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Green Zebra Opening


Pugman
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The wait is finally over! Shawn McClain and Peter and Sue Drohomyrecky's new mostly-vegetarian fine-dining spot is set to open next week (Tuesday) in Chicago's West Town neighborhood. Considering their talents, you know Green Zebra is going to be a terrific addition to the Chicago dining scene.

I've heard they imported some of their best front and kitchen talent from Spring; which is a good thing because, like Spring, they will probably be booked solid from the get-go.

Yum! I can't wait to eat there.

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  • 3 weeks later...
tanabutler, that's some great info. I did not know that. :blink: I will have to ask them if they got their name from the tomato, when I go there tomorrow.  :biggrin:

Ok, yellow truffle...I expect a full report about your experience there...

Okay even a partial report would fine...

C'mon woman! You have to at least throw us a bone. :biggrin:

Seriously, I hope you have a wonderful time there tomorrow. :smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I'm hooked. I've been there three times already and have sampled quite a bit of the opening menu. Almost all hits, with only a few less-than-terrific dishes, including a few that are completely crave-worthy.

Hard to pick an overall fave, but the avocado panna cotta with tomato gelee and the sweet potato-ginger dumplings are phenomenal. The dumplings are made with purple Okinawan sweet potatoes and are served in a wonderful (mushroom-based?) broth. White and green asparagus with melted Camenbert and truffle essence also hits all the right notes for me, but one friend tought it was "too truffly." OK, I'll finish it then!!

Gnocchi with fresh wild ramps is simple and perfect. The only better gnocchi I've had was when GZ exec-chef/owner McClain was at Trio (black truffle gnocchi if memory serves). The only land critter served is an organic chicken breast served with a crispy, fatless, lacquered square of the best chicken skin I've ever tasted. Awesome (and I'm not sharing it with my companions next time). The other non-veg entree currently is halibut. It's good, but not as good as any of the countless fish dishes I've had at their other place, Spring.

They are still working out the pacing issues, so your meal may require some patience. They are trying to course out the meal, which is thoughtful but can lead to looooong waits. Frankly, I think they should just bring out the dishes in whatever order they're ready, Tapas-style. Otherwise, I can't imagine them being able to keep the prices down ($6-$14 per plate).

Co-owner/wine goddess, Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky, has a real knack for finding lesser-known, quirky wines that match the cuisine perfectly. The list at GZ is also a bit more budget-friendly than at Spring. I was very happy to see that she has Crios Torrontes a food-friendly white from Argentina (here priced in the $30 range). If you're not a wine geek, many of the selections will be unfamiliar. Just ask Sue for help--she's one of Chicago's best. Her vivid descriptions of wines (with accompanying hand gestures and facial expressions) are wonderful. We love her.

If you're a fussy diner, give them a month or so to get the minor kinks worked out. Otherwise, go with the flow and enjoy a really great meal unlike anything else around. Just remember, if your idea of ideal vegetarian cuisine is highly spiced Thai/Korean/Indian food, then this may not be a good fit for you. Also, if you're a bad kid and don't like your veggies, you won't be happy here, either. If you measure value by leaving totally stuffed (and with doggie bags), then GZ isn't your place. For the rest of us, the great restaurant city of Chicago just got even better. Bravo! I'll be back (and back and back...).

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... but one friend tought it was "too truffly." OK, I'll finish it then!!
never "too truffly" for me, lol. :laugh:

Thanx for the report. I'm excited. Will let you know.

Are there many vegan options here?  I have a vegan friend and it's hell to find a place that will please both of us.  This one sounds very promising!
Have you tried raw cusine. Karyn's on Halsted specializes in dishes that does not receive any heat.
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OK, I may have to get on GZ's public relations payroll, but their food is reward enough.

