Monday, September 26, 2011

Prasino

Prasino is exactly what Division street was lacking in Wicker Park. It's a perfect fit with a "green" (prasino is green in greek) focused menu and philosophy as well as highlighting vegan, vegetarian and even gluten free options. I'm still surprised how large the space is, especially the patio (kind of a rough time to open a restaurant in Chicago with such a large outdoor space). The interior decor also fit the neighborhood (the more yuppie upscale hipster side) with a clean design, dark lighting, large communal table and even a glass enclosed fire pit. The menu is a mix of many options: sushi rolls, small plates, burgers/sandwiches, flat bread, salads and entrees. That kind of variety will go a long way to establish Prasino as an every night neighborhood restaurant. I've been told there's also a solid breakfast and lunch menu. I'm not sure how many people will eat there all hours of the day but since this is Prasino #3 maybe they know something I do not. 


The occasion of our first visit is why I think Prasino will be successful. It was a rainy evening, we didn't want to cook dinner and needed something close by that wasn't bbq or pizza or sausages. As I mentioned, a "real" full size restaurant was needed on that block of Division for the locals and this certainly fits the bill. Who knows, maybe it'll be a destination too. We didn't need a large meal and loved the menu variety. Erica ordered a flat bread and I tried a black been burger. We sampled some asparagus to start.


  




The vegetable whole wheat flat bread ( with corn, tomato, onion, pesto, mozzarella, balsamic) sounds too healthy to be any good, but it's great. The pesto and tomatoes were very nice and I'd recommend that dish to anyone. I also liked our five grilled asparagus. It's a simple side dish but the charred lemon vinaigrette is a really nice touch to a good fall food. Unfortunately my least favorite was my bean burger. The description sounded great (mashed avocado, pico de gallo, arugula, multigrain bun) but the execution was lacking. My burger wasn't a burger but a bean casserole. Everything fell apart and it was impossible to eat with hands. Oh well, at least it too was relatively healthy.

The menu is sufficiently large enough and the location is close enough that I know we will return a few times. The green and sustainable concept makes return trips justifiable and less guilty. On the other hand one main concern is value. Many items are not cheap with entrees at $20-30; even ordering a few small plates can add up quickly. Our experience was short and quick with enough good points to merit a return. The flavors might not make any headlines but the concept and location should keep it busy with a crowd that wants to be seen. 

Prasino on Urbanspoon

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