Chicago- Karyn’s Cooked

Tonight, my foodie-loving friend Abbie and I agreed to meet up for dinner. She is an associate editor at a magazine to the foodservice industry and we both enjoy trying new things. Last year, she suggested meeting up at Avec, which was fantastic, so I left it up to her again this year. One of the restaurants she suggested was Karyn’s. What was so timely about this selection is that a few weeks ago when I was in Chicago for the Green Festival, a cute clothing-making hippie couple raved about this restaurant. So, I made a mental note to check it out in a future visit.

Karyn’s has two locations: Karyn’s Raw and Karyn’s Cooked. We decided to meet at Karyn’s Cooked because though I like raw food, my stomach isn’t completely convinced. Located in the River North district, I fell in love with all the beautifully designed buildings, art galleries and furniture stores. The restaurant is a block away from Moody.

Abbie shares my affinity for trying little bites of several different things, so we ordered enough food that she would have leftovers to take home. For starters, we tried the seitan skewers with a peanut sauce and a combination veggie basket, composed of cornmeal breaded broccoli, tofu and mushrooms that are deep-friend in extra virgin olive oil. Of the two, we both liked the tofu best, especially when dipped in the tasty barbecue sauce, but agreed that the vegetables could have been seasoned prior to being fried.

Our entrees arrived quickly. She ordered the slab of ribs, slathered in bbq sauce, which was a combination of tofu and seitan, while I got a lentil meatball sandwich. The texture of the meatballs was totally right, but we both agreed that they needed more tomato sauce on them. Her ribs were the highlight of the night- a must-try! She even said that she was taking some home so her boyfriend Eric could try them. They had a little bit of crust from grill marks and a nice smoky flavor combined with the sweet, tangy sauce.

Over tea, we nibbled at a slice of banana cake and a snowball made of carob, coconut and peanut butter. The snowball was okay, but found the cake to have the right consistency with its creamy frosting that was just sweet enough. This will be a place to revisit in the future.

AMBIENCE: intimate and upscale casual
NOISE: not bad, ambient music
GROUPS: small groups or one-on-ones
KID-FRIENDLY: no

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