Last Minute Lemon Shrimp Pasta and a Review of Chicago's "Quince"
November 24, 2008
[Elaine] in Quince restaurant, shrimp and lemon pasta

We had to go to Chicago this weekend for a wedding and we got to have dinner one night with our oldest son, Barry, who goes to school there. I've always wanted to try "Quince", (now called "Hearth") the restaurant which occupies the space where the famous five star "Trio" and Grant Achatz used to be. We had a great dinner there. The menu had me stumped because I wanted to try almost every single thing on it. And I was so disappointed in myself because I did not have the guts to take decent photos of the food - just these lousy low light ones. But I was way too conscientious to use my flash in such a nice place. Just what they need - another food blogger taking pictures of the food. But that food really deserved serious photos. If you want to see real photos of how the food was presented, go to their website. The dishes are real works of art.

We had two waiters the whole evening and they were just great. What a treat to have such outstanding service.

Quince has a selection of specialty martinis which are really interesting. Talk about a hard choice - I had the Quince Tini (pear vodka, pear puree, Apple Pucker, quince) and my friend Yvonne had the Green Tea-ni (dragonwell tea, earl grey-infused vodka, cointreau, honey) and Brian had a Tequitini (tequila, campari, pineapple juice). They sound great, don't they? They were!

The menu is a collection of cold and hot appetizers and entrees of seafood, meats and gnocchi. One thing I was disappointed with was there was not some kind of pasta on the menu. I was looking for some handcrafted pasta, like ravioli or something, just to see what Chef Hannon would do with it.

I started with the Shaved Asparagus Salad, which is something they are known for. It had a combination of shaved asparagus and whole asparagus dipped in tempura batter and fried , tossed with truffle vinaigrette and shaved parmesan cheese. Really special.

Here was Brian's scallop appetizer. I just loved the way they presented this.

For my entree, I had the yellowtail snapper with forbidden black rice over basil cream. The aroma when the waiter brought it to the table was wonderful.

I'm glad Brian ordered the short ribs with peas and carrots because I was dying to see how they were plated. It was a great presentation and I tasted the short ribs and they were outstanding. Don't you love how they did the peas and carrots?

See what I mean about my lousy photos.

My son had the ricotta gnocchi and they were light and delicious. We wanted to have a Sicilian wine and instead of ordering one of the Nero d'Avolas, we tried the Bonaccorsi “Val Cerasa,” Etna Rosso 2000 and we loved it. Always fun to try something different. The wine list was great.

For dessert, I had the doughnut with blueberry jam. Nice.

The only downside to the evening was that the dining room was blazing hot. I was actually sweating. I did mention it to one of the waiters and he turned the heat off and that helped. There was a fire in the fireplace in the dining room, which was nice but not when it's 85 degrees in the place.

Quince on Urbanspoon

After we drove home from Chicago, I had nothing to fix for dinner so I whipped up this quick dish. I love having shrimp in the freezer because they come in so handy when you don't have anything defrosted. A little warm water and a colander and they thaw out so fast.

I sliced a red onion and some garlic and sauteed them for a few minutes with a pinch of salt and pepper. I threw the shrimp in for a couple of minutes, added about a half cup of white wine, about a cup of chicken broth and let this simmer just a little. I threw in a large pinch of red hot chili pepper, the zest and juice of one lemon and let that simmer, covered, for a couple of minutes until the shrimp were just poached. Meanwhile, I boiled the penne pasta. When that was almost done, I took them out with my trusty spider and added them to the skillet with the shrimp and sauce. The last touch was a handful of chopped parsley and a few gratings of parmesan cheese. Dinner in no time! Much better than picking up fast food on the way home.

Article originally appeared on The Italian Dish (http://theitaliandishblog.com/).
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