Here are some answers:

Yes, quite a few options for you "pesky" vegans :smile: . And they can adapt some, too, I'm sure (e.g., leave the cheese off of the asparagus/truffle essence dish and set it aside for when I come in). I think the orgasmically good sweet potato dumplings are vegan too. The only dish that conforms to the raw food guidelines currently is a green papaya napolean. I would imagine that they'll add more (especially when farmer's market season hits full-force). If they get more raw food requests, I'm sure they'll add more, but just don't expect raw to become their concept.

Oh yeah, they do a serving of three different vegetable "teas" that are vegan and delightful. Pure extracted flavors of vegetables and herbs. and leaves plenty of room for heavier things like the gnochhi and the non-vegan-but-killer gorgonzola dolce souffle with verjus. OK, my Chilpancingo lunch has worn off because I'm making myself hungry.

For those of you that are willing to eat cheese, their list is fun in that it is all domestic/artisan/organic. Please order a cheese course, so they'll keep adding to the list.

I have a feeling that they're going to wish they had opened a bigger place--it is much smaller than Spring. (So only tell your really nicest friends about this place or we'll never be able to get a table.)

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Oh yeah, they do a serving of three different vegetable "teas" that are vegan and delightful. Pure extracted flavors of vegetables and herbs. and leaves plenty of room for heavier things like the gnochhi and the non-vegan-but-killer gorgonzola dolce souffle with verjus. OK, my Chilpancingo lunch has worn off because I'm making myself hungry.
Oh that gorgonzola dolce souffle is what I'm gonna have.

Pugman, I heard the Chilpancingo is gonna close soon. I go there for lunch too. Today was a Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck :laugh: ) lunch.

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  • 3 weeks later...
C'mon woman!  You have to at least throw us a bone.
Buzz. Wrong answer, try again. :laugh: Sorry this took so long, ronnie_suburban ... Here is your bone, enjoy.

Located right next to the restaurant Flo, this minimal, clean looking store front sits at the corner of Chicago and Bishop. Upon entering, you walk along the side towards the back half of the restaurant where the host and bartender reside (not the same person). The bar is designed only as temporary waiting area as there are no seats. In fact, if there is a wait for your table, you may have to lean against the loft-like, brick exposed wall or along some of the window openings. The layout has free standing tables with regular and 'L' shaped booths. 26+ seats for the tables and 18+ for the booths.

Dishes ranged from $6-$14 for small appetizer sized dishes (think tapas or dim-sum sizing). The menu was one large sheet that did not break down into traditional courses. The items on the menu were arranged from light to heavy, top to bottom. Of the 20+ items, there is at least one meat and one fish dish, towards the bottom of the menu. Presentation of the dishes was great.

There were no specials as the menu is (I think) recreated daily, with some staple dishes always to be found. Two items to be found at the top of the menu were; (green papaya napoleon, with marinated mushrooms and sweet corn sauce) and (chilled organic beets, with mascarpone and port wine-lemongrass vinaigrette). A couple of the mid-menu selections are; (curry spiced eggplant potstickers, with pickled cucumber and ginger-carrot emulsion) and (fennel risotto cake, crisp parmesan, preserved lemon and syrah reduction). And a couple of items from the bottom; (alaskan halibut, shaved sunchokes, white asparagus, pearl couscous and tandoori spices) and (vermicelli, smoked tomato broth and horseradish with laura chenel goat cheese). The wine selection was okay. It had one of each the basic types of wines. They had only a selected hard liquor selection. The dessert menu is one not to be missed.

Some of the dishes were really amazing and some were a little below par, even though conceptually, everything sounded and looked great. Some hits were the (avocado pannacotta, with tomato gelee, creme fraiche and sweet corn chips), (gorgonzola-dolce souffle, endive, verju and crshed walnut toffee), (nonna zanella's potato gnocchi, with wild ramps and shaved reggiano parmesan). Misses (gunthorp chicken breast, roasted breast, fingerling potatoes, crisp skin and tangerine honey), (curry and buttermilk crepes, braised greens, cauliflower, tomato-mustard seed sauce), (chicken consomme, spring pea tendrils and rosemary). For dessert, we had the creme brulee sampler, a selection of three mini dishes of great flavors (I think this changes on occasion). Ohh, and they was no espresso. :angry: Just a mini french press for coffee and a selection of teas. Upon getting home, I made a double, double espresso.

