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Lyfe Restaurant Reviews Reviews Sustenance WIAW

Pavilion Restaurant Chicago Menu Tasting

About a month ago, right before Alex and I went to Virginia for our first Christmas, I was invited by my friend Christina to participate in menu tasting out at Pavilion, a restaurant and event space in Northbrook, a short drive from downtown. The restaurant’s roots are in Russian cuisine, but they have recently completely revamped their menu to offer a seemingly unending variety of food styles, from Russian to Sushi. You know I don’t turn down good food and good company, so obviously I was in! Plus, Alex was on nights, so he was no good to me πŸ˜‰ So I went off to Pavilion Restaurant Chicago for a little fun.

Thank you as always to Jenn!

Thank you as always to Jenn!

And now I get to tell you about that time that I ate 3+ dinners and met Wilmer Valderamma, and Sheng Sun (Mortal Kombat fans out there will know who this is, if they have ever seen the movie.) Since most of you don’t know who that is, we will stick with a cameo from Fez.

Sarah, Jesi, Christina (And Wilmer)

Sarah, Jesi, Christina (And Wilmer)

As I mentioned, Pavilion is a restaurant with an adjoining event/club space. So whilst we were stuffing ourselves silly in the restaurant area, Fez and about 100+ of his “friends” were enjoying themselves and celebrating the launch of their new charity “points” project. We went over and poked around, got our picture, and pinched a few nibbles, but then we returned to our allocated space. What proceeded to occur is what I refer to as yet another Thanksgiving, aka gluttonizing to the extreme.

pavilion restaurant chicago suzlyfe

But it was so delicious I couldn’t help myself! I mean, first they brought out a specialty cocktail….

pavilion cocktail

then tuna tartare, which we know I am an absolute sucker for. I ate the majority of this.  Little did I know how much more was to come! But Sashimi grade ahi, avocado, tomato, and balsamic???? C’mon.

pavilion tuna tartareNext up: crepes served with smoked salmon, honey, and jam. I am a sucker for smoked salmon, so I went after that. Absolutely delicious πŸ˜€

pavilion salmon crepe blini

The next dish was one of the best single bites of the night: crostinis with warm goat cheese, poached pears and a balsamic drizzle. The warmth, savory creaminess of the goat cheese worked perfectly with the crunchy crostini, the sweet (but not overly) sweet fruit, and the sweet.savory note of the balsamic. Fabulous!

pavilion goat cheese crostini

But I did love the next dish: golden and red beet salad with cheese and another balsamic drizzle. I could have lived inside of that!

pavilion beet salad

A traditional Russian egg and ham salad followed, complemented with peas. It was fun to try out some more traditional Russian dishes along with their take on the party favorites!

pavilion  ham egg salad

They even had flatbread! A fabulous portabello flatbread–meaty and earthy, but still nice and light thanks to the cracker thin crust. Another favorite!

pavilion mushroom flatbread

A second traditional Russian dish: chicken dumplings, served with sour cream and vinegar. The dumpling skin was beautifully thin but still held its own–always difficult. And the vinegar and sour cream were very interesting–the interplay of the cream, acid, dough, and meat really changed how you tasted the dish!

pavilion dumplings

But the charcuterie. Oh, the charcuterie. It was as delicious as it looks! Several interesting cheeses, a flower of prosciutto… amazing.

pavilion meat and cheese board charcuterie

A dill, cucumber, and tomato salad with a sour cream based dill dressing was next, and very Mediterranean–the salad definitely stood on its own, but I would have LOVED it on some gyro meat!

pavilion cucumber tomato dill salad

And then the entrees. Yes, AFTER ALL OF THAT. Entrees! These were far more traditionally Russian than the majority of the apps, but just as delicious. Pork cutlet with a marsala- or sherry-esque mushroom reduction. Deep, deep flavor, and served with a potato cake, the crispy salty cake was the perfect foil within all the earthiness.

pavilion pork cutlet mushroom

The other entrees all were served with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.(From left to right). Perfectly executed Chicken kiev.

