Sigh… Well, we were having a really hard time figuring out what we wanted to eat on this particular night—we wanted it to be fairly close and quick. Oh Yumm used to be one of our favorite places for such a meal, but after the last dinner visit, when the service was really abysmal, we hadn’t been back. This time, while it appears that they have worked on their service issues, unfortunately, these problems were replaced by kitchen execution issues.
It looks like they have turned what was one of their best waiters into a maitre d' of sorts—he greeted us and seated us. Unfortunately, when we asked for a larger table (a 4 top) even though there were only 2 of us, we were told no, that there were people coming in for those tables (last time we were there they actually gave us the larger table when we asked, they were just grumpy about it). If they really needed the tables, this would have been fine. But as we left, all of the tables for 4 in our section sat empty. This really annoys hubby to no end for several reasons. First, we always order tapas—once you get 4 (or more) plates on the table as well as your own plate to eat from, a bottle of wine, water, etc., you are out of room. We had to sacrifice the bread basket and plates in order to fit everything. As we were walking out I thought hubby might lose it. I mean it is one thing if you have reservations booked for these tables, but if you are just saving them with the idle hope that some larger parties will come in, at the expense of paying customers, that are already there, this seems risky. And it was a Tuesday night at 5:45; I mean how many restaurants in this city are full on a Tuesday night?
Ok, enough about that, let’s get to the food. Well, first a quick note about the service. Like I said, our server was very friendly and attentive and everyone seemed enthusiastic on the whole. We ordered tapas—the fried calamari with sambal aioli, the artichoke fritters with lime chili aioli, the flatbread pizza with pesto, smoked Gouda, caramelized onion and kalamata olives, and the baked chipotle goat cheese with marinara and crostini. The thing is, even though we specifically told the waiter that he should just bring them out as they were finished in the kitchen (as is normally the way with tapas), they brought them all out at the same time. Unfortunately, it was pretty clear the calamari had been sitting a bit because it was barely warm. Now, I love the calamari here on the whole, the batter that it is fried with is super light and airy, and the calamari is not chewy or anything. However, when it is just warm, and not hot, it loses quite a bit. The sambal aioli was a slightly spicy aioli that was tasty and complimented the calamari nicely.
Now the artichoke fritters must have been fried last, because they were exactly the right temperature (uh, hot) and were served in a metal cup lined with wax paper which was also great for keeping them warm (maybe try that with the calamari). They were really delicious. Basically, just little deep fried artichoke hearts served with a similar aioli to the calamari. Although, according to the menu, it was “lime chili” I thought it was the same (as did our server when I asked him). But it was just as tasty.
The goat cheese was nice as well, and served at the appropriate temperature. It was a basically a plate of warm marinara sauce with a nice portion of goat cheese flavored with chipotle chilies. It was nice. Hubby especially liked it—and the crostini were appropriately toasted and held up well to the cheese.
Now, when the server placed the flatbread on the table, even he took one look at it and knew it was burned…I will give him credit for that, he instantly said he would take it back and have a new one made, which we took him up on. When it came back, it wasn’t so burned for sure. Unfortunately, the mini flatbread pizzas have always been one of my favorite items at Oh Yumm, but they have changed the crust from what used to be a thin tortilla that was crisped up in butter, to what looked and tasted pretty much like pita bread that was grilled in a panini press. It wasn’t crispy and it was too dense. The toppings were a really nice combination, but the crust just detracted too much for me. I told hubby as we ate it that I wouldn’t order it again, although he disagreed.
We also wanted dessert and the server read off a long list, with several good sounding items. What we really wanted was the chocolate chip bread pudding which is our longstanding favorite and when we asked, we were told it was on the menu. I don’t know if he just forgot to mention it, or if they just keep it around for people who ask. It was just as good—and I have always really liked it.
Unfortunately for Oh Yumm, it seems just as the get one thing fixed, another problem seems to show up. Hopefully one of these days, everything will get worked out at the same time.
Oh Yumm! Bistro
5615 N. Illinois