My best friend and I wanted to grab a nice dinner on a Monday night. She suggested Ēma. It was a delightful experience. Read on to get all the details!
Ēma is a Mediterranean restaurant at 74 W. Illinois in Chicago’s hip River North area. The restaurant features Chef CJ Jacobson’s delicious California style of cooking. The menu is made up of Mediterranean style tapas or Mezze.
We started by looking at the drinks menu. The cocktails looked amazing, but being the whiskey lover that I am I went for the cocktail named ‘Rock The Kabseh.’ It was a delicious blend of whiskey, kibosh honey, vanilla, lemon, bitters. A little too sweet for my taste but yum all the same! Priced at a decent $11, I ended up drinking two of them 🙂
Moving on to the food. We were advised to order about two plates per person. The menu looked amazing. Choosing only 4 items was extremely difficult. But a decision had to be made and so we ended up picking the Salmon Kebabs, Grilled Octopus, Hummus with Lamb Ragu and the Tuna Crudo (all pictured below).
We started with the Hummus with Lamb Ragu. I don’t think I have a big enough vocabulary to tell you how much I loved this. I have never had a lamb ragu-hummus combination before but it was splendid! The lamb was tender and flavorful and the hummus was brilliant! I also love the plating, very picturesque!
We then moved onto the Tuna Crudo. The dish with crispy lentils, heirloom tomatoes, avocado and turmeric was a treat for my palette. All the flavors played together so beautifully bringing out the taste and freshness of the tuna. Amazing!
Our second round consisted of the Grilled Octopus and the Salmon Kebabs. Octopus is one of the those items which if cooked right can be amazing but it is also so easy to ruin. Ēma got it spot on! The octopus was soft, the edges were crispy and along with the fried kale, fingerlings and preserved lemon vinaigrette it was absolutely brilliant!
The Salmon Kebabs were fresh, tasty and oh so tender! The rice and the sauce with the kebabs was on point. All in all a pretty spectacular dish.
Finally, my favorite part of the night – dessert! They had a small but very interesting dessert menu. My go to dessert is always chocolate. But this time we were very intrigued by the Almond Cake. It also came highly recommended. So we decided to take a leap of faith! The Almond Cake came out with a beautifully roasted pear and some sweetened yogurt. It was heavenly! We absolutely loved it!
The decor at Ema felt very California summer. The service was great and the price was just about right. If you are ever in Chicago or the River North area, this spot is one to try out. I promise you won’t regret it!
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