Taxim Redefines Greek Cuisine
By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 1, 2009 6:00PM
Taxim, the new Greek restaurant from rookie restaurateur David Schneider, takes the concept of Greek cuisine as Chicagoans know it and turns it on its head. Gone are yard stick-sized kabobs, syrupy souvlaki and middle-aged waitresses with penciled eyebrows and hoarse throats from shouting "Opa!" while setting fire to some saganaki amidst stock posters of Greek landscapes. Instead, Schneider embraces the melting pot of other Mediterranean influences, particularly Turkish, that informed pre-20th Century Greek cuisine, and does it with the deft hand of a seasoned restaurant owner.
The MVP of Taxim's menu is the house-made, unstrained organic yogurt. As a standalone dessert with walnuts; served with fresh-shelled fava beans and lamb confit, or as a mousse with Taxim's popular duck gyros, we found ourselves wondering if Schneider and sous chef Jan Rickerl were holding back on just what they could do with it. Those duck gyros we mentioned are one of the few concessions to traditional Greek cuisine. Even then, the gyros are served in tightly wrapped Pontian bread, the duck meat spit-roasted instead of sliced from a spindle.
If there's one dish to order at Taxim, it's the white wine-braised lamb shank served on a bed of fresh cracked, fire-roasted green wheat, toasted almonds and fennel salad. Like what Guan Chen is doing at the similarly lauded HAN 202, Schneider is looking to play for keeps at Taxim.
Taxim: 1558 N. Milwaukee, 773-252-1588