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Wine bar from the people behind the Bluebird and Webster's Wine Bar.

Our Review

I have no doubt of the future success of this wine bar from the owners of Lincoln Park's enduring Webster's and Bucktown's the Bluebird. As with drinkers in more lakeward zip codes, square-dwellers of today surely have adopted the kind of willful stubbornness necessary to overlook listed wine prices that are, in some cases, more than double their retail cost. And the selection from sommelier Jeremy Quinn is thoughtful, occasionally fascinating, and pretty varied for a strictly old world list, split between newer and older vintages, including a sparky rosé from the Loire for $40 at the bottom end and a $360 magnum of 1994 Bordeaux at the top. What makes those prices easier to swallow is the interesting, spare menu from former Avec sous chef John Anderes. A melty ham and sheep's-milk cheese with coriander mustard and pickled chard stems stands out among the four tartines, as does a pair of squash blossoms atop a shit-on-a-shingle-style runny (but tasty) cannellini bean puree. There's a ballsy percentage of fairly adventurous dishes for such a small menu, including a bowl of bucatini tossed with crisp sweetbread nuggets delicately dressed with a sweet-and-sour rhubarb sauce, a plate of dainty cinnamon-scented seared frog legs that hits your nose before it hits the table, and meaty medium-rare slices of lamb saddle paired with plump, tiny, sweet warm oysters in a light ginger sauce. But it's really Anderes's simplest plates that win me over. A salmon fillet with black-rice pilaf and a piece of sturgeon with roasted beets and some superfluous bacon jerky are among the best dishes on the menu. Anderes's grilled chicken is bursting with juices, topped with deep-fried lemon wedges and bitter rapini, and sauced with a fruity glaze that reminds me in the best way of the oven-barbecued chicken of my youth. Read the full review >>

Mike Sula

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

Bar Details

I have no doubt of the future success of this wine bar from the owners of Lincoln Park's enduring Webster's and Bucktown's the Bluebird. As with drinkers in more lakeward zip codes, square-dwellers of today surely have adopted the kind of willful stubbornness necessary to overlook listed wine prices that are, in some cases, more than double their retail cost. And the selection from sommelier Jeremy Quinn is thoughtful, occasionally fascinating, and pretty varied for a strictly Old World list, split between newer and older vintages, including a sparky rose from the Loire for $40 at the bottom end and a $360 magnum of 1994 Bordeaux at the top. —Mike Sula

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