Table Hopping: Food and mood for thought at Found
Small plates at Found include grilled baby octopus with picholine olives and nutty Jersualem artichokes (sunchokes) ($13). | Lee A. Litas~Sun-Times Media
Found Kitchen and Social House
1631 Chicago Ave., Evanston
4:30-10:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 4:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 4:30–9:30 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday.
(847) 868-8945 or see: foundkitchen.com.
Updated: February 12, 2013 7:08PM
If you’ve been searching for place to call your neighborhood hangout, look no further, it’s Found.
That is, Found is the name of this the low-key, three-month-old bohemian haunt recently settled on a corner in Evanston by restaurateur Amy Morton. It is far cooler than what you might have ever envisioned, and should appeal to all, from students to seniors to families or to couples.
Found is laid out in ‘different rooms’ that are actually varied arrangements of comfy divans, chaise lounges, chintzes and rustic wooden tables suggesting a lounge, a dining room, a kitchen counter and a library. A ceiling chalk board is emblazoned with motivational quotes from Kerouac to Buddha.
Morton hasn’t owned her own restaurant for 20 years but the blue jeans/plaid shirt-wearing daughter of famed Morton’s Steakhouse founder Arnie Morton says the idea for Found grew out of her hope to create a restaurant with a mission.
That mission, she explained is one “of being thoughtful, of not taking things for granted and of being resourceful.”
After taking time off for family, Morton swore that she would not go back to work unless she could make a difference. So from the first, she sought to create a space that would appeal to a wide audience. She models Found’s ambiance the idea-centered tone of Gertrude Stein’s 1920s Paris salon and the free spirit of Jack Kerouac’s 1950s San Francisco.
“And I truly feel that that has been achieved,” said Morton.
The cuisine is something executive chef Nicole Pederson, formerly of C-House, calls “rustic American.” Working with area farmers to obtain the freshest produce grown year-round in hoop houses, the earthy approach yields big, bold flavors offered in minimalist presentations.
Found’s small plates include grilled baby octopus salad with frisee, picholine olives and nutty sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) topped off with a North African shatta dressing of peppers, oil/vinegar and a touch of garlic ($13).
Tangy lamb meatballs heightened with crunchy pistachio chimichurri, fresh red Fresno chiles and creamy yogurt will have you licking the bottom of the mini cast-iron pot clean in this ‘unputdownable’ starter ($12).
You’ll find the buttery French dip sandwich on toasted miche (a whole wheat sourdough bread) layered with horseradish cheddar sauce and onion mustard under the Knife and Fork Sandwiches menu ($12). You may need both to tackle this savory beast.
The distinctly Indian flair of the root vegetable stew is subtle. Brimming with root vegetables in season, it is spiced with fresh turmeric, a bit of coconut milk, grains of paradise and coriander. ($14).
A tangy kale and pickled Swiss chard salad made with a variety of toasted nuts and seeds and dried cranberries is guaranteed to make you like to eat your vegetables. ($9).
“What we set out to do is a space that’s super-welcoming, unique, approachable and genuine with incredible food that’s delicious and that people understand, and that’s consistent. I think people feel connected here,” said Morton.
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