Karyn's on Green

Chicago, Illinois


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Amazing food, beautiful location and great service! Try the mocktails, they're amazing.

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While Karyn's on Green can be very expensive, if you cut out the alcohol your bill will probably be about $60-70 for two people. With alcohol and desserts, you are looking at about $125 (they do have organic liquor which is nice). It is the place to go for a vegan who wants to splurge, take someone out on a very nice date, or show an omnivore the classy side to plant-based dining.

The menu at Karyn's on Green changes here and there (I believe it is seasonally). The menu sort of combines the other Karyn's restaurants, Karyn's Cooked and Karyn's Raw, plus added options. Karyn's Cooked is more like home cooked food (ex: barbeque pork and the crispy mixed basket) and Karyn's Raw is quality raw dining. For starters, I always like to begin with the roasted foraged mushrooms. They've changed this dish in the past year, though. It used to come with a sauce which it now desperately needs. While it is still enjoyable, the polenta that the mushrooms sit on is quite dry. The taro sticks give the dish a nice crunch, though. Of course, you're going to have to love mushrooms for this dish and I am definitely an avid fungi fan. This causes a problem for me because I always order this dish (despite I think it needs that sauce)! I have heard the aged raw cheese plate is to die for, so one day I will order that instead. Crossing fingers.

My friend and I got soup and salad before our entree's. If you tell your waiter that you'll be splitting those, they will bring each out on two separate plates. For soup, we had the butternut squash. This was really good. In the past, I've had soups from this restaurant that have been way too salty. They have apparently fixed this problem. The oil drizzle adds a nice complimentary touch to the soup itself. Much like my problem with the appetizer round, I always get the Caesar salad at Karyn's. I really enjoyed Caesar salads prior to becoming vegan which I think is the root of my problem here. Again, I have found in the past that this dish can be salty, but the last couple times it has been perfect. The dressing is fantastic and you have to love those croutons. I have also had the chopped vegetable salad in the past. It was pretty good, but if you are looking for a special vegan salad, I would really recommend the Caesar salad (you don't see a vegan Caesar that often!).

Ah, the entree round. I've had a number of the options on their menu on previous dining outings. This time, we tried the pumpkin risotto and the marinated portobello steak (my staple here - told you I have a fungi addiction!). The risotto was prepared beautifully. Creamy and perfect for fall weather. Since I took these pictures, they have modified the marinated portobello steak on their menu. As you see in the picture, it came with fingerling potatoes and wilted spinach. Now it comes with horseradish mashed potatoes and creamed spinach with the same balsamic reduction. I've had both version since they changed the menu (they deliver to me!) and was surprised they changed it. The previous version with fingerling potatoes was much better. The new version is okay, but I was sad to see it modified. Perhaps I have to try it at the restaurant to give it a better chance. Other entree menu items I have had are the crab cakes and the fra diavolo. The crab cakes are a nice meal. Not too dry and the sauce gives the crab cakes a great flavor boost. I've only had the fra diavolo once a long time ago and from what I recall, it was great as well. I'll have to try it again, though, since it has been a while! I've also heard the chicken legs are a real treat. Never had them, but definitely willing to try them one day too.

Any place that I can get a dessert cocktail that is vegan is the place for me. Karyn's not only has a small dessert libation menu, but fantastic sweets too. They used to have a chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and some kind of ice cream that was to die for. For our dinner, we had the pumpkin cheesecake. This was really tasty. I loved the ice cream that went with the cheesecake. The crumble gave the dessert an added crunch which it really needed due to all the creamy elements. A couple was having the doughnuts and coffee ice cream near our table and that looked very cute and yummy too!

If you can't tell from my review, I really love Karyn's on Green. It is one of my top five vegan restaurants in the city. The service can be spotty, though. I've had some really great waiters and some really snooty ones. I give the place a 4.5/5 because of this.

For a complete review, please see my blog here: http://veganmiss.blogspot.com/2011/12/vegan-chicago-restaurant-review-of_05.html

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When you want a fine dining experience, go here. It has a wonderful varied menu and the portions are large. Long full bar and a nice wine list too.

Image for veg*ngirl

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Read conde.kedar's review (a couple below mine). He summarizes this restaurant and the vegan scene in Chicago perfectly.

Ok, now to my review. First, the decor is amazing. If you are dressed up, you'll fit in perfectly. That said, I went in jeans and didn't feel out of place in the slightest. Second, the staff is exceptionally helpful and friendly. Third, the food is fantastic. I went here as vegetarian (not yet a vegan) with a veg-leaning friend and we both loved it. You are virtually assured you will have a wonderful evening.

