photo: Carl Anderson
The term "labor of love" gets thrown around a lot in the culinary world, but for Between Boutique Cafe and Lounge in Wicker Park, it's an accurate description. The small plates spot was opened by actor and food industry buff Carl Anderson as a way to pay homage to his wife Lu Lu.
Given its creation as a sort of restaurant Taj Mahal, it should come as no surprise that Between's decor exudes a feeling of warmth, or better yet, sultriness. From the magenta seats and booths to the crimson curtains, the setting provides the perfect atmosphere for seduction. That said, this isn't just a place for hot dates. Groups of friends looking for good food, wine and conversation will feel right at home in the sophisticated digs.
In keeping with the sexy, modern ambiance, and given Lu Lu's love for sampling and sharing food, Between features a menu of haute small plates dreamt up by a young, innovative chef. Formerly the home of Radhika Desai (of Top Chef fame), Between now welcomes Noah Sandoval as its executive chef. A student of the Culinary Institute of New Orleans, Sandoval takes a simple approach to an adventurous menu.
Case in point, duck breast ($15) comes served with lingonberry-thyme compote, cabrales and cocoa nib, while tiger shrimp ($13) are dressed in kiwi, hearts of palm, coconut and lime. Every meal must end with a selection from the dessert menu (the Belgian chocolate bombe in particular offers the perfect climax), and hopefully a little loving.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Amanda Nyren