There was a trendy restaurant that I noticed in downtown Chicago that was busy the last time that I was in that area. While on a second downtown visit by Broadway a few days ago, I decided to give that restaurant a try for lunch. I sat down and ordered the featured signature item on the menu. I was told by the waitress that there was a severe shortage of buffalo. Buffalo was the feature ingredient of the restaurant's famous entree. What the waitress said was a load of bull! I purchased buffalo meat later that same day in a Chicago grocery store, because I ended up having a craving for it, after being skunked out at lunch time.
Anyway, after the waitress finally came back to my table after a long wait, I ordered a roasted beet and warmed Chevre goat cheese salad. The salad sounded interesting, but I expected the worst was yet to come.
That trendy Chicago restaurant's roasted beet and warmed chevre cheese salad was disappointing! It sounded like an interesting menu item, but the presentation was of very poor quality.
The dressing on the salad was a strong tasting balsamic vinaegrette that overpowered the other flavors in the salad. The chevre cheese was heated and blobbed onto the beets and it looked like some lousy cook used their fingers and a spoon to create the blops of warm cheese. Awful! The beets were not roasted like the menu description of the salad had stated them to be. The beets came straight out of a can. The poor presentation of the restaurant's salad looked like it was crafted by an unskilled kitchen helper or a drunk worthless chef.
Needless to say, I never wrote a restaurant review about that lousy, yet trendy, Chicago restaurant. I do not write negative restaurant reviews. In fact, that experience was the last straw after many disappointing restaurant experiences in Chicago. I stopped trying to find a descent restaurant meal in that town.
There are good restaurants in Chicago, so I am told, but I never seemed to find one. After suffering severe food poisoning in Chicago seven times in two years, I was more interested in self preservation. I started cooking restaurant food at home and that was the start this food and recipe blog!When I get a poorly prepared meal at a restaurant, I think of how that meal could have been prepared better. I thought that I would try to improve the downtown Chicago restaurant's poorly crafted roasted beet and warmed Chevre goat cheese salad. A better simple presentation and a better choice of dressing was the key to improving that disappointing salad.
Note: For this salad, the crostini, roasted beets and the Chevre goat cheese should all be sliced the same thickness!
Roasted Red Pepper Pomegranate Vinaegrette Recipe:
Place 3 tablespoons of very finely chopped roasted red bell pepper into a small mixing bowl.
Add 1 clove of minced garlic.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of pomegranate vinegar.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
Add 3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil.
Add sea salt and coarse ground black pepper.
Stir the ingredients together.
Set the vinaegrette aside.
Be sure to stir the vinaegrette before serving.
Oven roast 1 unpeeled medium size beet in a 375 degree oven, till the beet becomes tender yet slightly firm in the middle. (al dente)
Cool the roasted beet under cold running water.
Wipe the skin off of the roasted beet by rubbing the roasted skin off of the beet with a dry towel.
Cut the beet into 3 medallion shaped slices.
Set the sliced roasted beet aside.
Cut 3 slices of Italian baguette style bread.
Brush the bread slices with olive oil.
Place the bread slices on a baking pan.
Bake the bread slices in a 350 degree oven, till they become lightly toasted and crisp.
Set the crostini aside.
Salad Set Up Plate:
Place 1 large handful of mixed baby lettuce into a mixing bowl.
Add a few thin slices of onion.
Add a few match stick cut carrots.
Add 1 small handful of thin sliced celery.
Mound the salad across the middle of a plate.
Garnish each side of the salad with plum tomato slices and artichoke halves.
Finishing the salad:
Cut 3 Chevre goat cheese slices.
Place the 3 slices of Chevre on a non stick pan.
Heat the chevre in a 350 degree oven, till it just becomes warm and aromatic, but not overly soft.
Alternate the slices of crostini, the slices of roasted beet and the warmed Chevre goat cheese slices across the top of the salad. (A cake spatula is best for transferring the warmed Chevre goat cheese.)
Generously spoon the roasted red pepper pomegranate vinaegrette over and around the salad.
The fresh roasted beets are so nice with the sharp flavor of fresh chevre cheese! The crostini adds a pleasant crunchy texture to this salad.
The roasted red bell pepper vinaegrette dressing is perfect for this salad's ingredients. The mildly sweet crisp flavor of this vinaegrette is not overbearing. A balsamic vinegrette would easily overpower the delicate flavors of this salad. Improving upon a restaurant's poorly made entree can be fun and challenging.
Never be afraid to seriously criticize a meal that you purchase at a restaurant, but be fair. Word of mouth can cause a poorly managed restaurants to improve their cuisine, or perish.
I never mention the names of bad restaurants in this blog. I do not like free advertising for bad places. Being a very experienced chef, I can recognize when a restaurant is having a temporary problem and I can see when a restaurant is a hopeless cause! ... Shawna