Apps Only: Kaz An Nou
Kaz An Nou is a French Caribbean restaurant in Prospect Heights that takes its cues from the gastropub movement—taking simple dishes and elevating them without compromising their inherent appeal. The dining room is casual and reflects the restaurant's name, which translates to "our house" in Antillean Creole. It's hard to find a better spot for Apps Only anywhere; Kaz An Nou's menu has six appetizers, and the most expensive of those maxes out at just seven bucks.
We started with two salads. The first was Nicoise An Nou ($7), a composed Nicoise salad with layers of tapenade, sweet potato, smoked whitefish, hard-cooked egg and okra. Every texture and flavor seemed to be at play here, but nothing was overpowered--that would become the overarching theme of this meal. The Poire et Blue ($6), a pear roasted with maple syrup and topped with blue cheese, was also very tasty. I'm not generally a fan of pear, but slather it in some pungent blue cheese, and I'm game.
The Avocat Farci ($6) was by far the strangest thing to hit our table during this meal: half of an avocado, in its skin, stuffed with mushrooms and shallots and topped with emmental cheese and cooked until the cheese is melted. Hot avocado didn't sound highly appealing, but I was completely won over by this rich dish, the fatty avocado and melty cheese cut by the sweet, tangy sauce pooled beneath the avocado. Also rich and delicious was the Pate en Croute ($6). If you find pheasant pate just isn't rich enough for you, Kaz An Nou has you covered: this dish is topped with puff pastry and served hot out of the oven.
An order of Cod Fritters ($6) were crispy outside and soft inside, the mild salt cod letting a garlicky, spicy mayo-based dip take center stage, while Escargot ($7) was kicked up by adding cilantro and a good dose of curried spice to the usual parsley and butter combination. An extra round of bread was supplied to make the most of any leftover sauce. The Soupe ($5), roasted red pepper and tomato that was thickened by rich coconut milk, reminded us a bit of chicken tikka masala; an unexpected association, but a good one nonetheless.
The three of us were able to order one of every appetizer on the menu and not break the bank—or even go over our $45 target price. Before tax and tip, we spent $44, and had one of the best (and largest) meals in Apps Only history. Every dish that we ate was delicious, and most were exciting, surprising, and thrilling. That it was all so cheap was the icing on the cake.