3:55 PM CST, February 3, 2013
Nobody does Restaurant Week like Naha does. Considering that more than 250 restaurants participate, offering multi-course lunches for $22 and dinners for $33 and/or $44, that's no idle statement.
While most restaurants' Restaurant Week menus are simple special cards, Naha prints up a full-sized (11-by-14 inch), four-color menu on high-quality stock. Even on the lunch menu, there are four options for each of the three courses. Though prices are far lower than those on Naha's regular menu (which is also available), Naha delivers the same attentive, white-tablecloth service it provides the other 51 weeks of the year.
Among the lunch highlights on this year's menu is a lamb lahmajoon, a flatbread Armenian pizza that's a nod to chef/owner Carrie Nahabedian's heritage. Chicken thigh cooked tagine-style (the slow-cooked meat falls apart) is heady with the aroma of turkish spices, and the organic risotto is studded with cremini mushrooms, sorghum-glazed pork belly and crispy-fried kale.
The beet, arugula and shaved-fennel salad is a somewhat lighter option, but, fleshed out with a generous portion of imported burrata cheese, sweet medjool dates and toasted country bread, it's very satisfying.
Desserts include a chocolate cremeux with hazelnut spongecake, and a wonderful almond financier cake with creme mousseline, two well-loved Naha desserts. But the smarter choice might be the house-made cookie assortment, because they're easier to tote back to the office; after consuming two courses here, you're not likely to finish the third.
Naha's Restaurant Week reservations get snapped up in a hurry, but here's a tip: The restaurant sets aside a few tables for walk-ins, and the menu is available at the bar.
Chicago Restaurant Week continues through Feb. 10. For participating restaurants, menus and online reservations, go to choosechicago.com.
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