Bustling with plates heaped with zesty comestibles and the musical trickle of wine, Al Primo Canto mimics the lively atmosphere of a Brazilian galeteria with family-style dishes and festive fire-toned lamps. Celebrating pairs and dual-pairs can compare bite marks in thick pieces of roasted eggplant, drizzled with tahini, lemon, and olive oil, before launching pieces of roasted mushroom and goat-cheese bruschetta at each other with a catapult. Side dishes including crispy-fried polenta, shimmying under a shower of grated parmesan cheese, dance around main dishes such as young chicken, marinated in white wine and slow-roasted gaucho-style, or leg of lamb marinated in 15 spices. A bottle of wine lubricates bicameral paper-or-plastic debates among pairs, and two bottles serve as twin juggling clubs for four sure-handed diners.
Not a lot of ideas dreamed up on a first date come to fruition. But for Daniela and Brad, their first date in a Sao Paulo pizzeria grew into more than just a romance. With every successive date, their wouldn't-it-be-nice dream of opening a Brazilian-style pizzeria grew too shape. Not too long after, they decided to use the recipes handed down from their Italian ancestors to create their pizzeria, Fogo 2 Go.
In their cozy store-front—taken up by a main counter and an enormous brick oven—they bake crispy, Italian pizzas paired with unique Brazilian influences. Their pies come layered with everything from classic Italian sausages to more unique brie margherita and shrimp scampi toppings. True to the idea's Brazilian roots, they also cook up treats such as coxinha—an empanada filled with seasoned chicken and mashed potatoes—as well as desserts such as flan and Nutella & Banana pizza.
Aside from the Brazilian-Italian comestibles, Fogo's crown jewel is the brick-fired, charbroiled whole, half, or quarter chicken. Thanks to the intensity of the oven's heat and the incantations of the bistro's house shaman, the chicken quick-cooks, leaving a bacon-crisp skin and sealing in juices. What they never decided in their dream was the type of beverages to serve, so the pair let customers make that choice themselves with their BYOB policy. Fogo 2 Go even satisfies late-night hungers by staying open until 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
Brazilian-born chef Jorgina Pereira relies on ingredients such as cassava root, collards, and coconut to infuse stews and stir-fries with tropical flavors at Sinhá. Pereira prepares her homeland's cuisine at home, welcoming guests into her historic brick townhouse for intimate meals, morning to mid-afternoon. In addition to doling out tropical comestibles at its brick-and-mortar location, the staff takes a custom catering menu on the road with Brazilian musicians, dressing for events in a Carmen Miranda-like uniform of flowing dresses and fruit-filled head dresses. Sinhá is a local favorite, and was even featured on ABC 7 Chicago News in a restaurant segment.
The lengua burritos, Jarritos, and red and green sauces that smother enchiladas aren't the only authentic south-of-the-border touches at Changarro Cocina. Its drink list also brings some traditional flavor. The granite bar area, part of the new owner's renovations, hosts more than 70 different tequilas and margaritas made fresh without any mixers. Patrons sip these beverages while nibbling ceviche, huaraches, and tortas and cheering on soccer matches, baseball games, and ice-fishing tournaments broadcast on TVs throughout the restaurant.
A chic escape in the heart of downtown Evanston, Todoroki Hibachi + Sushi is a welcomed getaway from the usual sea of purple sweatshirts and Wildcat gear found on Davis Street. Sleek, sand-colored booths built into textured-stone walls trace the perimeter, right across from classic black tables set for two. Dim spotlights shine romantic light from overhead, illuminating platefuls of hibachi-grilled seafood, steak, and vegetables, or the chef’s selection of fresh sushi including nearly 20 signature rolls. White, red, and sparkling wine accompany meals, and japanese beers and sake help patrons pretend they’re in Japan or a movie that takes place in Japan.
The Elliott family has specialized in creating sumptuous seafood, juicy chops, and pillowy piles of pasta since 1939. Elliott's Seafood Grille & Chop House's stately menu takes tonsils on a tour of succulence with the New York strip, 14 ounces of prime protein, aged a minimum of 21 days to ensure your fork can finally act like a knife for once in its life ($28.95). Elliott's will add horseradish, garlic, peppercorn, or blue cheese to any steak or chop for an additional $2 with a signed waiver promising you will use a breath mint. Appetites indulge in the aquatic awesomeness of stuffed Atlantic salmon, with roasted red peppers, portobello mushrooms, ricotta, and romano cheese, baked in white wine ($19.95). Patrons needling for noodles can try the farfalle with pine nuts and pesto ($11.95) or the penne di lucca, a splendid blend of sausage, spinach, sweet roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and the ability to smell time ($15.95).
Helmed by husband-and-wife team Al and Sima Bovali, Corner 41 Bar and Grill welcomes diners with a stylish, homespun ambiance. From an open kitchen, wafts of gourmet American fare escape pans to greet guests at their tables, where menus harbor the tasty details of elegant entrees, burgers, and sandwiches. Exposed-brick walls unify with dark hardwood floors to augment the restaurant's intimate airs, and high ceilings create an acoustically sound backdrop for rustic ducts and yodeling chandeliers. Diners can also enjoy sips from a favorite wine, draft beer, or martini, and midnight closing times on the weekends accommodate late-evening munchers.