Living up to ones name can either be a daunting task or a lofty aspiration. In the case of Prasino, which means ‘green’ in Greek, the process has evolved into a philosophy.
In partnering with farmers, ranchers, vintners and brewers who produce their products in a way that is sustainable and humane to animals and in using chemical and pesticide-free meats, the folks at Prasino take their mission as stewards of the environment to heart.
Prasino now has four locations — La Grange, Wicker Park/Bucktown, St. Charles, Mo., and the newest, Prasino Rosemont — that launched in September.
At its helm, executive chef Christopher Barron guides his staff to create dishes that are “Leaner, greener, and which do not maximize our carbon footprint.”
Barron, who has cooked everything from 3-star Chinese food to American Bistro, to French and Italian, calls Prasino’s cuisine ‘global.’
Like the chorizo tacos created with an eye towards individual tastes. The dish is actually vegetarian, made with chorizo seitan instead of meat. The seitan, made of wheat gluten, is made aromatic with Mexican spices, sautéed and served on freshly-made, soft, corn tortillas with pico de gallo sauce and guacamole ($10).
The crunchy veggies in the vegan sushi roll may be prone to rolling around a bit but they are just making room for each flavor to come forward as the roll presents itself in your mouth. Fresh asparagus, earthy mushrooms and crunchy carrots come with a sesame-ginger sauce for dipping. The strength of this (also gluten-free) roll is its simplicity ($12).
“We try to let the true flavors of our products shine through. Less is more,” explained Barron.
The signature dish is the Lobster Avocado small plate. And though you may be loathe breaking into the carefully-constructed tower of claw, knuckle and lobster body meat topped with a spicy butter sauce and mango salsa; you’ll be glad you did. The mélange of fresh flavors play well together, providing the perfect balance of texture and spice ($16).
Tuna tartare comes under the ‘small’ dinner option and is a perfect small plate or starter. The delicate morsels of Ahi are swathed in a bit of homemade teriyaki and black sesame seeds; then served with firecracker sauce and avocado atop flaky home-baked wontons ($14).
And the chef is not doing a hard-sell when he says, “You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better roasted chicken anywhere.” Brilliantly flavored with just the right amount of tang, the melt-in-your-mouth texture comes from the 24-hour brining. Served with roasted potatoes in a lemon, garlic, parsley and wine reduction may be enough for some. For others, just knowing that the meat comes from Amish Fieldale Farms, is antibiotic-free, organic and free-range will help them sleep better at night ($18).
“There is really something for everybody on this menu all the way from gluten free, to vegan to vegetarian. You don’t have to look too hard — except to find the restaurant in the mall,” said Barron.