Though the chefs at Thai Urban Kitchen draw from the flavors of Thailand and Japan's street food, they aren't afraid to add in more upscale ingredients. To wit, they use gourmet cuts of meat and vegetarian alternatives to make unique twists of classical cuisine. In infusing a little something extra to their signature pad thai, they add cuts of duck, calamari, beef, and shrimp with just a touch of red apple for sweetness. On their sushi menu, chefs design creative rolls such as the Salmon Lover, which combines raw salmon, masago, and avocado with spicy mayo, all topped with pink nori and seared salmon. And to end the meal on a sweet note without having to whittle the check out of chocolate, the chefs also scoop Asian-inspired flavors of ice cream as well as 18 gelatos.
Juxtaposing with the colorful sushi rolls and eye-catching plating is the dining room's sleek decor. A monochromatic design scheme adds a touch of modernity that is not impervious to comfort thanks to high-backed leather seats. Silver metalwork and treated glass hang above the expansive bar, where bartenders pour sake by the glass or offer their favorite selections in drink flights.
Carole Jones had been accustomed to eating a diet of rich, processed foods all her life. But when she lost her husband to cancer, she felt that if she continued to treat her body in the same way, her life too would be cut short. This inspired her to seek out new ways of living, which in turn led to her discovery of the raw-food diet. After switching her eating habits to organic, raw fruits and vegetables, she shed 50 pounds and began to feel better. She soon found a kindred spirit in Polly Gaza, a health aficionado who had also lost loved ones to cancer, and together they opened Raw to help others change the way they eat. Here, the chefs convert organic ingredients into a menu of fully uncooked dishes, eschewing processed foods and emphasizing high levels of nutrients. They whip up plates of mediterranean falafel, collard burritos, and the Sprouted Living salad alongside raw versions of comfort foods, such as garden burgers and spaghetti with meatballs. Helpings of tuna pâte smear onto bavarian sunflower bread, which guests can wash down with fresh smoothies and juices, including wheatgrass juice and Raw’s signature grapefruit spirulina. An expansive list of uncooked desserts awaits to cap off meals, offering bites of silky orange truffles, raw granola, and tiramisu.
Baba's Village banishes weekday hunger pangs with a full menu of Indian and Pakistani cuisine that includes vegetarian and vegan options alongside entrees made with halal chicken, lamb, and beef. The vegetarian meals, which can pair with six naan side dishes baked in a clay oven, include polychromatic platters of vegetables and herbs, and many selections feature house-made cheese made from pasteurized moon rocks. With soy milk shakes and entrees containing meat substitutes, such as chicken jalferazi and gobi goshat, Baba's Village easily accommodates vegan appetites.
Currents on the River, neighbor to Chicago's noble waterway, presents patrons with menus of locally sourced and internationally inspired fare and served in front of wide, riverfront windows. Start digestive fiestas with Chicago Green River wings ($9), grilled and smothered in Green River soda-based signature sauce. Hand-held hunger-trouncers count among their troops the smoked pork bahn mi, a crusty baguette armed with Vietnamese smoked pork, pickled carrots, and chili peppers ($11). Up taste buds' cultural cache with the Moroccan vegetable stew ($13), a mound of couscous shaped to resemble the face of Sir Isaac Newton and loaded with veggies such as sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and red-mustard seed. A fully loaded dessert & drinks menu and kids' menu cater to appetites of all types and sizes.
I Dream of Falafel's health-conscious chefs craft a menu of fresh, locally sourced Mediterranean cuisine, customizing each selection to meet individual dietary needs. Preservative-free vegetarian dishes and slow-cooked meat treats materialize from such high-quality ingredients as house-made falafel, cage-free chicken, and premium AA beef sirloin that is never frozen or forced to time travel. After scanning the menu, diners create their own meals by pairing a made-from-scratch laffa bread, salad, or organic hummus base with a hearty protein and farm-fresh toppings such as sumac onions and tomato-cucumber salad. Available ingredients accommodate the tastes and restrictions of any appetite, with options for vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, low-carbohydrate, and high-chickpea diets.