Chicago is a city that likes to eat. In the past few years, it seems like every other week a new restaurant is opening, but that often means that somewhere else another one is closing. mk Restaurant located in the near-north neighborhood and owned by nationally acclaimed Chef Michael Kornick and his wife Lisa recently celebrated its 15th anniversary; proving that if you serve consistently good food and have excellent service Chicago will have you here to stay.
In order to celebrate their 15th anniversary, mk introduced a new dinner series called “Sunday Night Suppers.” Hearty, family-style dinners complete with appetizer, entrée and dessert are served in mk’s bar and lounge area for $30/per person. Last Sunday mk enticed me to break my Sunday night pizza routine by treating my guest and I to a Sunday Night Supper.
In addition to the Sunday supper the lounge area also offers several “bar bites.” Even though we were about to dig into a comforting winter meal, Taste Tester #1 and I couldn’t resist ordering the crab toast with Maryland blue crab, truffle cream, and scallions. The bread was toasted just the right amount, but chewy enough to hold up to the crab and truffle cream mixture without crumbling after the first bite. The truffle in this dish wasn’t overwhelming which is always a good sign that the chef knows his stuff. The crab was sweet and summery and seasoned well with salt and pepper.
For a super cold Sunday night the menu could have not been better, featuring seasonally appropriate winter veggies, slow-cooked meat, and a decadent dessert!
We started off our meal with brussels sprout salad, farro, honeycrisp apples, manchego cheese and sherry vinaigrette. Now normally when I think of a brussels sprouts salad I imagine a warm salad with shaved leaves; but this salad incorporated the leaves with other lettuces, which was a pleasant surprise and took away the normal raw, bitter taste brussels leaves can have. Both the cheese and the farro lent a nuttiness to the salad that complimented the shaved brussels leaves. The sherry vinaigrette was just the right amount of saltiness to pair with the crisp and tangy apples.
Next came the best pot roast I have ever tasted (sorry mom), accompanied by rosemary marble potatoes, spicy broccolini, a red wine reduction sauce, and horseradish crème fraiche. Trying to transfer the pot roast from the large shareable platter to my own plate proved quite the challenge because one touch of the fork caused the meat to melt into pieces. In the end it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen, because I was able to scrape it onto my plate while mopping up the wine reduction sauce and broccolini. I found that the crème fraiche not only paired well on the pot roast but also with the marbled potatoes.
The service throughout our meal was impeccable, and we never felt like we were less important customers just because we weren’t dining in the main room. In fact, part way through our entrees Executive Chef Erick Williams came out to chat with us about our meal, mk’s 15th, and their Sunday supper series. Chef Williams joined the opening team at mk in 1998 and took over leadership of the kitchen in the fall of 2008. While the menu retains a few customer favorites year-round, Chef Williams is inspired every week at the farmer’s markets in Chicago and bases his menus based off regional, in-season food.
Our meal ended on a sweet note with a vanilla citrus crème brulee, and shortbread cookies. This crème brulee was truly unique with hints of lemon and vanilla and was topped with bruleed cara cara oranges, blood oranges and kumquats. While the custard itself was one of the best I have tasted, the citrus fruits on the top really took the show. TT#1 showed me the way by using the shortbread cookie as a spoon making sure nothing went to waste.
Overall our meal was delicious, and very reasonably priced for the portion-size and the high quality of the food at one of Chicago’s best (and long-lasting) restaurants. I highly suggest breaking your Sunday night routine by trying out a Sunday supper!