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Menagerie for Lunch

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Menagerie for Lunch

G Wiv | Jun 20, 2003 09:40 AM

My wife Ellen and I had lunch at Menagerie on Monday where we canoodled over iced tea, excellent food and the best seat in the house. Not only did we have the best seat in the house, we also had the undivided attention of our waiter, Brian. The main reason we had Brian's undivided attention was, for the hour or so we were at Menagerie, we were the only customers.

Frankly I do not understand why we were the only customers, maybe it's because it was Monday, or possibly due to the fact that it was difficult to tell that Menagerie was open for lunch, they really need some window signage. One thing I can say for certain, it's not due to the food or service, which were both excellent.

We started with crab salad and salmon wraps for appetizers, both well executed and generous portions. The house cured salmon was served along side red onion, cucumber, cream cheese, capers and thin wheat flour wraps, some assembly required. The crab salad was served with fried tortilla strips and an avocado cream, which was quite good by itself or tucked onto the complimentary heated rolls.

Our entrees consisted of a duck confit grilled cheese for me, made with aged white cheddar, and a soft shell crab po'boy for Ellen. The soft shell po'boy was excellent as is, but the confit grilled cheese benefited from a dab of coarse ground mustard.

My sandwich was served with fresh made chips, (yukon gold, russet and beet) and the soft shell with very good, fresh made potato salad that my wife pronounced 'delicious' and she knows her potato salad.

Service was impeccable, especially give the fact that the restaurant was empty. I have been in similar circumstance where the waiter just gave a half-hearted effort, as if why bother for just one table, but not Brian. He was unobtrusive, but on the spot with water, iced tea, fresh hot rolls etc. He even changed our silver between courses.

When were done with our lunch the Chef and one of the owners, Mandy Franklin came out to chat, what a nice and interesting person. She said that they are about to open an outdoor cafe, or maybe that they had just opened an outdoor cafe, either way, it sounded quite nice.

Based on just one lunch it's difficult to highly recommend a restaurant, but I am going ot go out on a limb and say if you are looking for a nice quiet place to have lunch and canoodle with your wife at noon, Menagerie is the second best choice. First would be room service in a suite at the Peninsula, but at $36 for two appetizers and two entrees Menagerie is a lot less expensive.

Enjoy,
Gary

Menagerie
1232 W. Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL
773-404-8333

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