Due to my love of spending time in the kitchen and creating new paleo recipes, me and Jeff don’t frequently find ourselves at paleo friendly restaurants – honestly our eating out is typically the 20% of our 80/20 rule. But when we do go out and I’m looking for a paleo restaurant recommendation I have an excellent resource at my disposal, my good friend Anthony.
Not only can I count on Anthony to always come back from a restaurant with a plethora of information about the tastiness of food, how it’s sourced and it’s preparation, but there’s always a great story and photos to match. That’s why I’m very excited that Anthony agreed to share some of his Chicago paleo restaurant recommendations with us.
If you enjoy this review let Anthony know by leaving a comment and maybe we can convince him to share some more :)
Paleo Friendly Restaurant: Senza (Chicago)
Location: 2873 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657
A Taste Adventure
Ever been enthralled by a sci-fi drama that takes place in the distant future but the landscape is what nature intended and truly serene? This is what it feels like being within the walls of Senza. Its decor is pleasant, taking modern techniques of glass blowing and wall textures, but gently subdued by the beauty of its wooden tables and white chairs and the well placed plant life.
All this and we’ve just walked through the door. This is where the decor foreshadows the feast we’re about to embark on.
This adventure starts with a wondrous scoop of broth that tickles the tongue just enough to prepare it for the impact of a perfectly prepared salmon. The salmon melts as soon as it hits the tongue, but that’s not all. The salmon skin wilts ever so delicately as to provide a salinity that makes the dish complete.
If this is how the gate to this landscape was to be, I couldn’t wait to get inside!
The next part of this adventure was a delicious greeting of yet more wondrous things to come. The butternut squash soup is like being in a forest with a creek that gently submerges the rocks below forming a light froth that evokes a fragrance only nature intended. This is the feeling you get as it’s being assembled tableside. There’s noticeably an intent to keep the broth’s silky, sweet and creamy integrity intact while elevating the unique flavors of the fresh bitter greens, earthy proteins and sweet and fragile fruits.
This butternut squash soup is like an endearing hug from Princess Leia amid a celebration. But onward we go.
Next up, the appetizer, not that the amuse-bouche and soup couldn’t easily serve as an appetizer, but this is certainly a must have app and, in my estimation, the reason that scallops exist. It’s as if, in the future, the world made scallops solely for the purpose of surfing on a thin slice of salty and earthy prosciutto while holding onto a sweet and sour pickled fruit on the wild waves of caramelized pearl onions and that sour balsamic reduction. The flavors blend so magnificently that this ride is one destined to be taken.
One could easily frequent Senza for the scallops alone.
The adventure has already been unbelievable up to this point, but we’ve approached the climax of the story. Enter our hero.
He’s a cowboy, rugged with a heart of gold. A cut of beef that seconds no other, the filet mignon. He sits on a blackberry reduction, balancing both tart and sweet with a pile of hay, or in this case grilled trumpet mushrooms that embody earthiness and smokiness. Finally, as not to forget his white brimmed hat, he’s topped with a rich créme anglaise.
How does it taste you ask? Exactly as advertised, “sweet and salty, earthy and acidic” all on one plate. The proteins are elevated by the nuances of the blackberries’ tart sweetness and the mushrooms’ ability to bring it back down to land. The créme anglaise is just what’s needed to enhance the fat in the beef and massage the flavor down the taste buds.
I almost licked the plate clean.
How Paleo Friendly is Senza Restaurant?
At Senza they not only provide a delicious taste adventure, but they also strive to work with only fresh and local products and make every attempt to be allergen free. That’s right, a Chicago restaurant that cares about the sensitivities of it’s patrons, even us demanding Paleo-istas.
Their service complemented the meal perfectly and even catered to my Paleo driven requests. The staff was also very quick and friendly to ensure the dish was free of any food that we could not eat. When beans were in a dish, they gladly substituted for it and, we believe, it made the dish better!
Location: 2873 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657
Restaurant Rating: 5 out of 5
Paleo Rating: 4 out of 5
Paleo Restaurant Rating Scale
Restaurant Rating: How good is it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best I’ve ever had), how good is the restaurant, no matter if it’s paleo or not.
Paleo Rating: On a scale of 1-5 (5 being paleo perfection), how paleo is it? A 5 will have grass fed and pasture raised meats, local, organic produce and no peanut oil in sight.
More Paleo Friendly Restaurants
UPDATE: 2014 Michelin Chicago Guide
Today is an awesome day for food, the 2014 Michelin Chicago Guide is out!
The Michelin company strives to recognize the very best in cuisine by awarding stars to deserving restaurants and if you get one (out of a possible 3) your restaurant has earned world-wide fame.
Chicago is already home to many Michelin Guide selections, but seeing Senza make the 2014 Michelin Guide really hit home for me. Having experienced the attentive service, great tasting food, beautiful presentation and responsible sourcing (Senza supports the ecosystem so they continue to produce high quality food) – you get the sense that they are doing it right.
Keep providing magnificent experiences Senza and congrats on your Michelin rating!