#Foodie Review: NaHa restaurant (Chicago)

NaHa

500 N Clark St | Chicago, IL 60611

SHORT VERSION:

Feeling better now … after a few good but not great experiences in my Michelin star quest, I was beginning to question our critics at Michelin and their choices in Chicago. Alas, Naha merits its Michelin star.

LONG VERSION:

Continuing on my Michelin star restaurant quest and admitting up front that this review is biased based on comparison to the other Michelin star restaurants at which I have dined. See all reviews of the restaurants on the list here
http://www.yelp.com/list/michelin-star-chicago-restaurants-chicago

Overall Verdict: This place does, in my opinion, deserve one Michelin star and it merits a return visit. I would recommend it to friends as well as collegaues or clients.

FOOD: 4.5

My appetizer was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. – Hudson Valley Foie Gras and a “Tarte Tatin” of Golden Delicious Apples, Crimson Raisins and Caramelized Fennel, Quince Jam, Ararat Valley Walnuts. It was sweet, savory, and best of all, HOT!

For my main, I had the Lacquered Aged Moulard Duck Breast. Again, flavorful, well prepared, and served at the appropriate temperature. Everyone else at my table had the ribeye, and I happily sampled their plates as well as shared mine. All plates were empty at the end of the course, despite very large beef portions and a hearty duck.

Unlike Boka, Ria, and some of the other Michelin restaurants, this place does not go for the look of the food as much as they do the taste of the food. I do not recall anything fancy in appearance other than the desert (Complexite Bittersweet Chocolate “Bar”, Hazelnuts, Cocoa and Goldleaf). No colorful sauces sprinkled across the plate, sculptures of meat or lilac scented pillows here. Just good food.

DECOR: 3

Giving the place a 3 not because it was not nice, just that it was boring. But it was comfortable, not too noisy, and very well maintained. To be honest, I could not remember what it looked like so just went to the website for a reminder. That qualifies for A-Ok rating. That said, my more fashionable friends tell me I’m totally wrong because they apparently have fabulous design. I just didn’t get it. Sigh.

If interested, here is more on their decor http://www.naha-chicago.com/text/design.htm

SERVICE: 4

Very attentive, friendly, and fast. And the restaurant was very accomodating given we were 20 minutes late and instead of having 6 people only had 4. Not sure whether they would have been as happy or patient on a Saturday but I will give them the benefit of doubt. The service was good but not great, and our server was helpful. I did not feel like I was being pampered a la Alinia, Le Bec Fin, or Le Bernadin, nor did I feel “unworthy” as when I dined at Spiaggia. So, it was just good.

VALUE: 4

I was lucky in that my good friend paid for all of us, but I did of course look at the menu prices when ordering. I would say this is a pretty good value for a one star restaurant. I would definitely go here again rather than one of the more expensive tasting menu style restaurants. You can have a good meal, great wine, and an overall good experience here for slightly less than $100 per person.

OVERALL: 4

I would recommend a visit if you’re a foodie and/or if you want to impress a client without being pretentious or spending too much. I will put this restaurant below fellow one star restaurants Takashi and Graham Elliott, but above Boka, Alinia (2 stars), and Blackbird. And I would definitely recommend it above Sepia and Sixteen.

Dine here. You will have a good experience.

In relationship with #foodies,

Adam

Adam L. Stanley | ALSWharton Connections

For more reviews, go to my yelp profile here or find me on TripAdvisor with username ALSWharton.

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