Karyn's in Chicago
BTW- it might be nice to put the city next to the name of the resto in the title. to make it easier for people to quick search. ;)
Karyns in Chicago is a reliable classic for both raw foodists, vegans, and just plain old foodies.
The more casual cafe is in front. There you can buy raw and transition producs like flax crackers, supplements, cacao, olive oils, superfoods, and toiletries. The cafe is very self-service. Most of the food is prepackged; you buy it and then sit at one fo the modest tables to eat, very much like at Starbucks. Some of the entrees found in the restaurant are also available here in deli-pre-packaged form. Usually these consist of her nut seed cheese (more of a pate), lasagna, deep dish pizza, bean burro, cheeseburger, and rawvioli. There is a decent salad bar wih lots of slaws, greens, beet salad, and other items which seem to come and go on a slow rotation. Cafe foods run from $12-20 per meal, not incl. drinks.
The smoothie & juice menu is extensive and very customizable. Prices range from $5-$10
On the other side of the building is the gourmet resto. This is beautifully decorated in earth tones and dark woods with very nice, simple, subtle ambient lighting. All in all there are probably 10-12 tables. Service is helpful, very competent, but not pushy. The entire place is squeaky clean, unlike somemore "hippie-dippie" places I've been to (no offense to some of the IMMACULATE hippies I have known, lol).
Staples on Karyn's raw gourmet menu include her excellent rawvioli. Her rawvioli is made with "pasta" made from sliced radishes, filled with a pesto cream, and topped with a wonderful creamy nutty sauce. This is one of the lighter dishes on her menu.
Her lasagna is very true to the taste of the original, albeit with a flare for salt and garlic. The tomato sauce is very pasty, but flavorful, with the lovely sweetness you find in a well cooked red sauce reduction. If you are yearning for something that is very powerfully seaasoned and "sticks to your ribs" you will enjoy this.
We always order a pitcher of her Mint Julep or Ginger Blessing. The former is a real eye opening, taste and thirst quencher made with rejuvelac and fresh mint, lightly sweetened. Ginger blessing is very soothing and warming, made with rejuvelac, raw honey and a generous helping of fresh ginger. One could easily enjoy either in lieu of dessert.
Dinner in the gourmet resto will run around $30-35 oer person with drinks and dessert.
New rawists are well-advised to visit Karyns for their excellent Sunday brunch. This is a fantastic opportunity to try tiny servings of everything from the lasagna to the strawberry cheesecake to the wonderful carrot soup for a grand total of around $25 per person. Arrive early and hungry...it's all you can eat.
Overall, you will love the option of having a truly gourmet experience which you can comfortable share with non-raw friends. Food here is very dense, satisfying and fresh. However, most is also healvily laden in garlic, so bring a mint. ;)
Last edited by hypnocmt; 04-30-2007 at 04:36 PM.
rawwwwsome!! i will be visiting my friend in chicago! this is definitely a great review!
"A Jackie of All Trades..."
civil engineer/dog owner/chef/drag racer a.k.a. "Hot Wheelz"/mechanic/artist/seamstress/drama queen/etc, etc, etc.
Don't forget about Cousens in Chicago, either.
Karyn's is great, I used to live there. But I didn't care for her lasagna at the time. :-) Her carob-mint pie and deep dish are where it's at!
hypnocmt - Hey, could you tell us more about the Sunday brunch? I've been wanting to go, but I didn't really know what the format was like. Is it self serve? If it's all you can eat, I could only imagine a buffet-type situation, but that doesn't seem in line with the style of her gourmet restaurant. Are there lots of different dishes? Do you really get a scoop of that delightful dream cream, as it says on her website?? And what's the deal with the "free drink" - what sort of drink is it? Do tell!
Thanks in advance - I'd love to know what I was getting into before shelling out $25 a piece for myself and my boyfriend. ;)
"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness." -Henry David Thoreau
Hey there, I've been to all the raw foodie establishments in Chitown as I live here.
To give my two cents on Karyn's sunday brunch I'd have to say that it's a fun experience. Costs 25 dollars for all you can eat and someone serves you from a wide array of raw bits and pieces. Lots of food to be had.
To be completely honest, I'm not a huge fan of Karyn's brunch cuz I'm not a huge fan of her food. I like her drinks, her salad dressings, her carob mint cake, her almond pate and her ravioli, but that's about it. Most of her stuff is too heavy for me and filled with too much Bragg's Liquid Aminos (very very salty). However, you gotta try it if you're ever in town cuz it's an institution and your sure to find something you like as there is a lot to choose from.
There are also a couple other places in Chicago that serve great raw food. The Lakeside Cafe is a vegan cafe that caters to raw foodies as well as the Holistic Health Transformation center which sells wonderful all raw cusine (at least they used to if they don't anymore. Take a look:
Chicago Diner has an expanding raw menu. I find their food to be the best in the city. As well, there are many folks who cater raw throughout the city. If you want raw meals on wheels, just contact Diana McNeal at Make Mine Raw (www.makemineraw.com) and she'll put you in contact with a fab raw chef in your area. If you want soul food, Italian, Mexican, you name it, she has a chef for you.
I enjoyed Karyn's. The mint julip was great. I had the wild rice stuffed pepper and that was delicious. The carob mint cake was one of the most delicious desserts I've ever had. The appetizers were so so. It's great that they have the front store area. They sell rejuvelac by the gallon there. I thought that was pretty cool.
her deep dish was the best raw food gourmet ive ever had. (except for therawtables chocolate pudding, which im obsessed with ). represented chicago pizza well, imo :)
the only bad part for me personally is that ive been to karyns 3 times, and i have gotten incredibly sick (almost like food poisoning) the night following my dinner there every time so far. i dont want to believe that it is a "rancid" issue with raw nuts and whatnot, so ive chocked it up to the food just being too heavy for me to digest now that ive lived on such a light diet for so long. each time ive gone with my boyfriend, and we've sampled one anothers food or even split appetizers or dessert, and he never gets sick. but boy, do i ever.
i too have eaten at Karyn's...mostly yummy, a tad expensive...but then i picked up the tab for the whole table as a raw experience was my choice.
My heart is singing for joy this morning! A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil's mind, and behold, all things are changed!
I've been there once. I'd love to go back again, though it is a bit on the expensive side for a poor college student.
One thing I didn't like is that most- if not all- of their desserts use honey. If you're vegan, don't plan on eating dessert.
-Random Violin Guy
I have a friend whos says it is fab. She is beautiful, and it offers many services.
Did anyone have the Stuffed Pizza? Could you post a comment/review?
Don't know if I'll ever go to Chicago; so I'm going to go on dreaming of my wonderful experience there last June: Joz
The stuffed pizza I've had many many many times.... My friend Rob says he figured out how to make it. I can make the crust, I just don't make it deep dish.