Chicago >Food & Dining > Province
“Cocktail menu and wine list impressive and reasonable.”
“Everything was good at least, some dishes were truly memorable (as we expected from Zweiban).”
“Cocktail menu and wine list impressive and reasonable.”
“The service at Province stands up to the best restaurants in the city.”
“An incredible value for the $.”
Beautiful food and a LEED certified restaurant, Province is dedicated to making good for the environment as well as creating incredibly delicious and flavorful food. Province has a brilliant reputation for terrific service and food. As a member of Chicago's Guaranteed Green Restaurant Coalition, the owners take green and sustainability very seriously - harvested cork floors, energy efficient appliances, and fume free painted hot pink walls. Wow.
One of Chicago's best!. The service at Province stands up to the best restaurants in the city. And the food...outstanding. An incredible value for the $. The meatballs and the lamb dish are a must try! Solid wine list too.
If love is stronger in times of cholera then no doubt dinner is tastier in times of swine flu. And recession. Fewer people means fewer hassles. However, someone forgot to scare away Province’s remarkably attractive heap of customers on this fine Saturday evening. The bar hadn’t room to walk and the restaurant was as packed as a Russian moonshine tasting. We arrived 15 minutes before reservation time to grab a few drinks at the bar. Or so we thought. Despite there being 3 bartenders, and not a single un-served soul before us, it still took 8 minutes to place the order and another 4 to get it. I guess 2 glasses of house red is complicated. This worked out well because we were a mere sip or two into the first round when our table beckoned. In the world of reservations, timeliness is godliness.
As I walked across the harvested cork [Is there any other kind?] floor and settled into my recycled leather chair surrounded by LEED certification here and GREEN certification there I was secretly delighting in the fact that all this environmental gobbledygook was balanced by my having driven the 7 blocks to dinner in an 8 mile-per-gallon chariot. Hahahahahaha! Take your GREEN and stick it right up your BROWN.
Anyway, on to the gluttony.
Perhaps Province’s most delightful aspect is its breakdown of portion size. Small, Big and Bigger works for those unable or unwilling to drop 30 bucks on a cut of fish by enabling the order of a halfsie for $12. For caloric potentates like the author, such rationing is divine because now, instead of ordering 2 entrées and splitting a third, he and his date could (and did) order 8 entrées without being overly embarrassed. Nearly all were winners.
The best dish of the evening was the salmon. Burnt on the outside while nearly raw on the inside each bite made me regret not getting the bigger portion. Other winners were in descending order: Shrimp and grits, veggie rice, pork bocadillo, baby octopus, Hamachi sashimi and tortilla soup. The only loser was the oxtail stew of which there was little ox, less tail and a runny liquid that was closer to the stuff in a can of black beans than stew. I did find what I thought to be a microscopic cube of the promised pork belly but it turned out to be gristle. But don’t let me fool you. I still devoured every last drop of the stuff. When 7/8 dishes are perfect, it is unfair to proclaim dinner anything other than success. Table service was excellent too despite the fact that things took their sweet time leaving the kitchen. Though when one orders a cartload of half-portions some delays should be expected.
And the best part? 2 people eating to the point of immobility with 2 glasses of wine each for 100 bucks. In Chicago. In 2009. Believe it. Then go do it. Or I’m going to print out this review 50 times and not recycle it.
West Loop restaurant takes a fresh approach to organic, Earth-friendly dining and decor.. Housed in a gold-level LEED-certified building, this West Loop restaurant supports green practices with its use of energy-efficient appliances and reclaimed materials (Just how those upside down petrified manzanita trees got to hang from the ceiling will be the source of endless conversation during dinner.). Even the menus are environmentally friendly, made with PVC-free vinyl and recycled paper. Chef Randy Zweiban looks to Spain, Central and South America for inspiration, using organic ingredients in dishes like slow-roasted pork with rice and beans and melted Spanish blue cheese fondue with smoked onions and cumin crisps.
Best new restaurant in Chicago.
Wow. Randy Zweiban does his own thing! Sometimes when chefs go out on their own the result can be pretentious, or uber trendy...but Zweiban takes all the talents we loved at Nacional 27 and really created a place that we all can call home. Cool, unpretentious, totally green space and ingredients. A real showcase for the food, in a neighborhood that is soooo trendy and sometimes forgets that one of the reason that we dine out is to actually eat.
Took this first opportunity to totally over eat. Sampling about 1/2 of the menu for 2 of us was easy as dishes come in sizes from small bites to really big. Prices easy to digest also! Everything was good at least, some dishes were truly memorable (as we expected from Zweiban). Cocktail menu and wine list impressive and reasonable. Thanks to this flawless team for a memorable evening that i am sure i will repeat frequently.
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