The pride of Romania is back!
You might remember Little Bucharest Bistro from back in the day, the Lakeview cafe owned by Branko Podrumedic and closed in 2004. Well, Podrumedic has reincarnated the old hangout and given it a new facade in Albany Park with the intention of taking Eastern European flavors and making it a little more approachable to the American palate. The man assigned to complete such a task: Chef Andre Christopher of Grocery Bistro fame.
Soups and shared plates are the natural place to start. Meat lovers will jump at the chance to slurp on pork meatball soup, served in a rich broth with ground beef (even more meat!). Entrees range from $12-$18, each with some Romanian flare like mititei, a grilled Romanian sausage with a side of mustard or horseradish sauce, or a crispy kataifi-wrapped shrimp, with paprika couscous and yogurt cream cheese spinach. Finish off with a warm apple and walnut strudel, served with caramel sauce and vanilla gelato, or perhaps chocolate ganache - a chocolate cupcake filled with (what else) more chocolate. What a concept!
Little Bucharest is just plain comfy, a white tablecloth kind of a bistro with the occasional accordion player to really hammer in the romantic mood. The bistro's outdoor patio may be a must when it comes to warm, pleasant evenings. Oh, and make sure to ask about the limo service. Yes, they'll come pick you up, in a limousine no less. They must really take dinner seriously in Romania.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Andy Seifert