pavilion chicken kiev

And a really fun breaded chicken that basically was covered in bread cubes, like a cross between fried chicken and Thanksgiving stuffing!

pavilion breaded chicken

Pork patty that was slightly sweet and then all savory. Like an amazing pork meatball, but absolutely no filler.

pavilion pork

To say that we were well taken care of at Pavilion would be an understatement. I unfortunately left my little bonbon/truffle dessert in Christina’s car (STUPID), but I didn’t have any room to speak of, any way!  To be able to take care of us to such an exacting degree, to execute all such a range of dishes, while simultaneously handling the catering of the major event in the adjoining space (where we also saw that they provided sushi and even greater variety through our peak next door, and they have a full list of signature cocktails!) without us ever knowing is quite an accomplishment.

I would absolutely recommend Pavilion to anyone looking to get just a bit out of the city for a nice dinner, or for a large group party. They even had an incredible New Years Eve party with complete bottle service, and no closing time–yup, stay as long as you want.

And call a few of your friends–Wilmer did. Luckily, I could make it πŸ˜€

Tell me about the best party food you have ever had!

Have you had more traditional Russian dishes before?

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  • Reply Heather @fitncookies

    Um all that food…in my belly NOW! What a wonderful place and I love they host events. It’s even better you saw two events in action and your food was still the bomb dot com
    Heather @fitncookies recently posted…WIAW: Chicago StyleMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 5:56 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      They did a fabulous job. It was out of the way for me, but a great option if I have need of it!

      January 15, 2015 at 1:29 pm
  • Reply Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie

    I don’t think I’ve ever had Russian cuisine, but the ham and egg salad makes me think it would be right up my alley!
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…WIAW: Disney Marathon WeekendMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 6:06 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And I loved the peas, too, though I kind of wish they had been capers.

      January 15, 2015 at 1:29 pm
  • Reply Sara @ Lake Shore Runner

    Wow allllll the food! I get get down with that Portobello Flatbread – yum!
    Sara @ Lake Shore Runner recently posted…My Approach to Grocery Shopping #WIAWMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 6:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      The flatbread was definitely one of my favorite dishes. So earthy, and I love shrooms, so there you go.

      January 15, 2015 at 1:30 pm
  • Reply jess meddows

    That’s such a cool evening out. I love the variety of the dishes and cuisines that they gave you guys. And you got to meet and have a photo with Fez! ehehehe so cool!!! πŸ˜€
    jess meddows recently posted…Bunner’s Bakery TorontoMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 6:32 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      So much fun, and such a random sighting. But the food was totally worth it πŸ˜‰

      January 15, 2015 at 1:28 pm
  • Reply Ruthie@She'sWickedHealthy

    Dang, you’re so fancy!!! πŸ˜‰
    Ruthie@She’sWickedHealthy recently posted…WIAW: My new favorite way to eat eggs!My Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 6:57 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Iggy ain’t got nuttin on me.

      January 15, 2015 at 1:28 pm
  • Reply Annmarie

    OMG I LOVE tuna tartare….it is my FAV! Everything looks super yummy though!
    Annmarie recently posted…Wild Workout Wednesday: #NoExcuses, Get Your Squat On!My Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 7:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh, me too. love it.

      January 15, 2015 at 1:28 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    That looks like a true feast! I love a good smorgasbord! That tuna looks incredible. Even at breakfast it looks good.
    Sarah recently posted…Have Fun With Your Running-A Beginner’s GuideMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 7:14 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I would totally do that tartare for breakfast. Oh, yes.

      January 15, 2015 at 1:27 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    Everything looks great! Looks like they have tons of options and lots of good stuff! There’s no better feeling than leaving a good restaurant stuffed to the brim and feeling like you didn’t miss out on anything:)
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…A Whole30 Weekend (#WIAW)My Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 7:28 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Good gracious, to think that we could have possibly tried anything else!

