Chicago Restaurant Week is currently in full swing! This 14-day dining event is currently taking place at restaurants throughout downtown, the neighborhoods and suburbs. To celebrate Chicago Restaurant Week, all this week we’ll be featuring paleo friendly restaurants.
First up? Taxim!
Today Anthony is going to take us on a culinary tour through Greece with this paleo friendly restaurant.
When it comes to Paleo friendly restaurants in Chicago, if you’re in the mood for seafood, Taxim is the place to go.
Paleo Friendly Restaurant: Taxim (Chicago)
Location: 1558 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
That’s what you want to scream when you walk into this lively and upbeat establishment. The decor may be slightly on the classic-orthodox-church-style, complete with ornate lamp covers and copper clad tables, but I assure you that the energy level is on the up and up.
As we walked toward our table it felt as if we were on a food trek through the Greek mainland countryside on a quest to find the perfect meal, fit for Spartan royalty. One thing that Greek food is known for is seafood. So of course we began our taste adventure on the coastal side.
What could be better than octopus?
This one, however, wasn’t as intimidating as the Hydra was to the many voyagers of yesteryear. Being hungry and impatient from the “long walk” and short of an embarrassing mouth drool, I immediately gave it a splash of lemon upon receiving this dish. The lemon gave it a nice acidity to bring out this protein’s natural flavor. What this octopus lacked in sheer size, it made up for with boldness of flavor. Grilled to perfection, so it wasn’t chewy at all, this octopus made my palate water. It was the perfect appetizer.
Although this was very delicious, we couldn’t be biased and stop our journey there. We ventured on to try what else they had to offer.
Next we were lead to the grazing lands. Along some of the Greek foothills you may find some of the best homemade yogurt. I believe that yogurt is a food meant for gods, if it’s done right. It has to be creamy enough to stand on its own, and not runny like Phidippides’ job.
Yogurt also has to have that delicious fatness that comes with cream. It just coats your mouth with a pleasant layer of richness and this yogurt sauce had it. With the addition of garlic, the yogurt just popped open my taste buds. What’s crazy is that this was just the base!
The dish was also adorned with perfectly grilled cherry tomatoes to add some acidic zest as well as an earthy sweetness to make sure it stayed balanced. I could’ve just stopped there and had a bowl of this, but the titan of this dish was a perfectly wood-grilled lamb shoulder. That tender piece of meat, wood-smokiness and its complementary base made me feel like a Greek king indeed. All the flavors I was looking for in a dish yet it was simply another appetizer. Not King-like at all.
Onward in our Paleo journey we go!
The next part of our journey takes us to the fields of Greece. And since we dined on the amazing flavor of lamb, we couldn’t go wrong with getting the lamb chops. Now I’m the type who loves perfectly cooked lamb. It has to have very little gaminess and robust earthiness. I usually request that the meat be cooked medium to ensure the right flavor and this was on target. The lamb chops were wood grilled like the shoulder but were given a wonderful sweetness from the pepper bed it sat on. These chops were delicious; they had me imagining myself sitting back as if I were about to be fanned by lovely Greek ladies dressed in togas. Alas, this may have been close to what I was looking for, but I needed to keep searching.
Let’s jump back to the sea, the Aegean sea that is. From the local folklore the word is that the sea bass found there are as close to royalty as you can get.
The okra was pedestrian. Cooked properly, seasoned well, but not amazing.
The service at Taxim, a Paleo friendly restaurant in Chicago, up to this point was wonderful. But after receiving this dish, I had to elevate it to royalty. Despite being busy, the plates came out in succession and we were asked if we would like the fish de-boned. Yes, yes of course!
We were expecting the royal treatment at this point and the fish did not disappoint. It was everything that a prince would want, the sweetness that a whitefish gives, cooked to perfection where it’s both moist and flaky. A splash of lemon and this fish was just perfect.
It’s almost impossible to explain, but the sea bass was prepared so simply, Paleo and delicious. Aside from being done right it was laying on a bed of roasted dandelion that just gave it an uplifting bitterness that made me feel like I was on Mount Olympus itself.
Choose TaΞim for Greek cuisine in Chicago
TaΞim strives to make food that is cooked to perfection but is also sustainable! They offer plenty of Paleo options on the menu. Some of the local farms they are working with are Iron Creek, Nichols Farm, Heritage Prairie Farm and Green Acres Farm.
Paleo Friendly Restaurant: TAΞIM (Chicago)
Location: 1558 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Restaurant Rating: 4 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.