Senza is a hidden gem, and one of the best-kept secrets in Chicago. This restaurant is getting some buzz, but I'm surprised that people aren't shouting from the mountaintops! I haven't had food this good in quite some time, where the appetizers, entrees, and desserts were all equally good.
Senza means "without" in Italian, and speaks to the fact that the restaurant is gluten-free. At first, I was a little leery about gluten free b/c I thought that the taste would be sacrificed, but it is completely the opposite. All of my food had fun and surprising bursts of flavor and texture. They sent out this amuse bouche, which had this flaky crust with a piece of delicate fish in the middle with an Asian sauce. It was the perfect bite with a fun texture and flavor.
From the the pillowy-soft gnocchi with delectable onions (I actually had to get 2 orders of the gnocchi b/c it was that good) to the layer of ginger at the bottom of my dessert, I was amazed with every bite. I had the Barramundi, which was a delicious white fish w/pecans and black garlic. One of my friends got the Grilled Little Gem lettuce salad, and the lettuce was literally grilled and had a fantastic smoky flavor. Grilled salad was new to us all, and we were all eating the salad off of her plate. One of my favorite items was the crème brulee, which had a sweet and salty profile and reminded me of caramel corn. I have never had crème brulee like this - it was playful and delicious.
Senza has a trendy décor, yet it was much smaller than I had expected. Definitely make reservations. They have some tables on the side of the room that are perfect for 2 people, and we saw a few dates in progress, so definitely consider Senza for a date. I would say that Senza is one of the best restaurants that I have dined at in 2013 - no joke. I may get the tasting menu the next time I go.