By Lee Barrie and Cindy Kurman
Original story appeared in StreetWise
Chicago’s restaurant scene is filled with places to dine out on Thanksgiving Day. Most, including those that usually feature ethnic food, offer a traditional Thanksgiving meal, frequently offered in addition to the regular menu. Personally, we tend to be intrigued by restaurants that offer something unusual for Thanksgiving. After all, how many more turkey and sweet potato dinners does one really need to eat? So here is our take on where you might want to go for a taste of Thanksgiving with a different sensibility. Since many of you will be at home on T-Day, we’ve included some suburban spots for your enjoyment.
The Melting Pot Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving from Around the World
11 W. Hubbard, Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 527-4060; www.thevermilionrestaurant.com
Vermilion is one of our absolute favorite upscale restaurants in Chicago and has earned high praise among the culinary media around the country. Executive Chef Maneet Chauhan presents a sensory-rich menu using both Indian and Latin American ingredients. For Thanksgiving, Vermilion offers its annual $45-per-person prix fixe “Herb & Spice” six-course Thanksgiving feast from noon to 10 p.m. (the menu is also available throughout the weekend). Dishes include Brazilian Feijoada, black bean stew with meats and a hint of garam masala spice; Indian Black Cardamom Smoked Turkey with Indian Sarson Ka Saag; Bengali Panch Puran (ginger cranberry chutney) with fennel, cumin and mustard seed, and Mexican Pumpkin Pie. The “Herb and Spice” is usually a sellout, so make your reservations early.
504 N. Wells, Chicago, IL
(312) 595-2300; www.sushisamba.com
SUSHISAMBA Rio is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds. The décor is gloriously colorful and the menu includes both Japanese and Brazilian dishes, with some combining elements of both. For Thanksgiving, enjoy special dishes in addition to the regular menu: Braised Short Rib Gyozas, with kabocha pumpkin purée, red shiso leaf, smoked ginger soy; Plainville Farms Turkey T-Bone, with sweet potato-brown sugar fries, bacon escarole, cranberry teriyaki glaze, and for dessert, Pumpkin Cinnamon Bread Pudding, maple syrup ice cream, roast pecans, candied shiso leaf.
The Not-Your-Meat-&-Potatoes Thanksgiving Feast
3411 N. Halsted, Chicago IL
(773) 935-6696; www.veggiediner.com
Birch River Grill
75 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, IL
(847) 427-4242; www.birchrivergrill.com
Fast Food Thanksgiving
2900 W Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL
(773) 604-8769; www.kumascorner.com
For those of you with a case of the Thanksgiving munchies, you’ll not want to miss this Thanksgiving heart attack on a bun: Kuma’s famous “Sleep Burger” is a monster sandwich featuring turkey and gravy topped with deep-fried stuffing and cranberry sauce. The Sleep Burger will keep you wide awake while you eagerly gobble it down, but you may fall soundly asleep while digesting it. You were forewarned.
The To-Die-For-Dessert-to-Bring-Home Thanksgiving
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
921 Pasquinelli Dr. Westmont, IL; (630) 455-9846
798 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, IL; (847) 228-9551
Note: DineWise is a weekly column appearing in StreetWise magazine. Lee Barrie is on the StreetWise board of directors and he and his wife Cindy own Kurman Communications, a Chicago-based public relations agency specializing in lifestyle, restaurant and hospitality strategic branding, marketing promotions, media relations and social networking. If you'd like your restaurant to be featured on the DineWise blog and in StreetWise magazine, please contact DineWise@kurman.com.