Sunday, March 2, 2008


I had lunch here a few weeks ago and I'm still salivating over the interior of this place. Typically I would note the food first, but the burnt orange and scarlet red walls covered with oversized photos of painfully gorgeous people left a bigger impression than the fresh guac and raspberry mojitos.

According to the lovely hostess, Carnivale's concept is a celebration of women and shoes. Now, if you're having visions of Sarah Jessica Parker hailing taxi cabs in frilly dresses trying to get to Mr. Big, rest assured that this is not an episode of Sex and the City. Actually, Carnivale is more like sex in the city; it's an excellent place to bring a date, or really anyone you want to impress. Even if your dinner companion bores the hell out of you, you can still leave this restaurant with a strange sense of elation, thanks to the lavishly seductive decor and Latin infused fare.

Before even thinking about appetizers (and ignoring the fact that it was barely noon), my friend and I ordered up some drinks. She went with the waitress's suggestion; Carnivale's signature raspberry mojito. I kept it simple with a flute of Yellow Label Champagne. The drinks arrived and I immediately had cocktail envy. The fresh berries muddled with mint, rum and lime juice were reminiscent of a smoothie joint I visited with Laura in Atlanta, except this thick concoction had an indulgent kick.

After getting over my lame drink choice, we moved on to some guacamole, made-to-order and served with fresh lime wedges (it's amazing what this stuff can do when squeezed over warm tortilla chips). Apparently everyone else in the place had done the same (the servers push the app pretty hard, but you can't argue when it turns up just as good as promised).

It was then time for some real food. And by real food I mean salad. But this wasn't your average bowl of greens thrown together in a vinaigrette and topped with some shredded cheese and stale croutons. No, this was a beautifully prepared beet salad. The ruby hued veggies were sliced thick and neatly lined on a long white rectangular tray. Sandwiched between each glistening circle were huge triangles of aged manchego. Tart, tangy and healthy-- a nice balance after those sugary beverages.

I plan on heading back to Carnivale soon, this time for a sexy dinner date. Stay tuned.

702 W. Fulton Market
(312) 850-5005

1 comment:

Suburban Kamikaze said...

Okay I'm hungry now.

A great site... the writing is as good as the food.

Bon appetit!