keefer's restaurant

12:44 PM sians 0 Comments

in 2010, keefer's restaurant was named one of the restaurants of the decade by phil vettel, the food critic of chicago tribune. it was also named as "best of chicago for steak" by the food network. it is quite the compliment especially in a city where steakhouses are abundant.

i have to admit keefer's wasn't quite on my radar until i browsed through their restaurant week menu where the entrees sounded amazing. i just couldn't say no and had to fit it in my restaurant week schedule.

located on 20 west kinzie, the restaurant is located next to its cafe called kaffe keefer's. there are several prints from press about the restaurant just left of the entrance so you can spot the right restaurant's entrance easily.

i didn't think much of the decor. i thought it looked nice and it had a classic, vintage feel of a steakhouse.

since there were two options each for all three courses on their restaurant week menu, ryan and i agreed to share and try everything out.

the appetizers were mixed green salad which ryan thought he could probably whip up in a few minutes at home by himself and the soup of the day - tortilla tomato soup which we liked a lot better. the tortilla tomato soup reminded me of a tomato bisque but paired with the crunch of tortilla strips which was delightful.

the main purpose of our visit was the entree options.

entree | braised rabbit . papardelle pasta with sauteed zucchini, natural jus & dijon mustard

i've never had rabbit before and ryan has been telling me how great it tasted from that one time he had like years ago. so i was very much excited to try how it tasted like (just as ryan was) and it tasted like chicken (doesn't everything? haha)

the pasta dish looked really hearty. i waited for ryan's reaction from his first bite and i could tell he was disappointed. the braised rabbit didn't have much flavor and he said some of the meat was stringy which only meant that it was overcooked. and he said that the rabbit could have been chicken (which was not) and he wouldn't even know cos the gamey flavor was lost. the dish was slightly bland and if there were any dijon mustard, i couldn't detect it. on the flip side, the pasta was cooked just right and the zucchini was probably my favorite aspect of the dish. overall, the dish needed more seasoning.

entree | veal osso bucco . root vegetables & polenta cake

i had better luck with my choice of entree. and it came with a pleasant surprise since i've also never had veal osso bucco before: the bone marrow. believe it or not, the same goes for polenta cakes. so there are three new things that i've never tried before, all in a single dish..

what i like about this dish is that it was really hearty and satisfying. the polenta cake had a  decent sear on each side and it tasted almost like a moist version of cornbread. but the main star was the veal itself which was fork tender and seasoned well. i probably was most excited about trying out the bone marrow: it was buttery, near custard-like and had an nice richness. the sauce had a great depth of flavor and gave the veal the extra moistness and flavor to make it a complete dish.

dessert | chocolate cake . flourless chocolate with ganache center

what i like about this cake was it was really warm when it arrived at the table. i have to say that i can't find the ganache center which probably melted into the cake which is not thing at all cos it gave it a extra moistness. it was an okay chocolate cake but it wasn't special.

dessert | nougat glace . creme with almonds, pistachios & dried fruit .

ryan and i have never had this classic frozen french dessert before. come to think of it, it is almost the total opposite of the chocolate cake. this was served cold and had a lot of crunch from the pistachios and almonds. it was filled with generous amounts of the nuts and dried fruit. it was alright and it wasn't a favorite dessert of mine.

our overall experience at keefer's was alright. nothing too special or memorable except for maybe the veal osso bucco. what was nice though, i got to meet one of the owners, glenn keefer who came by to check on our food and us. he was really friendly and i thought that was really great that he takes the time to mingle with the customers.  based on what i've read, their specialties are probably their steak so if we went back to keefer's, we would try those instead.

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others

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