Overall, my experience at the gz was okay. It's not at the top of my list, but would go back at least twice more (three strikes and you're out) to give it another try. :biggrin:

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C'mon woman!  You have to at least throw us a bone.
Buzz. Wrong answer, try again. :laugh: Sorry this took so long, ronnie_suburban ... Here is your bone, enjoy.

:biggrin: ...guess I had that coming.

Thanks for the detailed write-up yellow truffle. I'm sorry it wasn't an unabashed hit for you. Is it possible that some of the missteps may have been attributable to their just having opened?

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Chicago Reader has posted a review of Green Zebra on it's web site.

Click here

GREEN ZEBRA, the new, mostly vegetarian restaurant from Spring owners Shawn McClain, Peter Drohomyrecky, and Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky, the dishes have so much flavor and texture you'll never miss the flesh.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I've been there twice so far and had 2 great meals. I thought that the service was very good and I liked everything I ate (the Avocado Panna Cotta, the Beets with Mascarpone and Port/Lemongrass vinegerette and slow roasted-shiitakes in little potato bowls were the best dishes I tried IMO) . The dessert menu, as Yellow Truffle pointed out, is great. I loved the Dreamsicle.

Very similar to Spring, I thought, but with much warmer service. But the only time I went to Spring the waiter was not very good, so maybe that's not a fair thing to say (I hear the service there is normally pretty good).

Wish I could go into more details but I have some work to do sadly. I would certainly recommend this place though.

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  • 1 month later...

A very positive, 3-star review from Phil Vettel at the Chicago Tribune (published July 16)...

Green Zebra celebrates vegetarian cooking as envisioned by chef/owner Shawn McClain, formerly chef at four-star Trio. In many ways, Green Zebra is a logical extension of Spring, McClain's 4-year-old Wicker Park restaurant. Spring's menu embodies McClain's love of seafood, vegetables and all things Asian; Green Zebra is a more tightly focused version of the same vision.

At Zebra, not a cow in sight

I'm going to GZ later this week and I'm even more excited now than when we made our reservations. :smile:

FYI, here is a link to their web site:

Green Zebra

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I'm going to GZ later this week and I'm even more excited now than when we made our reservations.

I went there last Thursday for the third time. And it keeps getting better. The first time was on week two and I think that they did not have things ready. But now, things seems to flow nicely. Enjoy your meal.

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A very positive, 3-star review from Phil Vettel at the Chicago Tribune (published July 16)...

what criteria does mr. vettel use when giving out stars? blah blah blah blah blah :wink:

It is noteworthy how little controversy there is over restaurant ratings in Chicago. Since I generally agree with Mr. Vettel in most cases, I'm even more excited about our upcoming meal at Green Zebra, than I would have been otherwise.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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i am so torn...i don't eat meat but i do eat fish...i've got one night in chicago in august - spring or green zebra? is spring's menu also a sampling menu?

the review makes GZ sound so good - but Tarka's description of Spring had me sold there. what about ambiance - how are they different?

thanks all! i wish i had more time in chicago - i'd drag some of you out!

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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is spring's menu also a sampling menu?

yes

Um, I could very well be wrong (it wouldn't be the first time) and I haven't been to Spring for over a year, but I don't remember the menu there being a sampling menu in the same way that the menu at GZ is. I mean, I think they might have a tasting menu at Spring as an option, but it's not a whole menu of small plates like GZ. When I went to Spring I had a starter, a main and a dessert and that was more then enough food. At GZ there aren't really "starters" and "mains" and 3 courses there would not be quite enough (for me at least)

But maybe I'm misunderstanding the questions, Yellow Truffle certainly seems like more a regular then me.....

Edited by VeryApe77 (log)
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