I haven't looked at the menu in a long time.
When Mike Lee & his sister Melissa opened up Mikey's Grill a little over a year ago, less than a mile from our house, we started going once a week with Marian & Josie. We've known Mikey & Melissa for a very long time from the days when they were at Fox Valley.
It wasn't too many visits before I started asking our server, "Just ask Mikey to make me whatever he wants. I know it'll be good." It always is.
Mikey likes it -- gives him a chance to try out some different things. And he knows I'll give him an honest critique.
Sometimes he'll ask me what I'm sort of generally in the mood for -- beef, fish, pasta? Most often, though, he just tells me. I trust him.
When I got to the restaurant he stepped out of the kitchen to say hi and said, "I've got a cold soup for you." Now I actually don't like cold soups as a rule, but I just said, "Sounds good!" It didn't really, but like I said, I trust him.
It turned out to be a cantaloupe cream soup. It was fantastic. It was sweet, but not cloying, about the thickness of a smoothie, I suppose. A beautiful pale orange color. You could freeze it and serve it for dessert, but after a couple of 99 degree days, it was an exceptional first course. I just about inhaled it.
He hadn't said anything about my entree. I never ask. But I'd been thinking earlier in the day. We're in the middle of Restaurant Week here, so Lynn and I have been trying new restaurants. So I'm eating more this week than I usually do and I thought maybe I should cut it back a bit at Mikey's. Maybe just a sandwich? He does fantastic po' boys. Or maybe I should just go vegetarian for a change? He's always got great fresh local vegetables. On the other hand, I'm going to overeat this week anyway, and he does great burgers, so maybe I should go for that!
I now know that he actually can read my mind, because what came out was a beautiful, delicious, vegetable burger. A soft poppy seeded roll with layers of grilled onions, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, and some cheese. What always impresses me the most about Mikey's cooking is the balance -- texture, tastes, all seem to lock into each other just right so that the final dish is always more than the assemblage of ingredients. So it was with the burger.
I'd order another one next week. But, of course, he'll have thought of something else for me by then.