      January 15, 2015 at 1:27 pm
  • Reply Brynn

    Oh my word! I am speechless and simply drooling! What fun!
    Brynn recently posted…Skoop Review + GiveawayMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 7:58 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      So much fun. SO MUCH FOOD

      January 15, 2015 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply Cassie


    I’ve never really had Russian food… but I did stop by a Russian Orthodox church once and bought half a grilled chicken, pierogies and maybe some cabbage thing last year. It was so good!
    Cassie recently posted…Pressed Juicery Juice Cleanse ReviewMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 7:58 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m a sucker for cabbage. I was surprised by how much pork they served, actually!

      January 15, 2015 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    Those appetizers!! whoa… and THEN you got to the entrees! Looks like a great meal! Good friends.
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Healthy SnacksMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 8:01 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I basically make friends just so that they will feed me.

      January 15, 2015 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply Anna @ Piper's Run

    I am beyond hungry after reading this! Wow, looks so good! Never had Russian food before!
    Anna @ Piper’s Run recently posted…Fit Approach #NoExcuses 2015 Challenge for PiperMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 8:27 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It was definitely hearty, and different from the other, more typical, catering options, but the flavors were fantastic!

      January 15, 2015 at 1:25 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    Wow looks like quite a night! I don’t eat Tuna Tartar but love that presentation. My family loves it so I could whip it up that way for them
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…#No Excuses Mad Lib Fun with Sweat PinkMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 8:41 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I do love me some tuna, though I know you are apart from it. What about doing it with beets on top?

      January 15, 2015 at 1:24 pm
  • Reply Jess @hellotofit

    Looks like an amazing experience! That tuna tartare, too…and Wilmer Valderama πŸ™‚ at the company party here this year we had food catered from the Bavarian Chef, it was pretty good! I’ve never eaten at the restaurant, though, since it’s in Madison County.
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Committing to January with #NoExcusesMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 9:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Bav Chef is incredible! I haven’t eaten there either (there isn’t much that I can, thanks tummy) but my many of my friends have been there time and time again and adore it.

      January 15, 2015 at 1:24 pm
  • Reply Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles

    Wow, that crostini w/ goat cheese looks amazing!! It looks like you ate well!! I loved the pic with Fez (and was a little jealous!!) πŸ™‚
    Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles recently posted…Nākd Natural Balance Bars {Product Review}My Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 9:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I had mixed feelings re Fez–like, was I going to get Lindsay Lohan germs from him?

      January 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm
  • Reply Lauren @ ihadabiglunch

    I’m laughing so hard right now! I go to Buffalo Grove all the time because that’s where all my friends from college live and to think that Fez was just chilling there is freaking hilarious.

    Those crostinis look amazing! I didn’t think I would like Russian food but hey, who knows! That looks pretty darn good! That charcuterie is gorgeous — I’ve never tried it but it definitely looks great.
    Lauren @ ihadabiglunch recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday: back in businessMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 10:07 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I adore charcuterie, especially prosciutto. To say that I had my fill of protein is to put it lightly.
      And yes, it really was the most random sighting ever…

      January 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm
  • Reply Suzy

    Holy smokes. You’d have to cart me out the back doors in a wheelbarrow after that dinner. LOVE IT.
    Suzy recently posted…Woozy Wednesday: The To-Go CupMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 10:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Essentially that is what happened. I was driven home. In the backseat, so basically thus.

      January 15, 2015 at 1:21 pm
  • Reply Courtney @ Running For Cupcakes

    SO MUCH FOOD! The crostinis sound delicious!
    Courtney @ Running For Cupcakes recently posted…ABC’s of Me Part 2!My Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 11:24 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      The warm/cool/smooth/creamy/crunchy/salty/sweet was really incredible!

      January 15, 2015 at 1:21 pm
  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    How did you get through all of it? you are a teeny little person!

    I wanted to take a bite out of my laptop at the tuna tartare! And, here I am eating yogurt with cheerios……and looking at those pictures!
    So, to quote Mammy from GWTW (Gone With The Wind)….
    “it aint fittin, it just aint fittin…”

    January 14, 2015 at 11:58 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I do dec-clayah

      January 15, 2015 at 1:20 pm
      • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

        and the “clayah” in dec-clayah sounds like my name in the deep “southen!”