A great place to take a date or celebrate a special occasion. There was a table of about 25 people there when we went and all left smiling and happy. Seems like a good sign to me. I'll be back!

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My husband and I always hit up Karyn's on Green before going to a nice show downtown or on special occasions. I don't know of vegan restaurant downtown that's this nice! It has a lovely and fancy atmosphere, and the food is great. The cocktails are great too; you can get olives stuffed with vegan cheese, which is a delightful touch.

Karyn's on Green also catered our wedding. The catering menu is almost identical to the dinner menu. Note that Karyn's does NOT provide service or rentals, just the food itself. We got Blue Plate to handle those kinds of things, and it worked out great. I would highly recommend Karyn's to any vegans getting married!

Image for Benjamin Kutschied

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I enjoyed my recent visit to Karyn's on Green. The atmosphere is classy with upscale decor, a full bar with an excellent wine selection, nicely dressed servers, etc... Had the place not been mostly empty, I would have felt silly dining in my flip flops and t-shirt. Karyn's motto is "making vegan sexy." For the most part, it looks like they are doing a decent job.

They fall a little short of this goal in a few areas. First and most importantly, *nothing* in the world is *less* sexy than a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. After taking in the atmosphere and being greeted by our server, I didn't expect to be handed a menu full of sandwiches and pizza. To be fair, I was there for lunch, and it looks like the dinner menu is much more sophisticated. Another thing that wasn't incredibly sexy was the weird dude who kept filling my water glass every time I took a sip. He stopped by our table about 30 different times (not an exaggeration). It was really obnoxious. Finally, videos of gators eating birds should maybe not be screened in your vegan restaurant. I realize that most wild animals aren't strict vegans, but I don't need to watch them kill and eat each other while I'm dining.

We had the Portobello Burger and the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. They were both very good. We also had the raw ice cream plate for dessert. This was excellent! Very creative, classy, and well-presented. Seemed like I was eating dessert at a different restaurant. I plan to come back to Karyn's on Green for the dinner menu next time I am in Chicago. I'll have to update my review then and hopefully add a star or two.

Image for conde.kedar

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Chicago is undergoing a vegan renaissance and Karyn's on Green is the centerpiece of this transformation. As recently as a year ago, I was embarrassed by Chicago's lack of quality vegan restaurants---Chicago is the third largest city in the country and the best it could do was The Chicago Diner (which is overrated and decaying steadily) and Green Zebra (which isn't even fully vegetarian).

But Karyn's on Green fixes all of that. It also corrects all of the errors and issues at its sister restaurant, Karyn's Cooked, and emerges as a sophisticated, smart and posh (yet affordable) bar-restaurant that competes with Millennium in San Francisco, Horizons in Philadelphia and Candle 79 in New York.

First, Karyn's on Green is upscale, romantic, and cool. This is a great place to take a date or to impress out of town guests who are a) skeptical of vegan food and b) skeptical of Chicago's foodie credentials.

Second, the food is awesome. I started off with an order of chorizo sliders ($8). This small plate consisted of two spicy, meaty mini-burgers that left me savoring and loving every bite.

For my main plate I had a crispy chicken legs ($14). This dish consisted of three large chicken drumsticks, covered in a fried coating, served atop some swiss chard, sweet potato hash with bits of seitan, and barbecue sauce. It was filling and elegant, yet also down-home and all-American. The "chicken" was pretty realistic and the dish came together beautifully. I'm not a huge fan of barbecue sauce, but it worked in this dish; that said, I'd love to see what it would have been like with a different sauce as well.

The menu is large and there's a lot of variety; it's one of those menus where you want to try everything.

The service was friendly, helpful and welcoming, in stark contrast to the infamously poor service at sister joint Karyn's Cooked.

I can't stress one other thing enough: Karyn's on Green is 40-50% cheaper than places like Millennium or Candle 79 or Horizons. The small plates here all are $6-8 a piece and could be full meals in themselves; similarly, the large plates are $12-15 and come in huge portion sizes. So Karyn's on Green is not only upscale and gourmet, but it's also a remarkably good value, which makes me appreciate the place even more. It's accessible and it's the type of place that will win over non-veg people in droves.

Karyn's on Green is a masterpiece and catapults Chicago into the big league when it comes to vegan food. I can't wait to go back.

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