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Uptown in the News  

May 11, 2003
Chicago Tribune
The melting pot: Magnolia Café's chef is no foreigner to fusion
By William Rice

Kasra Medhat, chef-owner of Magnolia Café, a two-year-old Uptown restaurant with a contemporary American menu, is optimistic about the future. One reason is his location, near the corner of Magnolia and Wilson in the midst of a booming residential neighborhood.

"There will be 40 condos across the street," he says, "and once that building's finished we'll do sidewalk seating.

The café itself is a tastefully decorated storefront with brick walls, a parquet wooden floor, comfortable bar and a dozen inverted lampshades to diffuse light. It has 18 tables plus the bar.

Medhat graduated from Kendall College in Evanston, and polished his skills at Jack's on Halsted Street and Spruce, now closed.

The menu, is a combination of French, American, Spanish, Latin and Asian cooking. His calamari is grilled, not fried, and served with a salad of pea shoots, fennel and pine nuts. He makes quesadillas with smoked chicken and roasted red peppers. Grilled tuna is garnished with black-eyed peas, Napa cabbage and sauce made with smoked bacon. Fresh pastas and desserts are made in house.

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