I’ve been following the progress that Everyday Kitchen has made over the course of its lifetime in the Champaign-Urbana dining scene. The restaurant is still fairly new, and choosing to be adventurous within the structure of their goal of providing something for everyone, yet elevated in particular ways. My fiancée and I visited Everyday Kitchen on Monday for Restaurant Week, and we were pleased by the amount of people visiting on this chilly evening in January. That’s always a good thing to see when dining out for Restaurant Week.
We were seated in the back corner of the restaurant, nuzzled up against some of the comfy cushions they have towards the back. I know it seems a little ridiculous, but this was a great place for us to sit because we knew we were going to share the dinner menu, and the L shaped bench made that a bit easier to do this.
We started by ordering drinks from the regular drink menu as we looked over the options for Restaurant Week. Down the list we went with the $29 dinner option: reuben sliders for an appetizer, and braised beef goulash as the entree. We took our time eating and seeing how we felt as to whether we were going to choose the banana cream pie or peach cobbler for dessert, but the banana cream pie was calling our name so we went for it.
Image: Two sliders of corned beef on top of a live-edge wooden serving plate. The tops of each feature melted white swiss cheese and sauerkraut. The table the dish sits on is a lighter shade of brown wood. Photo by Anna Longworth.
Perhaps I didn’t do a good enough job simply reading the menu descriptions, but when we ordered the reuben sliders, I was expecting a traditional slider with a bun. When our server brought it out to the table my fiancée and I looked at each other for a second and realized this was an open-faced slider. It was unexpected-but-welcomed, and we dug in. The sliders featured layered corned beef, melted Swiss, sauerkraut, and some sort of chipotle mayo, all on top of crispy potato pancake, also known as a latke. It was a great way to start the dinner post-cocktail. Though overall they were a bit crumbly, the sauce held them together so you could snag a small piece of all of the layers all in one bite. We enjoyed this take on a slider.
Image: Bowl of yellow noodles with a fried egg in view in a white bowl. Photo by Anna Longworth.
The braised beef goulash was another Everyday Kitchen take on a traditional dish. Goulash is typically served with seasoned beef, some form of macaroni (typically elbow), with tomatoes in some form. It ends up being a stew of sorts, and this was more braised beef on a bed of warm, buttery spaetzle, with onion, and once you sliced into the over easy egg, the yolk ran down and became a complimentary mixing aid to the rest. Like most of the offerings I’ve had at Everyday Kitchen, the portion was plentiful, though it did need just a dash or two of salt, which wasn’t the end of the world, of course. While this might not appear to be goulash as we know it in the straightforward sense, it worked as a way to experiment while providing a dish that most people are familiar with. The beef easily tore apart when it was sliced, and we ate every last bit of it.
As I previously mentioned, we made a game time decision to pick the banana cream pie, which featured a great balance between creamy and gooey banana and cream with a pie crust that was, well, crunchy and perfectly crumbly.
Image: White plate with a small brown pie crust with white whipped cream and bananas. There is brown sauce drizzled across the plate. Photo by Anna Longworth.
The best part of Restaurant Week is when you assess the menu and make your choice, and two people can share a three course meal and feel full (and satisfied) after it's all said and done — the restaurant has done their job. We enjoyed the approachable options within the atmosphere that Everyday Kitchen provides.
Everyday Kitchen Restaurant & Bar
1807 S Neil Street
M-Th 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 to 9 p.m
F 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 to 10 p.m.
Sa 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (brunch), 4 to 10 p.m.
Su 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.(brunch), 4 to 9 p.m.