A few weeks ago, Chicago was hit by one of those early spring snowstorms that manages to piss off the entire population. After weeks of no snow and partially sunny days, the smell of spring was in the air... we had thrown off our winter coats, discarded our boots, and unpacked our flats and umbrellas in anticipation of April rain. Rather than a sweet spring drizzle, we ended up with a nasty storm that dumped five wet inches of snow on the city right in the middle of rush hour. So what does any good food blogger do on a day in which she's full of weather angst/anger, but also unwilling to slip back in winter hibernation mode? Well, she calls up one of her fab blogger friends to meet up at a cozy little restaurant so that they can eat, drink, and commiserate!
The cozy little restaurant of choice was one that was completely new to the both of us. Located in the members-only East Bank Club, Maxwell's at the Club is a casual American restaurant with a focus on healthy fine dining at an affordable price point. The Club is open to the public for lunch and dinner on the weekdays, as well as brunch on Sundays; they also offer a variety of themed/specialty nights including Lobster Tails Dinner on Tuesdays, small plate specials on Wednesdays, prime rib specials on Thursdays, and Italian Night on Fridays.
Admittedly, the decor is very '80s power lunch, but Ashley and I both found it charming (as we were both too young to power lunch in the actual '80s). The throwback look actually lent itself well to the mix of diners - we encountered a variety of people dressed in everything from sweatsuits (lunching post-gym visit) to fancy power suits.
We kicked our meal with a round of drinks (an absolute requirement in a midst of a spring snow storm!). I started out with a Belvedere Vodka Tonic - while I normally wouldn't brag about such a simple drink, this was without a doubt the best vodka tonic I've ever had! It was smooth, perfectly balanced, and generously portioned. Score!
The crispy, flaky flat bread is a must-try - it pairs especially well with the fruity olive oil.
For our first round of appetizers, we chose to share the Colossal Shrimp Salad. While "colossal" and "jumbo" are terms that are loosely thrown around in restaurants, these shrimp were certainly worth the description! We also enjoyed that the shrimp were served over a bed of pico de gallo - that was a fun twist on a fairly traditional dish.
Of course, as a bona fide mushroom fiend (see her Instagram name), Ashley had to order a bowl of the Wild Mushroom Soup with chives, cream, and sherry. Not only was this soup exactly what was needed on a cold, icky day, but also, it was perfectly presented!
We also decided we needed a touch of spring-like happiness (see also: spring snowstorms suck), so we ordered the Caprese Salad with fresh mozzarella cheese, heirloom tomatoes, and balsamic glaze. Granted, this is a fairly standard salad, but I have to say that I loved the combination of the heirloom tomatoes and large chunks of mozzarella. I'm not typically a huge fan of tomatoes (thanks to the acidity) but these sweet yellow tomatoes really hit the spot!
For my entrée, I chose to go with the Seafood Tacos: mixture of griddled seafood and shrimp, lime-cilantro slaw, queso fresco & house-made salsa on corn tortillas. I particularly enjoyed the combination of the lime-cilantro slaw and house-made hot sauce, as it gave the seafood a tangy punch with a satisfying slow burn.
Ashley also chose to order from the seafood side of the menu: Ahi Tuna Steak Sandwich with Asian slaw & wasabi mayonnaise. This was a beautiful sandwich - the steak was perfectly seared, the slaw was crunchy, and the spicy mayo kicked it up a notch. So delicious! While I enjoyed my tacos, there was a wee bit of sandwich envy on my side of the table. ;-)
Although we were completely stuffed after our entrées, we managed to make room for dessert - all for the sake of the blog, of course. ;-) Ashley took our server's suggestion and ordered the Chocolate Soufflé Cake with crème anglaise and raspberry sauce. This little cake was dripping with warm chocolate sauce and was absolutely delectable!
I chose the Chocolate Fondue Plate with seasonal fruit, macaroons & marble pound cake (I cannot resist fondue!). This massive plate was portioned for one person (fondue plates are $5 per person/serving)... yes, ONE person. It is a crazy good dessert deal, both in price and taste! We both especially loved the pound cake with the dark chocolate fondue. Total dessert win!
You can try all of this deliciousness and more at Maxwell's at the Club: 500 N Kingsbury St., Chicago, IL (first floor of the East Bank Club).
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.