Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Coco Pazzo Cafe

Tonight was our first Kids' Restaurant Week dinner. We went to Coco Pazzo Cafe, which is on St. Clair, about a block away from Northwestern Memorial Hospital (which detracted from the ambiance as an ambulance or fire truck went screaming by every 10 minutes or so). I knew going in that it might be tricky, as The Boy woke up before 6 a.m., The Girl woke up from a snooze-on-the-couch just before we left for the restaurant, and The Tot had had a short nap.

We were the first family to arrive at the restaurant -- the valet expressed surprise that I was taking not one, but three children out of the car. I imagine that the folks who came up with restaurant week were envisioning newly minted parents with their 8-month-olds in tow. And that was pretty much the profile of other KRW diners. Oh well. Readers of this blog know that my departure from the expected is nothing new.

They had a special, 3-course menu for KRW patrons. There were 3 options for starter, 4 for the main, and 2 for dessert. We ordered bruschetta (good) for The Boy, The Girl, and The Dad, while I had the vegetalli chopped salad (needed salt). The Tot shared with everyone, although he doesn't actually like the taste of tomatoes. I ordered the fish of the day (Alaskan halibut with olive tapenade over grilled fennel); The Dad had pork chops, and The Girl and The Boy both had, shockingly enough, pasta (with tomatoes and basil -- The Boy ate his on the side). The Girl is either a seafood lover or just an adventurous eater because she asked to try my fish and then spent the rest of the meal demanding bites. The Dad and I also each ordered a glass of Italian rose, which I was expecting to be like Provencial rose -- light, refreshing, the perfect summer drink for dining al fresco -- but it was darker and heavier. The Tot kept asking for sips, and once he had sampled it, could not be distracted by water.

There was a huge gap of time between our main course and dessert. There was another couple with a 1-year-old seated just after we were, and they had finished dessert, paid, and departed by the time we received our 3 fresh strawberry tarts with whipped cream, and 1 sorbet and melon. By then, the restaurant was quite busy, not only with other KRW families, but also with their usual crowd. It seemed we never really saw the same waiter twice, but I ended up in a corner, so I may have missed something. We paid our bill ($69 with drinks) and skedaddled in short order after dessert.

All in all, we thought Coco Pazzo Cafe was OK. We probably would not go back again without children, outside of KRW. The Girl said her favorite part of the meal was my sorbet. The Tot seemed to enjoy the foccacia, and The Boy liked the strawberries (which he scraped off the tart) and whipped cream the best.

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