ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 8 - December

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 83 of 147

SO MANY DINNERS DRINK ME Sip a cocktail as inventive as Senza's cuisine. One of Senza's favorite cocktails, simply called "bourbon," tempts with ginger beer and Thaiinspired bitters over mint-infused ice—a perfect example of the updated classic flavors that Senza aims for, according to "tavern wizard" Chris Voccia. "Everything in that cocktail came together." continued from page 80 salmon with ripe green asparagus. What sets these dishes apart is their preparation with disparate ingredients: perfectly seared scallops paired with pickled blueberry and onion jam; deliciously plump wheat-free agnolotti (created from various rice flours, tapioca starch, guar gum, and xanthan gum), which sits among a forest scene of dank chanterelles, leafy thyme, and juicy huckleberries; and garlic-encrusted lamb adorned with black figs and given added pops of color from dainty wildflowers placed perfectly atop via tweezers. Part of Senza's success may stem from the fact that the restaurant truly is a family affair: McMillan and Fonti are life partners; McMillan's son-in-law, Israeli-born Meni Mizrahi, runs Senza's daytime café selling gluten-free pastries—think golden English muffins and chocolate vegan doughnuts—from their Wheat's End Artisan Foods; Sandoval's wife, Cara, works the front of house. In addition, longtime friends Kevin McConkey of Grip Design (which has done brand development for Boka Restaurant Group and Steppenwolf Theatre Company) and his wife, Josephine Lee, the artistic director of Chicago Children's Choir, introduced McMillan and Fonti to designer Karen Herold of 555 International. Herold transformed the former retail space into a European-style eatery, with Midcentury Modern–inspired furniture, white-washed wood panels, and glass terrariums in the windows. While Sandoval humbly claims it's "just a restaurant," he admits that customers have responded passionately to the Senza experience. "People have cried sometimes because they're eating bread and pasta," he says. "When you see people react emotionally because of what you're doing, it makes you want to do it even better." It's that attitude and Senza's growing culinary reputation that attracts neighborhood regulars as well as part-time Chicagoans like award-winning opera singer Joseph Kaiser, who has sung at New York's Metropolitan Opera and elsewhere around the globe. "It's one of my favorite restaurants in the world," Kaiser says. "Noah's menu is truly inventive. Senza is a hidden gem up in Lakeview. It needs to be discovered." 2873 N. Broadway St., 773-770-3527; MA 82 In a tall Collins glass containing four large ice cubes with mint leaves frozen inside, add bourbon, lime juice, and ginger syrup. Top with ginger beer and finish with 12 drops bitters. Stir, then float three more drops of bitters. PASS bread are reinvented at Senza's café. THE BISCUITS Pastries and From blueberry muffins to cheddar chive biscuits, Senza's sunny daytime café sells an array of sweet and savory pastries, breads, and more created at the owners' Wheat's End Artisan Foods in Ravenswood. "Sundays are particularly fun," says McMillan, "because a lot of families come in, and my family is already there—everyone from my partner to my daughter and son-in-law with their baby." PHOTOGRAPHY BY HUGE GALDONES (PLATING, DRINKS) FROM TOP: Senza owners Susan McMillan and Amelia Fonti with chef Noah Sandoval; scallop with edamame, blueberry, and oxalis. Bourbon 2 oz. mint-infused Buffalo Trace Bourbon ¼ oz. fresh lime juice ½ oz. ginger syrup Reed's Ginger Beer Bitter End Thai Bitters MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 080-082_MA_Taste_SMD_Winter2014.indd 82 11/19/13 5:44 PM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of ML - Michigan Avenue - 2013 - Issue 8 - December