Did anyone see that Chicago was named 2017’s Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appétit Magazine?! I sure did, and immediately took to my Google Maps like CRAZY saving restaurants throughout the Chicagoland area, in addition to other places around the country, so now I have colorful little dots all over the map to highlight future road trips & food tours (post-wedding of course, because I don’t have time or money to do any of that)! And in case none of this is making any sense, allow me to backtrack ever so slightly. Did you know that you can actually save places you search for in Google Maps? Not on the website, or if so, I haven’t figured out how to do that yet, but on your phone you can save all sorts of places in all sorts of categories you want! It’s outstandingly easy to now keep track of all the places I keep hearing about and wanting to try…alas, wherefore art thou unlimited dining budget? *chirp chirp chirp* Yeah, maybe sometime soon…but back to Income Tax, which was the #9 reason for Chicago taking this years title!
“Now This Is What We Call Bar Food” is how it was presented, and from the outside and general locale (Edgewater, which is a little out of the way if you’re not used to dining outside of the Loop), it’s definitely not something that screams “WE SERVE AMAZING UPSCALE FOOD HERE!” My mom, our Grand Master Wedding Planner, happened to be in town that weekend to help get some major wedding to-dos checked off—Date √ Dress & Accessories (except shoes, but I have over a year to find a pair) √ Venue √ Church √ Photographer √ Videographer √…yeah, my mom’s amazing—and so we decided to check it out and almost walked right by it because the sign was so unobvious, tucked in the top right corner of an angled window. But the smell from the minute you walk in is enough to throw those first impressions right back outside.
Hipster moody is how I would initially describe the atmosphere, but not in the sense that it’s so dark you don’t feel like you can converse with your fellow tablemates, but quite the opposite. Low hung lamps from above promotes a vast sense of close intimacy with your table, keeping us focused on our discussion of centerpieces and flowers rather than people watching, which is a main source of distraction for me. We decided on dahlia’s instead of roses in case you were wondering!
And naturally, I knew in advance what I was going to order, because I am a natural planner, and we immediately dove into some wine (cab for me, pinot for mom, beer for Frankie because that is his preferred drink of choice) and a small plate of Prairie Breeze Cheddar to share. Oh, and we ABSOLUTELY ordered the Strangolapreti (spinach & ricotta dumplings) which were a big hit on Yelp! (my main source for deciding what to eat wherever I go). The cheddar was delicious (as almost any cheddar I’ve had is), but those dumplings were OUTRAGEOUSLY scrumptious. Soft, moist, cheesey, sweet, smooth, and the white cheese sauce (ricotta/parm I believe) was lick the plate nomz! When I go back, I’ll be ordering a plate just for myself because I can.
For entrees, there were three that looked really good, and you know your family loves you when they decide to order all three! I ordered the Trout Meunière (a lemon parsley sauce), Frankie got the Grilled Dry-Aged Sirloin, and mom got the Coq au Vin (chicken in wine). The trout was succulent, the skin crispy (and served with the skin right side up as it should be because soggy fish skin is gross), and the sweet corn mixed with the smooth, but bitter lemon sauce helped play off the natural sweetness of the fish, though I did think the pastry crumbs weren’t entirely necessary. They almost made those bites a little too sweet.
The Coq au Vin was the most beautiful plate of food for sure, and if you don’t believe me, let me show you:
The Chef was kind enough to put the mushrooms on the side so that I could have a bite and take home the leftovers that I knew my mom was going to leave behind, and it was some of the best chicken I have ever had! The skin was just the right kind of delicate crisp, rather than crunchy, and the meat was incredibly tender and juicy, and the velvety gravy that was poured over top just soaked into the chicken bringing out this rich earthiness to it, and boy was it a hearty dish too! Like red wine got sun tanned.
And Frankie’s steak, I mean, you can never go wrong with steak when it looks that perfect! Evenly cooked through, perfectly pink, and naturally, that kind of impressive display of cooking deserves its own plate! And don’t get me started on the genius that was the ramp butter that was beautifully dolloped in the middle of the velvety risotto! Such a beautiful pop of freshness to compliment the peppery microgreens that were elegantly lounging on the plate. Delicious all around!
The one thing that did let us down was dessert, and normally, that’s never the case at all, though in their defense, this was a weekly/seasonal special, so I am going to chop it up to the fact this was an experiment that I don’t think worked very well. We ordered the blueberry sorbet, and when it came out, it looked really pretty, but upon tasting found that it tasted like nothing. Literally nothing, just whipped air, so my inkling is that the blueberry, while very forward in color, just got overworked or wasn’t enough to standout. BUT again, I stand by my belief that this is not an accurate representation of their capabilities, especially since it was a special dessert and not one of the regulars, so overall it didn’t impact our impression of the meal as a whole, and they were kind enough to remove the dessert from the bill, which I appreciated. This spot is definitely one to hit up for sure, and the prices were incredibly reasonable for the quality you get, but I think next time, I’m going to stick to the desserts on the menu.
Income Tax: 5959 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660