Kasama - Chicago
In Ukrainian Village, Kasama is a modern Filipino restaurant with an onsite bakery, offering freshly made products you won’t find anywhere else in the city of Chicago.
Ube and Huckleberry Basque Cake and Kouign-amann (described in the New York Times as "the fattiest pastry in all of Europe") are two surprise offerings at Filipino-forward Kasama, but there are also many more familiar Filipino comestibles, like adobo and lumpia.
Adobo – a saucy meat simmered in a spicy vinegar broth – is a mainstay of the traditional Filipino diet. At Kasama, there’s the customary chicken adobo, but this version is just the tender wings and pickled papaya, as well as the less conventional mushroom adobo topped with an egg, appropriate for breakfast.
And about breakfast, you can get a traditional Filipino version of the first meal of the day, with garlic fried rice and longanisa (tangy sausage) or tocino (deliciously lush and fatty bacon). We’d recommend you try both.
Lumpia, the thin Filipino eggrolls, are probably the best known and most beloved menu items in the Filipino culinary tradition. At Kasama, you get them with a tasty sweet chili sauce. These lumpia are perfect as a starter, a side, or just something to nibble with your drink.
About drinks, the Spanish influence on the Phillipines is evident in selections like the Caves Naveran Brut 2017, an organic, food-friendly wine that offers citrus and smoke notes that work well with Filipino food, a bargain at $32. The Alvaro Castro Tinto 2017 is an intense red with some underlying funk that pairs very well with either chicken or mushroom adobo.
On trend with the tendency of restaurants to offer retail to customers, Kasama makes it possible for customers to pick up a dozen eggs, sour dough starter, a pint of ice cream or a roll of Kasama’s notorious chocolate cookie dough.
If you haven’t tried Filipino food before, Kasama is an excellent way to dip your toe (or tongue?) in the culinary pool of favorites of the Philippines. The atmosphere is casual, the service is very capable and friendly, and you will leave feeling as though you learned something about a cuisine that is just now becoming known stateside.