Who doesn’t love a bargain? And that’s exactly what Devour Downtown should be — a way to try a pricy, new place you might otherwise skip or an enticement to revisit an old favorite restaurant or a way to save a little money and get a little more bang for your buck, right?
Well, that’s the Devour ideal, of course, and it’s what I’m always hoping to find. I can’t help but be optimistic; I mean, some of these deals sound terrific.
I know it doesn’t always work out, though. Sometimes you don’t really save much on a $30-per-person (or $35- or $40-per-person) dinner. Sometimes portions seem a bit smaller than usual. And sometimes it seems that as soon as a server sees you going for the Devour menu, their attention turns elsewhere.
I’ve experienced all of the above scenarios during the past, but Devour continues to draw me in with the always-appealing promise of a great meal at a good price.
But I have to admit that I probably spend more time than most people poring over the menus — even from restaurants I don’t typically visit. After all, I don’t want to miss something wonderful just because it’s not one of my favorites. I do have favorites, of course, even though I haven’t shared much of that kind of thing on the blog. (Yet.) But for now here are a few of the most promising or interesting or just plain appealing Devour Downtown dinner specials. I focused on dinner because I’m just not that likely to do a Devour lunch.
And I found so many that I’ve broken them into categories — and in those categories, I’ve included the deals I’m most likely to actually go for.
You’ll find a few two-for-$25 deals, but more likely you’ll find two-for-$30…or $35 or $45. Here are some of the most promising two-fer deals.
Two for $25
Grub House, 1953 N. College Ave.
No, it’s not really downtown, but still, this place opened this past spring in a tough area, and I’ve heard good things. Besides, its Devour menu includes a burger and fries, homemade peach cobbler and grape Kool-Aid. Or sweet tea. But I’d definitely get the Kool-Aid.
Two for $30
Napolese, 30 S. Meridian St.
I love the pizzas at Napolese, but it was the first and second courses that caught my eye: the creamed roasted corn with Woodford Reserve, honey and parmesan and the cabbage salad with peaches, corn, walnuts and poppy seed dressing.
Scotty’s Brewhouse, 1 Virginia Ave.
Scotty’s also has a two-for-$30 deal, and it merits a mention because of the variety. Each category — app, entree and dessert — has at least five options. And there are some desserts on the list (made from their recipes by Taylor’s Bakery) that definitely sound good.
Two for $35
Barcelona Tapas, 201 N. Delaware St.
I like this one for the sheer variety. You get six small plates to share, and several of the courses have options available. This would be great for dining with a group. Probably tough on the server, but a great way to try a lot of things.
Two for $45
End of the Line Public House, 1105 Shelby St.
Honestly, this menu looked like it might be the best deal of the bunch. You get a beer or a glass of wine and either a 20-ounce pork chop or stuffed Alaskan cod — and they come with a side and salad.
Which would I be most likely to actually try? Napolese. Because of that creamed corn and the cabbage salad.
$30 per person
This is the original three-courses-for-30-bucks deal, and I always like it when restaurants can keep their Devour menus at this price point.
The Rathskeller, 401 E. Michigan St.
It’s a meat-centric place, but there is a fish and vegetarian entree, which is surprising, and much appreciated, I’m sure. But I’d likely opt for the jaegerschnitzel. And I like the dessert list that includes apple strudel, black forest cake and sacher torte.
Plat 99 in The Alexander, 333 S. Delaware St.
The watermelon watercress salad sounds terrific, and I’ve tried the short rib panini (so I know that one’s good), and there’s also a lemon chess pie. Plus, the menu includes a cocktail.
Iozzo’s Garden of Italy, 946 S. Meridian St.
I like this menu because it includes not only the restaurant’s popular lobster ravioli, but it also a vegetarian lasagna and a fish option. Trying the Devour menu would also offer a chance to see how Iozzo’s is doing since former chef Kathy Jones left for a job in Alaska.
My pick? Plat 99. Because cocktails, of course.
$35 per person
Some Devour menus have inched above that $30-per mark. Morton’s hits $45 with a filet mignon upgrade. But here are a few I like in the $35-per-person category.
The Libertine Liquor Bar, 38 E. Washington St.
I do love the Libertine’s burger (and the deviled eggs), so this menu certainly caught my eye. But it also offers the option of a whole trout, which sounds interesting — if I could manage to pass up that burger.
1913 Restaurant in the Omni Severin Hotel, 40 W. Jackson Place
This restaurant is a great under-the-radar choice. I like the the root beer-cured pork loin that’s on the Devour menu, but I’m guessing it’s the 12-ounce ribeye that will be a the big draw.
Mesh on Mass, 725 Massachusetts Ave.
The entree options aren’t really calling my name, but I’d like to try the milk & honey crostini with Capriole’s Sophia goat cheese and pickled blackberries. And the caramel sea salt pot de creme for dessert sounds pretty good too.
Cerulean, 339 S. Delaware St.
I like that Cerulean offers a vegetarian main; it includes roasted mushrooms, tamari-braised pistachio, red plums and pickled carrots — interesting, right? Plus, you get a dessert from pastry chef Peter Schmutte.
My choice? Mesh. I haven’t been there in ages, that app and dessert sounds great, and I’d like to see how executive chef Jessica Sciortino is doing.
So there you have it. My Devour Downtown picks. We’ll see how many I actually have the budget for! — Jolene Ketzenberger