Thursday, February 12, 2009

Restaurant Review: Rick's Cafe

So, I decided the other night, while out with some friends, that I would start doing restaurant reviews on my blog. One of my favorite things about living in Chicago is the fact that there are SO MANY amazing restaurants, most of them small, mom & pop owned, ethnic and BYOB (at least the ones I like).

Since my friends and I love trying new restaurants, I figured it would be a great idea to start incorporating reviews into my blog.
So Chicago readers, be on the lookout for more to come. Non-Chicago readers, now you'll know where to go on your next visit!

*please excuse the obnoxious picture. In the future I will try to get pictures of actual food, but had just decided to do this, and already consumed a bottle of wine at this point.

Rick's Cafe
3915 N Sheridan Rd

Joe and I moved about a half a block from here almost a year ago, but had never tried Ricks. There are a lot of great restaurants on this block, Pizza Rustica, TAC Quick and Fornello Trattoria just to name a few, and we overlooked Rick's.

The other night, my friends and I were planning on going out to dinner at one of our favorite BYOBs in Lakeview, Andalous. Andalous has amazing Morrocan cuisine and is one of those places that you can count on for delicous food, decent service and a great value. Well, up until now you could also count on getting seated right away. Not anymore, as we found out when we called ahead and were told there was a 2 hour wait!

So....we sulked for a bit...and then decided we needed to find our next fabulous BYOB that no one else knows about. I thought of Rick's, since I have been meaning to try it, and received recommendations from 2 different people. Online reviews were not consistent, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. Oh my god - you know when you get an insanely delicious dish from a restaurant and its all you can think about the next day? Or is that just me?
Okay - here's how I rate Rick's by category.

Food -
Amazing. Rick's cuisine ranges from French to Morrocan, so the menu has some interesting flavor combinations. I got the Fricassée de poulet ã la crême, a chicken dish cooked in morel juice, and finished with creme fraiche and honey. Soooo delicous. The sweetness of the honey definitely made this dish memorable.

My friends ordered
Penne Primavollo, Pasta with Shrimp and tomatoes, and Artichoke Raviolis. We all tried each others, and everyone's food was fantastic. The penne primavollo was probably my second favorite.

Value - Good, on target for the neighborhood and quality of food. Entrees ranged from $15 - $20. Corkage fees were $2 per person. A lot of people complained about this in the reviews I read, I really don't think its that big of a deal for a BYOB in Lakeview. Some restaurants charge by the bottle, and since the 4 of us usually go through at least 3 bottles when we go out, this worked for us!

Not great, to be honest. I'm not sure if it was the lighting, or the layout of the restaurant, but you definitely feel like you're just sitting in a little room with a bunch of other people, there is nothing to seclude the tables from each other. The restroom requires a trip through the kitchen, but this just always makes me laugh, since a lot of restaurants in Chicago are like this. Usually by that time I've had enough wine to say hi to the chef on my way through!

Service - Not bad, not great. Honestly, I've learned to lower my expectations on service since moving to Chicago. If a restaurant can get the food and value right, I'm a happy camper!

We will definitely be back to Rick's - hopefully this one has a couple more years before it turns into 2 hour waits!