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DINING: Appetizing name raises restaurant expectations

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Dining - A&E

There’s just something cheeky about including even a variation of the word “yum” in a restaurant name. It doesn’t seem to leave much room for error—or humility. It certainly raises expectations.

So I had high hopes for my first visit to Oh Yumm! Bistro (5615 N. Illiniois St., 251-5656), a cozy neighborhood eatery in the business district at 56th and Illinois streets.

The lunch menu was promising, if a bit pricy: some interesting salads—including the tempting Steak and Potato Salad for $13.50—several appetizer-sized tapas dishes and an intriguing selection of seasonal “Bistro Specials” in addition to the standard sandwich-and-wrap fare. My friend and I kept it fairly simple.

Pescato Tacos are a favorite at Oh Yumm! Bistro. (IBJ Photo/Robin Jerstad)

I opted for the Pescato Tacos ($8.99 and forgiving the Spanish misspelling), a pair of soft flour tortillas filled with mild sauteed fish (basa, for the foodies out there), shredded colby-jack cheese, guacamole and lime cumin sour cream. Shredded lettuce and pico de gallo are served on the side, along with a handful of homemade seasoned tortilla chips—think Doritos, only better. The fish was flavored and fried with obvious expertise, spicy enough to stand out among the condiments and firm enough to be recognizable when I used my fork to even out the taco innards.

My companion chose the Turkey Panini ($9.50), which featured the namesake meat, smoked gouda cheese, bacon, pesto aioli and multigrain bread (ciabatta comes standard). It was a well-executed sandwich, superior to anything you could crank out on a Foreman. The bread, trucked in from a Chicago bakery, was lightly toasted and delicious.

Sandwiches and wraps come with one side dish, but we ordered two in a fit of indecisiveness.

It’s a good thing we did, since the Cheesy Mac ‘n’ Cheese was bland. The spiral noodles were an upgrade from standard elbow macaroni and the chunks of red vegetable generated spirited debate—Pepper? Pimiento? Tomato?—but the cheese’s flavor was subtle to a fault. And the bright-orange color made the dish look like the blue-box variety.

The Pomme Frites ($2.25) were more successful. The seasoned, hand-cut fries come with a choice of three sauces (we went for the ketchup-like “delicimo,” since we were already embracing the cheekiness) and are served upright in a metal cup—all the better to keep from getting soggy. They were good, but not quite on par with the best we’ve had.

The downside of the extra side dish: We didn’t leave room for dessert. Next time we visit this charming diner we’ll 86 the pasta and look to another carb for our “yum.”•

—Andrea Muirragui Davis

__________

Last in our month-long series of reviews of eateries with exclamation points in their names.

 

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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