After respective long days at work and a couple hours cleaning our home from top to bottom, my boyfriend and I looked at each other, tired and hungry. “Now what?” I asked, bleary-eyed, and he replied, “Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to Seven Saints.” At least, I’m assuming he finished the “Saints” part, as I scrambled past him and out the door before he was done speaking, leaving a bleachy, lemon-fresh scent trailing behind me.
We first experienced the warm, sophisticated atmosphere of Seven Saints restaurant and bar—the latest venture of downtown powerhouse brothers Marco and Carlos Nieto, along with Tifani Moot—when we stopped by shortly after it opened in the spring. The restaurant, sandwiched between Mike & Molly’s and The Esquire, offers a fairly-priced variety of food, with a menu that features a variety of salads and “sliders,” similar to the White Castle disasters only in size. As a vegetarian, I appreciate the option to substitute any beef patty on a slider with a Boca burger, which is a rarity on most menus. The restaurant also boasts a variety of original cocktails, including my favorite, the Lemon Shake-Up, a twist on the traditional frosty fair treat. The Seven Saints version is made with the same muddled lemons and sugar, but their version adds a touch of raspberry puree, as well as a few touches of vodka—as if the carnies stayed up all night dirty-dancing behind their trailers. Genius. We all should’ve thought of it first.
Since my first meal at Seven Saints, I have referred the spot to friends often, and it has become a regular stand-by for an impressive evening at short notice. Every time I have visited, the wait staff has been friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable about the menu. Last night was no different—we recognized our waiter, and he immediately set us up with some Goose Island Honker’s Ale as we perused the menu. Larry chose his favorite sandwich, the California Turkey Slider, which features a grilled turkey burger topped with boursin cheese, smoked bacon, avocado, and red bell pepper pesto. The combo he chose included a cup of soup. He chose tomato bisque, which was pronounced delicious, although it was “no Pekara.” However, “no Pekara” is no insult, as Pekara’s tomato bisque, to Larry, is the food equivalent of that perfect ex-girlfriend that nobody else will ever live up to, no matter how cute or cool they are, or how wittily they write food reviews. Anyway...
For my meal, I chose my old stand-by, the Caesar salad, and a Black Jack Slider—a (substituted) Boca burger topped with pepper jack cheese, grilled onions, and jalapeno peppers. The meal, accented with the Honker’s Ale, was perfect; the cool, creamy salad balanced out the spiciness of my burger, and the hoppiness of the beer added a refreshing accent. The little, cute, polite, yet disarmingly ravenous beast inside of me was almost completely satiated.
And then came dessert.
We’re not normally a “dessert” sort of people, Larry and me; at least not in restaurants. Early in our relationship, he remarked that it was nice to be dating a girl who cared more about cake than jewelry; I was recently forced to swear to serve Reese’s Chocolate Chip cookies as his last meal, if I have the option. However, we rarely order dessert in restaurants, as it’s one more expense that neither our wallets nor our bellies can usually spare. Last night, though, we weren’t anxious to leave the restaurant, and our moderately-sized meals had left us comfortably full, which was simply not enough. Our waiter confidently listed the dessert menu, which I’m sure was very elegant and lengthy, but I can’t vouch for either of those, as I only heard two words: Chocolate, and Cake.
I can’t describe the cake in length, as it existed in front of us for a maximum of about thirty seconds. I can tell you that there was more than one layer, possibly more than two, that there was a touch of cherry within the rich chocolate, that it was very moist and garnished with slices of strawberries, and that there were chocolate chips involved. Larry imitated raising his hand and ordering six more, thirty more, entire cakes. It was ridiculous, intoxicating, delicious; I broke up with Larry and proposed to it, or at least to its dear departed spirit.
Seven Saints, once again, did not disappoint. It’s a great new addition to the downtown scene, and I will continue to recommend it to family and friends who are looking for a moderately-priced, cozy and sophisticated evening out.
The chocolate cake, though—the chocolate cake is mine.