A Perfect Dinner for TWO

November 18, 2013

I recently had the chance to check out HowAboutWe for Couples, a service for wonderful experiences tailored for two. HowAboutWe members can browse an online collection of local date experiences, pick one out and head out for a night on the town. Some popular Chicago dates include brunch and drinks at Trencherman, an evening with David Sedaris and a river cruise of Chicago's architecture. The service is currently live in Chicago, San Francisco, NYC, and Seattle, and it is launching in additional cities soon.

Since I am a foodie at heart, I picked out a food-related date for the BF and I to try out. The date included a night of Midwestern seasonal food at TWO on the Near West side. The date included a chef's tasting menu with two glasses of champagne, four shared plates, two glasses of wine, dessert to share, and two after-dinner drinks. All we had to do was make a reservation, show up, and chow down!

We arrived at TWO for our Saturday night date and were immediately greeted by the general manager, Yamandu Perez with a handshake. He made us feel so welcome and happy to be there, and I saw him treat each and every patron with the same welcome handshake and hello. Talk about a great first impression!

Outside the entrance
In case you want to weigh yourself post-meal
The name TWO comes from the fact that everything inside the restaurant is re-purposed, including the barn doors on the wall, the fan-turned-light-fixtures and the barnyard water spigots in the bathrooms.

One of the beautiful dining rooms
Bar with recycled fan light fixtures
We were seated in the second dining room which had a nice view of the open kitchen. I loved how we could peek in and watch the chefs hard at work. It seemed like every second another small plate was flying out of the kitchen.

Open kitchen
We started our night with two glasses of champagne that acted as a perfect apertif!

Two glasses of bubbly
Our first shared plate was the mixed greens market salad which included cucumbers, watermelon radishes, apples, homemade ricotta fritters, house smoked Hampshire bacon, and a black pepper-herb vinaigrette. The salad was bursting with freshness and we loved the melt-in-your-mouth ricotta fritters. The dressing had a nice, light feel, so as not to overpower the freshness of the veggies.

Mixed greens market salad
Next up were a bunch of potato croquettes fried in duck fat and served with a side of garlic aioli. YUM. Although they were called croquettes, they really were more like fried mashed potato balls. They were especially tasty with the garlic aioli.

Duck fat potato croquettes with garlic aioli
Our third shared plate was PEI mussels with bacon, salsa, chopped parsley and a toasted baguette. The portion of mussels was plentiful, and so were the chopped bacon bits. I loved the broth which I soaked up with the charred baguette. The BF is not a fan of mussels, so I had the pleasure of tackling this dish all on my own. I had no trouble.

PEI mussels with bacon
The next dish was definitely my favorite--it was roasted chanterelles with a fried egg and polenta. The egg was perfectly cooked and it was really fun cutting into it and seeing it ooze out across the plate. The polenta was buttery and melted in your mouth too! It was a very well-orchestrated dish!

Chanterelle mushrooms with fried egg and polenta
Last, and DEFINITELY not least, was our dessert, cheesecake infused with Templeton Rye whiskey and topped with chocolate ganache. The cheesecake was heavenly. It had a perfect texture, dense but light at the same time. It was incredibly smooth and you could tell the chocolate that went into the ganache was high quality. I'm not ordinarily a huge cheesecake fan, but I was rooting for this one all the way!

Templeton Rye whiskey cheesecake with chocolate ganache
Overall, our date at TWO was fantastic. We felt so welcome when we walked in and the manager shook our hands, and the food and service was great. The decor definitely caught our eye and you could tell a lot of thought went into curating the space. My only complaint was that we were rushed during our meal, but it was a Saturday night so I can only assume they were trying to turn over the table as quickly as possible.

I'm giving TWO 4.5 ghosts for their warm atmosphere, farm-fresh cuisine, and friendly staff!

If you'd like to sign up for HowAboutWe or learn more about the awesome collection of dates they offer, check out their site!

Note: Our date at TWO was complementary, however all opinions expressed here are my own and TWO was unaware I would be reviewing the experience.

1132 W. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642
Two on Urbanspoon

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