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Naha: Exquisite Mediterranean (River North)
Upscale Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. Chefs Carrie and Michael Nahabedian know their stuff! Wonderfully comfortable setting, excellent service. Very good wine list, ranging from the reasonable to the mortgage-payment. Entrees between $15 and $22. Probably my favorite "high-class" restaurant in the city. Restaurant open for lunch and dinner, the bar is open till midnight.
(Naha received a coveted Michelin star in their 2012 Guide to Chicago Restaurants, "a very good restaurant in its category". )
- Food and Dining
Naha: River North-Mediterranean/contemporary
Last visit April 24, 2010
This was my 2nd visit to Naha, the 1st time I went for lunch, this time for dinner. The name Naha is an abbreviation of the owners last name, Carrie Nahabedian and her cousin Michael.
The lunch menu is much more affordable than the dinner menu, entrees for lunch run between $16 and $25, double that for dinner. The menu changes on a seasonal basis and they are a restaurant that tries to use local organic foods. We made a reservation for 5:30pm on a Saturday night via phone but you can also book through Open Table
The interior is very modern in design, if you dine here you might want to leave the blue jeans at home as most of the patrons were in more upscale clothing. Service was efficient but snooty.
Favorite Dish: We ordered the Maryland soft shell crab ($18) for an appetizer, it was one soft shell crab garnished with radish slices and a few other assorted things. It had a nice flavor, although a bit salty, but $18 for one tiny little crab? For my entree I selected the Wood-Grilled 18 oz. Prime Ribeye of Beef and Spring Onions with a Gratin of Macaroni, Great Hill Blue Cheese, Rich Oxtail Sauce and Murray River "Apricot" Sea Salt ($48) and David ordered the Roast Aged Moulard Duck Breast "Lacquered" with Honey and Sorghum, Mountain Huckleberries, "Thumbelina" Carrots, "Purple Top" Turnips, Broccoli Rabe and Port ($35). My steak was good and at 18oz. way more than I could eat but that was OK as David's duck portion was laughable and the entree is more or less ala carte so he polished off the rest of my ribeye. The flavor of my ribeye was good but at that price point I would have expected something extraordinary.
Nothing on the $12 dessert menu caught my eye so we passed on dessert, we would have popped across the street to try XOCO's churros and chocolate but as the line was out the door and down the street, we opted to get a snack of Garrett's caramel popcorn instead.
The restaurant appears to be very popular, the food was good and although I like the idea of local cuisine that is in season, the prices would keep me from going back. We did have a Groupon, which is why we went, but the $80 Groupon was gone with just the entrees. I should probably stop going to this kind of restaurant (upscale, pretentious, American contemporary food) because I never get the bang for the buck. It's that damn Groupon that keeps sucking me in...
Naha.: THE WARMTH OF FOOD AND FAMILY
Naha is family owned with Carrie cooking in the kitchen and Michael managing the front of the house. Rarely does such a hip, downtown restaurant generate such warmth and appreciation for their customers. The Mediterranean cuisine that emerges from the kitchen reverberates with Carrie's Armenian roots. All the food, from fish to meat, is scrumptious! The clientele is made up of Chicago's "bold and the beautiful." This is a place to be seen and it has a scene. But, with the welcome and graciousness of the entire staff, Naha becomes a scene to return to again and again without the pretentiousness of restaurants that try to be a destination for the trendy.
Favorite Dish: The scallops, the steak, the desserts, all with a wine that Michael suggests.
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