Tammy and I joined a group of roughly 15 bloggers and foodies last week for an eight-course media dinner at Devon.
We’ve frequented the restaurant since our initial review (even though I was horrified to discover we mispronounced its name on our show. It’s said “Devin” like the name, not “Devon” like the street). The fish is consistently good, the biscuits are so tasty that I sometimes wonder if they’re laced with some kind of addictive substance, and the carrot cake is awesome.
That’s why we were thrilled to be invited back in a “professional” capacity to have the chef’s picks paraded before us. It’s fun to get the chance to try more of the menu and to meet new people.
It’s also good to take a second look at the places we’ve reviewed. It can be difficult to get an accurate feel for a restaurant in one sitting. And the more we eat out, the more discerning our palates become. Restaurants that got high praise from us when we started Chicago Bites two years ago, for example, might be subject to more tempered reviews now. We still enjoy old favorites, but these days we both have more specific preferences. So in addition to venturing out in new directions, we’ve also been revisiting the places we’ve reviewed — within the limits of our time and budget — to see whose still got game.
Devon’s still got it!
Here are some tantalizing tidbits that I took away from the evening:
- Seafood is Devon’s thing. Skip the meat. My meat was overcooked, and there are much better places for steak in the city.
- The wine list is good and the pairings we had with our food were excellent. Ask your waiter for recommendations. They’ve never steered me wrong.
- I was gratified that most of what the chef selected for this tasting I’d selected from the menu myself on previous visits by asking for the specialty of the house.
- Devon is a chain restaurant, which is unfortunate. Still, the seafood is fresh and the dishes are solid. Want to test the chef’s creativity? Order off menu.
- The dining space at Devon is spacious and pleasant. We dined in the tasting room, which is a great place for private parties of 15 to 20. I’ve also sat in one of the semi-private alcoves that the restaurant offers groups. These areas are very comfortable and lend themselves to leisurely meals and conversation.
- There is too much going on with the tuna tartar starter. Best to stick with the simpler dishes.
- Skip the chocolate lava cake. It sounds good but nothing trumps the carrot cake!