Monday, May 25, 2015

At Emma in Englewood, you'll find art on the plate as well as on walls

An artful appetizer of Piquillo Peppers -- stuffed with shrimp and draped in a red-pepper, bechamel and squid-ink sauce -- was a special on Saturday evening at Emma Restaurant in Englewood. 

Emma, which opened about three months ago, serves virgin cocktails that you can have made with liquor from home. I brought a bottle of Havana Club Rum for the mojito I enjoyed at dinner.


We always avoid trying a new restaurant right after a favorable newspaper review, but figured the Memorial Day weekend would thin the crowd.

And we were right, especially because we showed up famished on Saturday, 45 minutes before our 5:30 dinner reservations at Emma, surprising an employee who was working on place settings.

We shared two appetizers and ordered three entrees, and loved the Englewood restaurant's bold, pan-Latin flavors and beautifully composed plates.

Seated at the front of the empty dining room, we started with a complimentary plate of flat bread and three spreads, including hummus, and then shared Crostini Tastings on baked country bread (three for $9, six for $14).

I chose Jamon Serrano and Argentine Chorizo for my wife and mother-in-law, who eat meat, and Chipotle Shrimp for me.

They were as good to eat as they were to look at.

Then, we were wowed by an appetizer special, Pequillo Peppers stuffed with Shrimp and decorated with a red-pepper, bechamel and squid-ink sauce ($14).

An entree of Skirt Steak with Grilled Asparagus, Mashed Potatoes, Coffee Jus and Chimuichurri Emulsion.

A nook in the restaurant. Other tables were bare during our visit.

Cod Asado swimming in a Stew of Seasonal Vegetables and Potatoes in a Tomato Shellfish Broth.
Shrimp Burger, hold the bun, with pickled red onion, frisee and so-so plum tomato slices. French fries were served with it, below.

Steak, cod and shrimp burger

My wife ordered her Skirt Steak entree well-done ($26), and my mother-in-law enjoyed her Cod Asado, served in a shellfish broth ($23).

Only my entree lacked eye appeal. 

I ordered the Shrimp Burger ($16) without the toasted brioche bun, having broken my diet by eating flat bread and a crostini, and it looked naked on the platter.

The chipotle-flavored chopped shrimp and onion burger tasted terrific, though, and I indulged in too many of the french fries that came with it.

One of three piquillo peppers in the appetizer special.

Crostini Tastings are meant to share: From top, Jamon Serrano, Figs & Melted Queso Cremoso; Argentine Chorizo & Chimichurri; and Chipotle Shrimp, Avocado, Cilantro & Lime.

A mojito with fresh mint, lime and 7-year-old BYO rum from Cuba ($6). Restaurant-made Ginger Pear Iced Tea is brewed hot, then poured over ice ($3). In both case, less ice would be better.

Emma Restaurant is next door to It's Greek to Me on Palisade Avenue in Englewood. A number of other restaurants preceded Emma in the same storefront, including Sol & Sol, a kosher deli that closed in 2010.


Emma Restaurant, 34 E. Palisade Ave., Englewood; 201-227-6103. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. BYO.

Open today, Memorial Day. Metered street parking. Web site: Art on the plate 

Our dinner for three cost $125, including tax and an 18% tip.

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