Friday, March 21, 2014

The Most Charming Restaurant in Northwest Indiana: Asparagus

This week, we attended a special dinner at Asparagus, one of our favorite dining spots in northwest Indiana (7876 Broadway, Merrillville, IN). Asparagus has a warm, dark, classy and romantic atmosphere. The decor is a mix of French and Thai - with the most gorgeous cut bamboo wall in the entryway.

We like to go to Asparagus the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month, because they host some of the best jazz combos in the Chicagoland area - and (pssst) there's no charge for the music. We have paid quite a bit to listen to the same groups in Chicago - but they travel all the way to Merrillville just for us!

Tammy (the owner, executive chef and hostess) and her husband Sam (who oversees all the details of the business) are hard-working and dedicated to their craft. They put the ultimate amount of care into the quality of the food, inventive drinks, and warm hospitality. They always make us feel like family.

The meal was a five-course special presentation featuring the Trimbach wine family of Alsace, France, who have been producing wine since 1626. Each course was perfectly prepared to complement the selected wine tasting by Tammy Pham, the executive chef.

Seated at candlelit tables, me with my handsome husband (above), we enjoyed an appetizer of a Thai crispy beef egg roll with a wasabi ginger sesame sauce. This was followed by a white and green asparagus crabmeat soup. The broth, we learned, was reduced asparagus. It was light and delicate - you could clearly taste the asparagus (the restaurant's name sake) and the crabmeat.

My favorite course came next - a mango salad. This was shredded green mango topped by two small breaded shrimp. This salad had an unexpected combination of flavors that snapped in your taste buds, both sweet and savory, fruity and cilantro with a touch of spice. I could eat enormous bowlfuls of it and die a happy woman.

The main course was a red snapper in Tammy's homemade sweet and sour. And the finale - a scoop of flourless dense chocolate cake. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.....are you hungry yet?

Each course was paired with a wine - and we learned how some wines are prepared in steel and concrete rather than oak barrels! We also tasted a Liqueur de Framboise with the dessert which was like diving headlong into an orchard. It was intense and beautiful, but not sickeningly sweet or thick. I loved that. The wine we sampled with the main course had a funny German name - Gewurtztraminer (sounds like a sneeze). It was an unusual white with bits of spice - but I loved it.

Here we are, post dinner (and quite full and happy) snapping a few quick photos with Tammy and Sam.

Thank you, Tammy and Sam, for such a wonderful evening. We will see you soon!

Be sure to see their facebook page for more information:ASPARAGUS on FACEBOOK. They post their special "pairings" dinners as well as entertainment. And, be sure to look for their new restaurant, opening in nearby Tinley Park this April! They will offer the same quality food, a relaxing atmosphere and live music. What more could anyone want?
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