The easiest way to judge the cuisine at Nine Muses is simply to look at the clientele. A quick peek into the bar reveals one Greek face after the next, signifying a hard-won vote of confidence for this Greektown eatery.
Walls are decorated in muted fall tones, and mismatched mirrors hang in all three rooms. Exposed brick lends that certain West Loop chic to Nine Muses, as does the mahogany bar. During Chicago's brief Mediterranean season, French doors open and diners can eat their saganaki alfresco. Come about 10 p.m., the alfresco scene transforms into an ouzo-, martini-, beer and wine-infested dance party for Greek-Americans and neighborhood locals alike, all keeping a beat to modern Greek music until the wee hours.
Signature specials include the Mediterranean Salad with tomatoes, fresh spinach, crumbled feta (of course), Kalamata olives, red onions and yellow peppers drenched in a homemade house vinaigrette ($7.95). Spinach and shrimp pasta ($11.25) brings an "Opa" to many tables when they take in the concoction of shrimp sauteed in virgin olive oil and topped with fresh diced tomatoes and feta cheese tossed on a bed of pasta and spinach. For dessert you can't go wrong with the baklava cheesecake topped with thyme honey ($4.50).
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Robin Wright