FROM COLORFUL TOASTS TO CAULIFLOWER STEAKS, YOU’LL BE CRUSHING ON THESE VEGGIE PLATES
Long gone are the days when Chicago was lumped into the Midwestern meat and potatoes stereotype. The city’s dynamic dining scene is now among the best in the country, with an abundance of restaurants and dishes that couldn’t be further from these old-school basics. The city’s vegetarian offerings are a prime example — unique and downright sexy. These are the best of the bunch.
Cauliflower steak at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
Although “vegetables” is missing from Joe’s title, this River North crowd-pleaser is as handy with produce as it is with meat and seafood. One recent example is the roasted cauliflower steak, an herb-marinated and chargrilled hunk of cauliflower with a verdant arugula-herb pistou, shaved fennel and sliced Pink Lady apples. It’s at once pungent, savory, peppery and sweet, and it’s finished off with a splash of lemon olive oil.
Whipped feta at Ēma
Feta at Ēma is drop-dead gorgeous, thanks to its silky texture and striking accompaniments. Crispy socca, a thin, crunchy Mediterranean pancake, is nestled in the middle of the feta, along with tangy marinated olives and a zesty pat of salsa fresca.
One way to give gnocchi some sex appeal is to make it greener than a salad. At RPM Italian, that green hue comes from ramp pesto, the most sought-after seasonal ingredient. It’s draped over pillowy-soft potato dumplings and finished with a generous portion of aged goat cheese for added creaminess.