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South Carolina cuisine from native Mark Steuer (the Bedford).

Our Review

With Carriage House, from Bedford chef Mark Steuer, Chicago has its first restaurant dedicated to the food of South Carolina's coastal low country. Generally that's typified by abundant seafood and grains resulting in folksily named dishes such as she-crab soup and frogmore stew. But Steuer isn't orthodox: on his menu a dozen sharable dishes are divided into "traditional" and "reimagined" columns. I'm not sure how often chefs in Old Dixie prepared sous vide chicken thighs—pressing them in a cylindrical galantine before deep-frying and honey glazing their skin—but it's an interesting preparation, served with a vinegary sweet-potato hot sauce and bread-and-butter pickles. A trio of "Carolina rice balls"—deep-fried arancini made with heritage rice—is incorporated with pimento cheese, dressed with pickled cabbage, and sauced with sweet-potato puree and smoked pork neck gravy for a thrilling collection of textures and flavors. Steuer strikes these perfect balances across his menu, particularly in dishes such as a panfried ham hock terrine set in a succotash of field peas and corn, tarted up with a mustard vinaigrette, and enriched by an oozing soft-boiled egg. Cocktails include both classics and innovative potions like the Lionel Hutz (named for the Simpsons barrister and recovering alcoholic), a bourbon and sweet-tea refresher mixed with a complex infused lemonade. Although there's only a small selection of desserts, they're hardly afterthoughts: along with beignets and a pecan praline sundae, there's a mildly sweet pear cobbler, the fruit lightly poached in tea with a thick gingerbread crust meant to be broken and drenched in warm sorghum cream. It should be fun to watch Steuer—who actually comes from Charleston—carry things forward. Read the full review >>

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa, AmEx, Discover

Bar Details

Crowds steadily pack in around communal tables and high-tops smack up against the open kitchen and long bar at this low-country-style restaurant, where cocktails include classics as well as innovative potions like the Lionel Hutz (named for the Simpsons barrister and recovering alcoholic), a bourbon and sweet-tea refresher mixed with a complex infused lemonade. —Mike Sula

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