        January 15, 2015 at 3:50 pm
  • Reply Erin @ Erin's Inside Job

    That’s so much food! It all looks really good though. I don’t think I’ve ever had any authentic Russian cuisine, so it was interesting to see what that consists of. I’m glad I can finally see the source of that IG picture with Fez. Looks like you had a great time!
    Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job recently posted…WIAW: Shadowing EditionMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I kind of wish there wore traditional dishes to try!

      January 15, 2015 at 1:20 pm
  • Reply

    Ok, firstly I want golden and red beet salad with cheese and another balsamic drizzle.

    Secondly I want everything else there please. Ok? πŸ˜†

    Salivating here. recently posted…Cajun Spiced Oven Baked ChickenMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 12:19 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      hahahahaha I’ll be on the next plane over πŸ˜€

      January 15, 2015 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Renee @ Bendiful Blog

    Ummm I’m on whole 30 and seeing all this food just makes me want to get on a plane and join you at this place. OMG heaven!
    Renee @ Bendiful Blog recently posted…Warm me Up Ab/Core WorkoutMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 12:32 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m assuming that Whole 30 really means eating all of the 30 dishes, right?

      January 15, 2015 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Isabella @ LaBellaVidaDesign

    I’ve never had Russian cuisine, but this looks fabulous! If I’m ever in Chicago, I’ll be sure to give this place a try. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed your experience!

    January 14, 2015 at 12:45 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Let’s just have a big party and let them cater it!

      January 15, 2015 at 1:18 pm
  • Reply Kay @ Kay Bueno

    I can’t decide which looks best. I love love love ahi tuna, so tuna tartare is a quick win, but those crepes, and that chicken with the breading, yuuuum. Like stuffing on the outside of a bird.

    Looks delicious!
    Kay @ Kay Bueno recently posted…WIAW – Craving’s ahoyMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 1:20 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It was insanity. INSANITY

      January 15, 2015 at 1:18 pm
  • Reply Jen@jpabstfitness

    Wow. So much deliciousness!!!
    Jen@jpabstfitness recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday {5}My Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know! And it just kept coming!

      January 15, 2015 at 1:17 pm
  • Reply Shawna

    mmmmm the tartar (also one of my fave dishes) and the crostini w/ pears and goat cheese and balsamic drizzle, and that salad…omg YES. looks amazing and all things i’d totally order.
    Shawna recently posted…WILW {1.14.14}My Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 2:18 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      agggg I know. I would have been happy with just the first half. The entrees were totally an afterthought!

      January 15, 2015 at 1:17 pm
  • Reply Ange @ Cowgirl Runs

    Hi. I’d like all that food in my face now please. kthansbai
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…National dress up your pet dayMy Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 3:20 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe


      January 15, 2015 at 1:16 pm
  • Reply Farrah

    Why must you torture me with such delicious lookin’ pictures of food!? *-* That tuna tartare and those crepes. errrahgerrrddd

    January 14, 2015 at 7:29 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It’s my job.

      January 15, 2015 at 1:16 pm
  • Reply Salt

    Yet again you win at food. You go to the best restaurants and I wish I could join you! That sashimi looks to die for!
    Salt recently posted…A little facelift!My Profile

    January 14, 2015 at 8:28 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I ate 75& of it. I was full before anything else came. AND THEN IT KEPT COMING.

      January 15, 2015 at 1:16 pm
  • Reply Arman @ thebigmansworld

    I save your WIAW posts for the weekend because I get so depressed seeing them mid week haha- you legit have the best restaurant taste. I’m going to be including restaurant reviews this year and I’m already ashamed that it may put you off coming to Australia…
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast CookiesMy Profile

    January 17, 2015 at 9:10 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I am honestly excited to see your restaurant reviews! I’ve heard that the server-system if very different over there–that they get the same $$ regardless, so sometimes things aren’t that well run. But on a food note, I love finding out about international takes on what we have here.
      And don’t worry. If I am able to make it to your corner of the world, we shall just have to cook together πŸ˜€

      January 19, 2015 at 10:02 am

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