The only thing working against Cafe Absinthe is its location; it was a $15 cab ride (before tip) from the South Loop. But it was worth it. I wanted to impress my date with a special evening, and this little bistro was just the place to do that. We had a wonderful meal.
To begin with, the decor is charming. And the kitchen is in the restaurant itself, so you can watch the chefs prepare your meal. When we found the entrance, which is around the corner from North Avenue and in an alley, and went inside, my lady friend gave a squeal of delight. It was just her kind of place.
We brought our own wine ($25 corkage fee), but ordered a glass of Pinot Noir to sip while looking over the menu and waiting for our Chardonnay to chill. They offer many wines by the glass, and I noticed that their wine list, although limited in selections, was very reasonably priced. So was the food. Appetizers were around $10, entrees $20 to $25. We decided to skip the soup and salads and share three appetizers: mussels, foie gras and the cheese plate. All were excellent, especially the mussels, which were served in a delicate cream sauce. And the portions were large! And the bread was superb; both my date and I remarked that we would have to be careful not to fill up on it
For our entrees, I had scallops, which were tender and tasty, and my date had the Horseradish Crusted Salmon, which was prepared perfectly. We were nearly full after this, but split a creme brulee for dessert.
Our waiter, who seemed to be very young, was friendly and professional. Our food was served promptly, and we were not hurried or rushed. All in all, it was a great evening. Our tab, including corkage, came to $137, which is very reasonable for a top Chicago restaurant. I would certainly like to eat here again, which is the highest praise I can think to give a restaurant.
If you own or manage Cafe Absinthe, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.