Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Zealous commemorates 19th anniversary with special two-month “Best of the Best” celebration beginning tonight

ZEALOUS Restaurant (419 W. Superior, Chicago; 312-475-9112), one of Chicago’s most highly praised and beautifully chic fine dining establishments, is celebrating its 19th anniversary during August and September with a two month long showcase of its most popular and acclaimed dishes spanning its 19-year history. A special 5-course dinner for $85 will be the main attraction, while other greatest hits items will be available on the a la carte menu. The celebration begins Wednesday, August 8 and runs through Saturday, September 29.

Over the years, chef/owner Michael Taus, one of Charlie Trotter’s most successful protégés and a well-respected restaurateur in his own right, has built a large and loyal following of fans. Taus is very proud of the opportunity to celebrate a 19th anniversary. “When I look back at the list of restaurants that were named best new restaurants of 1994 by Chicago Magazine, I can see that only three are still in existence and, of the fine dining restaurants included, only ZEALOUS is still open,” he said. “It’s a testament to our guests and to the many staff people who have contributed to our success over the years. We’ve worked very hard to maintain the quality and of our food and our dining experience. We have tried to stay cutting edge and creative with our menu yet still be accessible to a wide range of food lovers. We’re proud that we’re still getting rave reviews.”

The 19th anniversary celebration will include three features. First, there will be a special five-course menu for $85 (plus tax and gratuity), comprised of the “best of the best” dishes during the past 19 years. This menu will change weekly throughout the months of August and September. Wine pairings for an additional $50 per person also will be available.

For the week beginning April 8, the first course will be Big-Eye Sashimi Tuna Wrapped with Prosciutto and Basilin Rice Paper with Housemade Kim Chee (this dish was featured in 1993). The second course will feature Grilled Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Spicy Lobster Toast and Roasted Pineapple Vinaigrette (featured in 2000). The third course will present New Zealand Lamb Chops, Caramelized Onion Barbecue Sauce and Black-Bean Corn Salsa (1995). The fourth course will be Chilled Lychee and Melon Soup with Tropical Granita (1997). The dessert course will be Steamed Valrhona Chocolate Ginger Pudding Cake with Opal Basil Ice Cream (1999). The feast will finish with a selection of Mignardises.

A second element of the celebration will be a “blast from the past” selection. The a la carte menu will incorporate several dishes that have been favorites throughout the 19 years. “We have had so many requests for items that go all the way back to our days in Elmhurst (ZEALOUS was in Elmhurst, Ill. from 1993 to 1999 before the restaurant moved to its present Chicago River North location in 2000) that we felt it would be great to offer these favorites to our guests who may not want to indulge in a full five-course dinner,” said Taus.

Thirdly, ZEALOUS is going to celebrate the year 1993 with a special treat for wine lovers: Guests who bring in their own bottle of 1993 vintage wine can enjoy it without a corkage fee.

Looking back over the years, one of Taus’ proudest achievements is that ZEALOUS was ahead of its time in going farm-to-table, which is now a trend among many upscale restaurants. “We were buying from Nichols’ Farm, for example, from the beginning,” said Taus. “My great grandfather was a farmer and also had an amazing garden. I’ve always appreciated using farm fresh ingredients. Using the freshest ingredients from local farmers has always been a priority for us.”

Taus is also proud of ZEALOUS’ culinary tradition. “We’ve always used classic French technique to produce delicious food with a lot of global influences, and we’ve always had a strong selection of vegetarian dishes. Both were cutting edge at the time we opened and they remain as contemporary as ever today.”

 “We’re looking forward to welcoming our fans as well as newcomers to the ZEALOUS experience,” said Taus. “We always really, really care—every day we give a hundred and ten percent to make sure everyone has an amazing time with us.”

ZEALOUS is located at 419 W. Superior, Chicago, IL 60654. For more information on ZEALOUS or to make reservations, please contact the restaurant at (312) 475-9112 or visit the website at

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