauerkraut, pork, or beef. There's even a pierogi (or varenyks) filled with sour cherries listed on the dessert menu.
Somewhat lighter, the mini-peppers are filled with a mix of rice and ground bison and topped with a well-seasoned tomato sauce. Ukrainians rely on a limited group of traditional seasonings, such as salt, pepper and dill. And while Tryzub offers an updated version of the cuisine, diners shouldn't expect dishes loaded with exotic spices or herbs.
On the other hand, the vegan, gluten-free cheesecake is anything but traditional. The filling and crust are made with avocado, coconut, dates and almonds and served with a blueberry coulis. The texture of both the filling and crust is much like those of a traditional cheesecake, but the offbeat flavors are definitely unique.
Tryzub is the kind of place where you plan what you'll eat on your next visit to prevent over ordering on your current visit. So far, I've sampled the pierogis, pancakes and peppers, so next time, I'm thinking schnitzel, salmon, strudel, sausage, stuffed cabbage or soup, either solo or in one combination or another.
Tryzub Ukrainian Kitchen, 2201 Chicago Avenue. 773.698.862
Brunch : Tuesdays-Fridays until 11 am, Saturdays and Sundays until 2 pm. Dinner Tuesdays-Sundays. There's a full bar menu including cocktails, wine and spirits. The two Ukrainian wines are on my "next time" list, along with the Odessa Mule infused with Honey Vodka, ginger beer, and lime.
Photos by Judith Landesman
October is National Pasta month, and Tuscany Restaurant Wheeling is offering a special pasta flight from Tuesday, October 2 through Thursday, October 31. Available Mondays-Fridays for both lunch and dinner, the threes course flight includes Penne della Nonna (Mostaccioli with ground sausage and beans), Raviolacci di Brasato (jumbo ravioli filled with braised beef shortribs and brown butter parmigiano) and Fettucine Cacio e Pepe (fettuccine pasta with cracked black pepper and a cream sauce).
The flight is $23; the optional wine pairing is $13.
Tuscany Restaurant Wheeling
550 S. Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling 847.465.9988
Pastoral is launching "Perfectly Paired," their first ever Monthly Wine Club. Members will receive three specially selected bottles per month, in addition to an array of plusses.
For details, email email@example.com
On Thursday, October 17 at 6:30 pm, Davanti Enoteco is hosting a Limoncello Hands-On Class. In addition to learning how to craft Davanti's signature Limoncello, participants will sip on samples from the bar and enjoy selected antipasti. As an added bonus, every guest receives both a copy of the recipe and a bottle of Limoncello. The cost is $63 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call for reservations.
Davanti Enoteca Taylor Street, 1359 W. Taylor Street, 312.226.5550
Perry's Steakhouse & Grill in Oak Brook
To celebrate the new season, Perry's Steakhouse & Grille is featuring five off-the-menu specials : harvest salad tossed with an apple cider flax seed vinaigrette ($12), white bean pork chili ($11), lobster truffle risotto ($45), butternut squash pureed with bacon and maple syrup ($12), and pumpkin cheesecake ($10) with a pecan ginger snap crust, vanilla ice cream and a salted caramel drizzle.
Perry's Steakhouse & Grille, 5 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook 630. 571.1808