Bavette's Bar & Boeuf | River North | Steaks/Lobster, Bar/Lounge, Craft Cocktails, Swanky Bar | Restaurant
Steak house from Brendan Sodikoff.

Our Review

Bavette isn't the name of some comely, salty-tongued mademoiselle Brendan Sodikoff encountered in Intro to French Lit, but the word for flank steak en francais. Still, the restaurant to some degree replicates the belle epoque vibe of Sodikoff's Maude's Liquor Bar, with similarities to his Gilt Bar and Au Cheval as well. Traces of the latter's absurd and wonderful excesses are particularly apparent. Take the "meatball and pasta": long tendrils of toothy noodles nesting a softball-size pork meatball—it's a consummate Au Cheval-ball. As at Gilt and Maude's, Sodikoff's kitchen here is led by Alinea vet Jeff Pikus, whose appetizers, salads, entrees, and sides are such well-executed improvements of steak-house archetypes it seems a waste to give away digestive real estate to relatively mundane slabs of beef. This is first evident with the bread service—I can't think of any better than the thick slices of hearty sourdough batards that Bavette's serves up gratis. Jacketed in ivory fat, a cognac-spiked foie gras terrine is every bit as good as Maude's devastating foie torchon. A wide-ranging array of entrees apart from the steaks seems designed to distract from trophy meat too: there's a burger and a shaved prime beef sandwich, fried chicken and meat loaf, and a huge slab of beef tongue so tender it falls apart if you wink at it. And while the signature 24-ounce prime dry-aged rib eye is certainly a respectable piece of meat, there's nothing about it that rises above the desirability of the tongue or that meatball. As at most of Sodikoff's spots there's a better than perfunctory cocktail list, this one based on the classics. Desserts are a bit more pro forma: cheesecake, lemon meringue and chocolate cream pies, and a Gold Brick sundae. Read the full review >>

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$
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Bar Details

As at most of Brendan Sodikoff's spots (Gilt Bar, Maude's Liquor Bar, Au Cheval), there's a better than perfunctory cocktail list at this brasserie, this one based on the classics. Among them: a balanced daiquiri (Bavette's Punch); an old-fashioned with the option of rye, cognac, or bourbon; and a Sazerac featuring cognac commingled with the standard rye. There are also a half-dozen sparkling cocktails, none more pleasing than a simple glass of bubbly with a sugar cube and Angostura bitters. —Mike Sula

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