Sayat Nova an exotic setting for tasty Eastern Mediterranean food
Why eat: Sayat Nova serves reasonably priced and tasty Armenian — think Eastern Mediterranean — food in somewhat exotic surroundings.
Dress code: Jeans and sweaters are as at home here as suits and ties.
Noise factor: New-age jazz plays pleasantly in the background, allowing and even enhancing conversation. It also provides a focal point so you're not tuned in to what your neighbor's saying.
Overheard: "You, I don't owe."
Service: The waiter was prompt, efficient and congenial. Appetizers, including yummy hummus with warm pita, were served within moments of our arrival while we made our entree selections.
Cellphone reception/Wi-Fi: Both are available.
Reservations: Accepted, generally not needed.
Menu: Vegetarian and meat appetizers that can make a fine meal. Soups and salads, the latter with a hint of mint. Chicken, beef and lamb like you've rarely had them before.
Reliable options: Hummus (chick-pea dip), baba ghanouj (eggplant dip), olives and Armenian string cheese and stuffed eggplant ($5 each from the appetizer menu); kebabs (chicken, beef, lamb, shrimp, veggie — $9.95-$17.95); pita pockets (chicken and lulla — $9.95); combo plates, particularly the vegetarian option (plaki [beans], cheese or spinach boereg [phyllo pie], tabbouleh (bulgur wheat salad), green salad and rice — $9.95); shawarma (charbroiled beef tenderloin with root vegetables — $10.95); and kibbe, Sayat Nova's signature dish, a nicely seasoned lamb meatloaf.
Expect to pay: $15 to $20 per person with beverages.
Contacts: 312-644-9159 or sayatnovachicago.com.