Evanston restaurant aims for big flavor and rustic feel
December 21, 2012 (EVANSTON, Ill.) (WLS) -- Evanston has plenty of fast food, quick-service restaurants that cater to Northwestern students.
There is a new option in the heart of downtown Evanston that raises the bar.
The food and atmosphere at new restaurant Found reflect a conscious philosophy.
"My dream was to do a rustic, genuine, local fare that was big on flavor but light in terms of ingredients," owner Amy Morton said.
Morton recruited veteran chef Nicole Pederson to execute her vision, which includes a number of small, shareable plates like fried oyster tacos, with a swoosh of lime-infused crema and a topping of tomatillos and red cabbage, plus a little bacon.
Lamb meatballs are tender, hovering over a shallow pool of homemade yogurt then showered in a vibrant pistachio garnish. But meat is practically overshadowed on this menu.
"Having a focus on grains and vegetables but not being super crunchy-granola and offering a great cut of meat; she's doing all of her own butchery," Morton said.
Pederson gives her wood-burning oven a real workout. Using it for everything from toasting the bread and cheese for that open-faced sandwich, to roasting one of her flatbreads; in this case, a sweet potato hummus dotted with fresh cheese, called quark.
Once those two ingredients are cooked, she removes the flatbread, cuts into wedge and then mounds it with a freshly-dressed and tossed salad of beauty heart radishes, parsnips, onions and tarragon.
The oven also makes easy work of a whole roasted trout with crispy vegetable chips and a charred lemon.
There are only a few desserts on the menu, including a seasonal pumpkin gelato with graham crackers and a whipped cream cheese cap. The theme here, it seems, is more about rustic, simple cooking, with relatively easy-to-understand ingredients.
"We talked about it being neighborhoody, we talked about it not being too high brow or too low brow, but being something super approachable," Morton said.
restaurants, steve dolinsky
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