Venturing way out west can bring many awakening pleasures. First, you don't have to dodge baseball fans or feed parking meters. Second, you'll pass some great thrift stores you have yet to pick through. And finally, you'll reach Amitabul, a healthy Korean vegan restaurant that will wow you even if you're not vegan (or vegetarian, for that matter). Although I enjoy my carnivorous ways, I have been amazed by Amitabul since its Lakeview days on Southport Avenue. All noodles, soups and specials run under $10, and the portions are so large you'll be able to continue this body-altering experience for your next meal.
For starters try the Mandoo Vegan Dumplings, Jade maki (made with cucumber, avocado and spinach) or Sweet Fruit maki (apple, pear and dikon radish). Amitabul's offerings are perfect for fighting a cold or responsibly getting rid of that irresponsible hangover: Dr. K's Cure All Noodle Soup promises recovery, as do the Flu Soup and Spicy Energy Healing Stew. The spicy Tibetan curry and steamed noodles of the Tibetan High Noon were just the right kind of spicy (that is, made to order) and well beyond delicious. BYOB (bring "a reasonable amount of beer and wine only").
All dishes are steamed and sauteed, and choosing among the curious names and whimsical descriptions may take a little time, so exercise patience: Will it be the "super energy pumping" Wolfman's Dream Treats with chestnut sweet potatoes or the Green and Greener Nirvana veggies and seaweed tumbled with a "mellow mild flavor for every green in your heart?" Go. Eat. Be green.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Heather Blaha