Monday, July 11, 2011

Province - Chicago, IL

I am so embarrassed that I am months and months behind in my posts.  I can't even remember what I ate.  This was a lovely dinner though that I had with my friend Christina.  

We were greeted with an amuse bouche of fried olives.  It took us awhile to figure out what to order so they accidentally brought us two plates of this.  Psst... don't tell anyone, we didn't mind though.  :)

They brought us complimentary bread with white bean dip.

We came here for Chef's Week too - I know, I'm a glutton.  We asked if one of us could do the Chef's Week and order other items off the menu since we had heard about some of their more popular dishes, like the ten hour braised lamb.  

They actually thought that was a great idea so we asked for some suggestions.  They mentioned the blue cheese fondue.  Christina and I were weary about this since we weren't sure how overpowering the blue cheese would be, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  It was surprisingly well balanced.  

For our Chef's Week appetizer choice, we had a choice between a beet & watercress salad, which would be a no-brainer for me, but I thought I should be adventurous and try something different.  It's hard to screw up a beet & watercress salad in my opinion.  So we went with the house made duck sausage and rice bean stew with duck confit and brussels sprouts.  

What's great about their menu is that they have entree size portions and you can also get a smaller plate option of some of their bigger plates.  We had a hard time choosing between the ten hour braised lamb and the ropa vieja so we got small plates of both. 

This is the ten hour braised lamb with roasted eggplant, house made chorizo and corn bread.    I wish I could remember this dish better but it was tasty.  

The other popular dish is the slow roasted pork ropa vieja with vanilla mashed potatoes.  This was also very similar to the lamb dish in that they are both braised or slow cooked.  From the hours of cooking you get moist, tender meat with a luscious sauces.  We probably should have tried something different, but both were too enticing.   

As for our Chefs Week entree, had the choice of ancho pappardelle pasta with sweet fried piquillos (a type of pepper), roasted garlic and house made queso fresco and a farm raised striped bass with leeks, thyme, fingerling potatoes and chimichurri.  We went with the fish. 

For the dessert course, we chose a lemon pound cake with blood orange swirl ice cream and blood orange compote.  I forgot to take a picture, but we enjoyed it.  It wasn't too heavy or rich, just a perfect way to end our lovely way.    

They also send you home with a small bag of individually wrapped cookies.  It was a nice gesture and it definitely let me reminisce on our meal when I got home later that night.  

Looking back at our meal, I realize it was very meat centric, but it was also like below zero when we had this meal so it seems appropriate for the winter, but it's probably not what I'd be eating these days with the weather the way it is now.  I'm looking forward to checking out what the summer menu holds for province.  

161 N Jefferson St
(between Monroe St & Randolph St)
ChicagoIL 60661

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