When Hamid Moallem opened this little spot in Addison in 1996, he didn’t realize the simple brilliance of his idea to combine fine dining with live music. He has had to expand the space a couple of times to accommodate his loyal customers. I met a friend there, and we stretched our dinner to almost three hours. Instead of ordering our usual starter-entrée-dessert style, we decided to begin with a couple of selections from the tapas menu. We sampled the Jamaican jerk duck served with kumquat jam, and an Italian baguette topped with dates, prosciutto, and arugula. Both were so good that we tried two more. Out came a small, pinkish-red petite filet sided with skinny onion rings and grilled salmon surrounded by thick cubes of avocado. We were astonished when we got the bill: the tapas menu is part of the restaurant’s happy hour (daily until 7:30 pm, and all night on Sundays and Mondays). We’ll forgive them for the uninspired wine list—Cakebread, Kendall-Jackson, La Crema—since the golden tones of the gentleman crooning added a classy element to our $80 experience. The crowd is laid-back, casual, and stylish, but you are more likely to spot Birkenstocks than Louboutins. And it’s far from the raucous scenes (and prices) in Uptown.
For more information about SoHo Food & Jazz, visit our online restaurant guide.