The other week as Taste Tester #1 and I walked into Prasino in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago he couldn’t help but exclaim “I feel like we’ve been transported to River North.” I felt the same way with Prasino’s clean and elegant décor and slightly swanky atmosphere. On a Tuesday evening the restaurant was a little bit empty when we arrived around 7:00pm but continued to fill up as our evening went on.
One thing I noticed right away about Prasino was the huge menu and many different types of cuisine, so when the manager graciously offered to have the Chef prepare some of the most popular dishes for us we gladly agreed. Neither Taste Tester #1 nor I are very picky eaters and normally we have a fairly tough time deciding what to eat; I’m sure it was a particular relief for TT#1 because when we usually split two dishes he’s saddled with the one that I like the least, he’s nice like that…most of the time.
Something I learned previous to dining was that Prasino means "green" in Greek. I was excited to learn that their priority is serving hormone/anti-biotic free meats, sustainable seafood, organic produce and eggs. They try to buy locally whenever possible, but aren’t afraid to seek out exceptional ingredients from around the country from like-minded vendors.
Anaconda Roll: lobster, shrimp, unagi, firecracker sauce, unagi sauce
Creamy, spicy, and hot (as in temperature), the combination was quite tasty and the two different sauces really created a bold flavor. I would definitely order this roll again.
Kefte: lamb meatballs, pepper coulis, feta, EVOO, naan
The meatballs were a good blend of meat and spices and were cooked perfectly, they weren’t overdone, but I wish the pita had been a little bit softer. Although some people may like that it has a little bit of a crunch which was admittedly a nice contract to the soft meatballs.
Pork Belly BLT: green chili pork, guacamole, arugula, tomato, jalepeño gastrique, grilled bread
The jalapeno gastrique is definitely something I’ll have to try to replicate in my own kitchen, the bread was perfectly crunchy and toasted and even with the addition of the tomato it wasn’t soggy.
Pesto Salmon: spinach, arugula, basil tomato relish, pesto
Ok...so this wasn't the exact salmon we ate...I forgot to take a picture before we ate it. But this one of another salmon dish at Prasino shows how fresh the salmon was and the intricacy that went into presenting the dish.
The pesto salmon was incredibly flavorful and definitely not one-dimensional. The basil tomato relish at the bottom combined with the liquid from cooking down the spinach was super tasty, everything tasted fresh, the salmon didn’t taste “fishy,” and it felt like a clean, healthy dish.
Chilled Beets: goat cheese, candied pecans, balsamic
I loved that there were both red and yellow beets, the yellow ones were particularly sweet, and there wasn’t an overload of goat cheese…I would have welcomed that too, but the candied pecans and balsamic added a great balance to the dish.