27 Live, a new Evanston spot worth checking out

27 Live is a new restaurant, whiskey lounge, music venue hybrid in Evanston, the Chicago suburb where I live, that’s worth checking out for its food and ability to accommodate a low-salt dinner request.

I was interested in seeing what the operators of 27 Live had done with the space they have. For many years, it housed a Carmen’ pizza place in a cavernous two-story restaurant complete with big staircase and upstairs bar and party area where I spent many an end of the soccer season when I was coaching my son’s AYSO teams years ago. Carmen’s was always a family favorite, even after it downsized a few years ago, turning over part of its space to a Brazilian steakhouse I never got to try out.

Chestnut gnocchi in a brown sugar and bacon sauce was amazing at 27 Live.
Chestnut gnocchi in a brown sugar and bacon sauce was amazing at 27Live.

As always before I dine out these days, I first checked 27 Live’s menu online to see if anything seemed remotely low-sodium and low-fat so I could eat it. I saw a fish dish and a vegetarian option, both of which I thought might be able to fit my needs, so my wife and I went there for dinner to check the new place out.

We were very happy with what we found. I admit I splurged on some items there that likely don’t fit in my diet, like a chestnut gnocchi appetizer that included bacon and brown sugar. I love chestnuts and was interested in its use of chestnut flour. I found it amazing, although I admit the bacon flavor in the light sauce masked hints of chestnut in the gnocchi itself. I did not eat the pieces of bacon in the mixture but just tasting its influence in the dish was wondrous for me since I haven’t had bacon in more than 19 months now.

For a main dish I was wondering whether a salmon option or a veggie lasagna (without cheese so no fat from that) would be lower in sodium for me. I asked the waitress to check with the cooks which she did gladly and pleasantly (it’s so nice when such requests don’t flummox a wait staff as I’ve encountered some places).

Salmon over potatoes and kale at 27Live
Salmon over potatoes and kale at 27Live

I should add that we also ordered a salad as an appetizer and were told it was big enough for two. Places often say that and I seldom believe it given how much salad I eat for lunch everyday. But this time the reality lived up to the promise.

For dessert we splurged again with profiteroles. If I am going to go off my diet these days, it literally has to be for food worth dying for. These fit in that category, they were amazing. Splitting an order with my wife limited just how much I went off my restricted diet.

Profiteroles are worth splurging on at 27 Live.
Profiteroles are worth splurging on at 27Live.

All in all, 27 Live was a great dining experience. We took a tour of the concert area and can’t wait to see some music acts there as well. We also saw the upstairs lounge and some boxes that would be great for small parties. I will always miss Carmen’s (and pizza in general since I can’t eat regular pizza anymore) but 27 Live is a more than worthy replacement in this unique sized Evanston space.

My only request would be to add more low-sodium, low-fat choices to the menu. There are lots of us on these restrictions and very few restaurant choices we can enjoy. It’s an audience in search of a great eatery.

27 Live on Urbanspoon


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