On March 7th, I went to NaHa in Chicago. It is located in River North, near the Hard Rock restaurant in Chicago. I had a visit that day that did not last all day so I figured this was a good chance to try a more expensive restaurant.
NaHa was fantastic. I ordered the Wood-Grilled Cap of Sirloin Brushed with Olive Oil and Herbs, Caramelized Broccoli, "Hen of the Woods" Mushrooms, Glazed Shallot, Butternut Squash and Herb Natural Jus. It was $19 and fantastic.
The cap of sirloin was smoked while it grilled. They must have used wood to burn the grill (cedar, I think). I have never tasted a steak that was so tender, so well grilled and had such an overwhelming (but not overbearing) smokiness. It almost reminded me of chirizo with the smokiness.
This was one of those types of restaurants where the item you order is paragraph long but the plate is more sofisticated so the portions are not huge. An example is the Butternut squash which was about the site of a melon scooper amount. It was the perfect size for lunch and it was great to try something completely new.
My one negative is that the food was so good that I want to go there many more times. This is not a cheap restaurant but I think it is worth it to go once and a while. Since this was a lunch during the day when I had to work, this lunch was quick so I will have to spare you the sarcastic comments.
The one no-food related topic I will extrapolate on deals with dining alone. I have talked in the past how dining with someone else really can add a great intangible which I am not used to. I stress the word CAN here. However, on the other hand, dining alone is so great too. I love watching people when I sit down alone. Depending on the restaurant and the clientèle, people can give you an almost "I feel sorry" for you look. It is actually quite funny. I think people who are really comfortable with themselves have the ability to go to a restaurant, movie, etc by themselves. I owe this quality to my mom and dad who raised us to be comfortable in our own skin.
I think dining alone, you just have to find something else to focus on, rather then conversation. For me, it is food, reading the newspaper, doing some work, people watching, etc. I truly find that I enjoy a dining experience a la mode because you can really focus on those types of things. It helps me to focus on what I have to do the rest of the day; relax and just forget about what I have already done that day or just day dream.
This all being said, I have decided I want to start a super club. Not in the sense of a group where the dinner changes location monthly. The purpose would be entirely selfish. I would pick 2-4 individuals from different walks of life (High school, college, work, the gym, etc) and each of them can bring 2-3 people (some I may know, some I may not). The focus would be on getting to know new people, relaxing in a relatively more mature environment (which could very easily become immature depending on those present) and enjoying (hopefully) some good food.
I consider this selfish because (1) I want to meet some new people and going to the bar is not the best atmosphere for that and (2) because I love cooking for others. I want to plan the entire thing myself, cook it all myself, provide the wine/drinks and each person can pay an admission fee of $10-15 which in these days is really quite reasonable. I may meet people I don't like, I may meet new friends. The fun part is knowing that everyone present has the same mentality on trying new things and meeting new people.
Ok, two posts in one night after a long sabbatical from this thing is a good start for now. I promise to write more soon and to stay more consistent on these posts now. I hope you are doing well and if you are actually reading this, thank you and I appreciate you being a part of my life.