Monday, February 22, 2010

Restaurant Week, Part One: David Burke's Primehouse

Unfortunately, or perhaps it is rather fortunate given my chosen lifestyle, I received my tax refund on the same day my boyfriend says to me, "Have you looked at any of the 'Restaurant Week' menus? A lot look very good."

Restaurant Week 2010, on its third year in Chicago, boasts over 170 restaurants, all featuring some variety of the prix fixe menu, a favorite among the budget-conscious, or those who just may like their options narrowed down for them. For dinner, $32 will get you a three-course meal including a starter, an entree, and dessert. Sign. Me. Up. Well, as I mentioned before, my boyfriend and I received our tax refunds on the same day, had a brief conversation about the restaurants, at which point I went a little crazy and just started booking reservations. We ended up with four reservations.

In typical "Amanda" fashion, I chose to pore over the menus before heading out: drinks and restaurant week menu. I had decided beforehand that in addition to learning to eat runnier yolks this year (a task not to be explored at DB's, but elsewhere), I was going to learn to drink a more classic cocktail. A perusal of their cocktail menu had me fixated on the "Tickled Gibson" which is essentially an icy triangle glass of good vodka (in this case, Chopin) garnished with picked onions, or as the menu boasts "housemade pickled red tropea." Well, I like onions. And I like pickles. And generally, I like vodka. Granted, I usually opt for a little soda with the liquor, but I was ready to branch out. Another twenty minutes looking at the menu ahead of time, and I was set.

The scene of the evening started out rather poorly. Chicago was once again being hit with another snow storm, this one consisting of wet and heavy snow that was more like icy little drops of rain. But my man and I refuse to cancel our plans. We'd never leave if we chose bailed every time the weather got nasty. So we bundled up and trekked off the bus stop. (I always feel a little odd taking the bus out when we are going to drop money on dinner. However, unless it is very late, it is a great way to "pinch pennies" when your pennies are going elsewhere, like on $14 cocktails.)

On time to the restaurant, we were seated immediately (point one, DB's!) in the warm dining room that was abuzz with activity. Excited diners, mostly young people, and bustling servers. We were sat in a cozy booth (my favorite) and tucked in for what we hoped to be a promising meal.

Our server approached us, young, enthusiastic, and with the most gorgeous curly blonde hair tucked back into a pony tail, and explained the restaurant week menu and that we were able to upgrade to their full steaks for an additional surcharge. At this point, I was ready for my "grown-up" cocktail and ordered my Gibson. For my favorite date, a Gin Gimlet (oh, James Bond would be proud.) The verdict on my cocktail? Two (pickled) thumbs up. Yes, it was a glass of icy vodka. But it was tasty. And I could pop those onions all day long. Yum. But the man's Gimlet was incredible, made with Hendrick's Gin, a cucumber and rose-petal infused gin, lime juice and a slice of cucumber. At the first sip of his cocktail, I decided that this would be the drink I would drink if I was able to retire rich and lounge poolside all day. Incredible.

Our meals were superb, I likely will go into more details via yelp review at a later time. Suffice it to say, the Delmonico steak (the center cut of a ribeye) at seven ounces was sized perfectly for my dainty lady stomach (ha!) and the lobster bisque was incredible. Service was marvelous, and the evening went off without a hitch. Granted, we spent $50 on drinks (in addition to our prix fixe menu), but we agreed it was worth every penny.

Yes, our refunded tax dollars maybe better put to use at our present debt. But as my boyfriend noted to me as we left last night: "This is what I love about not having kids and not living in the suburbs." Me too. For now, I will be a bit selfish, I will eat brilliantly, and drink even better. Hey, Restaurant Week is one week a year. And for that week, I will eat like it's my job and have the funds to pay for it.

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