Monday, September 6, 2010

Restaurant Reviews - Sayat-Nova, Downtown Chicago, IL

Labor day weekend was a pretty fun filled one. Since we didn't have any prior plans for the long weekend, I did not have any recipes at hand to post during the past 2 days. Thanks to a friend of my better half, who recently moved to Michigan Avenue in downtown, we got to spend a day in the heart of downtown Chicago, in the Chicago's magnificent mile. We visited a lot of restaurants, walked on the beach, played poker at friend's place. Cutting short on my story... Let me pen down my thoughts on the Armenian/Middle Eastern cuisine restaurant we visited for dinner on the E Ohio street, just a few steps from the Michigan Avenue.

Sayat-Nova is a neighborhood restaurant which offers American cuisine with a slight variation on the typical Mediterranean cuisine. Though the restaurant is not very big, it has a bar and the seating arrangement is such that, it accommodates a decently large crowd. There is a outdoor seating facility too.

Baba Ghannouj
The menu is not very elaborate, you have around 15 appetizers such as hummus, baba ganoush, red lentil soup, stuffed eggplant, etc, which were categorized into 2 sections - cold and hot appetizers. You can even choose a salad from 5 different salads being offered. The dinner menu offers main courses under the following categories - Kebabs, Cous Cous, Specialties and Classics with an Armenian Flavor.


For appetizers, we started with baba ghannouj(baba ganoush - an Arabian dish of mashed eggplant/brinjal mixed with spices, served with pita bread) and Lamajoun(a baked thin crust Armenian pizza containing ground lamb, spices, minced onions, peppers and tomatoes). Baba ghannouj with the warm thin pita bread was a very good choice for appetizer, however, the lamajoun, lacked the right amount of spices and for my Indian palate, was on the bland side.

Coming to the main course, at $25.95, the lamb chops(mentioned as the best offered in Chicago), was not really bang for bucks. On a very small bed of rice pilaf, three small lamb chops was what we got, along with the option to choose a red lentil soup or salad. The salad was not really good. The other main course we ordered was  from the Cous Cous section, Vegetable Cous Cous, at $15.95. On a small bed of cous cous, there were huge chunks of vegetables in a very light tomato broth, served with a small cup of hot sauce. I chose the red lentil soup along with it. The soup, which had chicken broth was quite tasty and very filling.

For my Indian taste buds, the vegetable cous cous was a okay dish, there was nothing great about it.

On the whole, these are my ratings for the restaurant, Sayta-Nova in Chicago -
Ambiance - Quite rustic look with good back ground music
Varieties offered - Fairly good number of options to choose from
Cuisine - Americanized Mediterranean fare
Overall Rating - 3.5/5

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