Our neighborhood has been overrun by hipsters. No joke.
The wife and I went out for our first date since she got pregnant, and they were everywhere. Tomorrow is also her birthday. We had an early dinner at Dusek's Board & Beer #Duseks, and a couple of drinks at #PunchHouse Chicago, the bar downstairs. It's a perfect venue for a couple with a newborn baby, as we live in Pilsen, Chicago, only two blocks away. Jared Wentworth is a #MichelinStar rated chef, already responsible for what I've heard is amazing food at #LongmanAndEagle in Logan Square, also a Chicago neighborhood. So that's what we did while my in-laws cared for Isaiah Jedi. This was the first time we left him away from his #Mama and his #Papa. We were understandably a little nuts after two hours.
My first impression, upon walking in, was that it was a nice restaurant to hang out. Then we found out we were too early to be seated. Other patrons were also seated at the bar to wait. I hope you like craft beer, because that's their specialty. Pairing craft beers with their food. I think craft beer is poison beer, so I had a scotch, and then wine for the remainder of the night. Don't judge me. I can look like a hipster if I care too, but I don't particularly care for it.
When we were sat I immediately got annoyed. The tables are very close to each other, and the table legs at our table didn't allow for me to put my feat down right in front of me. I also didn't want to hear the details of conversation from the gay couple to my left, or the mom and sons to my right. I know I sound annoyed, but I wasn't. The ambiance was very cool. #TheCars were playing, and I was excited to eat some delicious food.
If you decide to eat here at some point, keep in mind, portions are meant to be shared. Our waiter, Nathan, fairly warned us, so we ordered a lot of food. Also, they bring out the food as it's prepared. I like that, because it means my food isn't sitting under a heat lamp getting lame. Our first taste of food was quickly served, boneless duck wings. We didn't expect them to look like egg rolls, but they did. When you could taste the duck it was awesome, but the hot sauce was a bit overwhelming. Make sure you use the sour cream and the other mixes served on the platter. Next, was oysters. I'm sure a warning about eating oysters is not necessary. If you've never done it, it could be the grossest thing you ever do. They were good, but I still had the taste of hot sauce in my mouth. I didn't catch the flavor until the aftertaste. Really fracking good, but I'd skip the extra sauces, and add some salt.
Now the restaurant is starting to get busy, and we're getting our entrees. I had my heart set on the Wood Roasted Skirt Steak. Kate got the Kentucky Fried Quail. Fancy, right? The quail was so fracking good I almost forgot there was other food on the table. Beneath the quail was a foie gras prepared cornbread. I always thought my sister's cornbread was the best. Presupposition out the window! I know that foie gras means that the bird was over fed. I don't care. My palate doesn't care. I could eat it for every meal.
Because the quail was so good, we didn't appreciate the skirt steak as much. After I had cleaned my palate again, I told Kate to try the steak again, and make sure she got some of the blue cheese butter. She didn't care to try again. I asked for an order of it to carry out. I'm sure she'll she agrees when she gets around to our leftovers. Oh, and we also got an order of duck fat fries. Nothing to say about them. They were french fries cooked in duck fat, not vegetable or olive oil. But really, just french fries.
Compliments of the chef, and sent to every table having food, was a spoon. A spoon full of the most delicious thing you could ever put in your mouth. Again, no joke. It was just a taster of butternut squash puree, with bacon and pickled walnuts. I swear, and Katie agrees, I'd go back just for some more of that spoonful. That's great marketing.
A warning for anyone who wants to check this place out. They pickle everything. Every single side is pickled, and it's delicious. The first time. The second time it's ok. The third time they tell you something is pickled, you'll want to punch them in the face. Don't eat it the third time. Just leave it on the plate, but don't stop eating. Everything else on the plate is probably fabulous.
Your other warning is, about Punch House, the bar downstairs. It's just a trendy, modern bar. It's cool, but it's not all that special. I only tasted their punches. Kate was the experimenter, I just wanted to go home and get to my son and dog. They were sweet. They were full of rum, or vodka, and juice. If that's you're deal, drink up. I'd rather have a dry glass of cab. Or a scotch. Or whatever. I'm not drinking any punch until it's 90 degrees in Chicago, and that feels like a million years away.
Last warning is simple. Their cloth napkins are total rubbish. Don't touch them or you will end up wondering why your pea coat is covered in lint. Ten minutes into dinner I thought I'd gotten blue cheese all over myself. I did not. It was all crap off of a new restaurant's linen. I didn't warn the people sitting too close to me. But who am I? The Angel Gabriel?
My overall grade on this restaurant and bar is a solid "B". The food is good. The ambiance is above average. The drinks are average. The price is slightly above average for the quality. You won't regret having gone there.
So say we all.