Our first night in the windy city and the sun shone making it the perfect evening to spend catching up over a delicious meal in beautiful surroundings. The Bristol delivered in spades offering honest, hearty but stylish food and speedy service.
Nestled on the edge of Bucktown this little restaurant is one to add to the must do list. On a balmy evening with their French windows flung wide onto the street, The Bristol is a lovely spot to mull over a cocktail and sample some local produce.
With sourcing credentials aplenty (they’re sketched onto the walls should you forget), the menu abounds with scrummy sounding dishes. So much so that we couldn’t quite decide what to have… a common problem I’m finding. So, in the end we ordered a number of starters to share.
Maybe we should have taken the hint when the waitress’ eyes widened with each dish that possibly, just maybe, we were ordering too much. In any case, we didn’t!
Before the stream of food began to arrive, I had a moment to appreciate one of the most delicious cocktails I have had in quite some time. St. Germain always wins me over anyway but this little number mixed with Grey goose la poire, white grape juice and lemon sour hit the elusive balance between sweet and tart – delicious.
The chicken liver mousse arrived first. It’s hard not to love a good liver mouse, one that really packs a punch in the way this one did. The blueberry onion jam was similarly sensational and a refreshing new version of fruity chutney.
Heritage carrots with whipped stracchino cheese and golden raisins was an altogether different delight – much more delicate and charming but tasty in its own way. The slender sweet roasted carrots were great, and the nuts added a well-considered crunch.
The only slightly mute note was the country pâté with pistachio and burnt peach which was less flavoursome than you would first expect but any void of flavour was wholly filled by the duck fat fries, b-57 ketchup and garlic aioli. These chips were pretty special. They arrived spilling out of a sizeable basket topped with little nuggets of zest and salt and disappeared all too quickly.
All in all The Bristol was a fabulous inaugural dinner. I’m only sad we couldn’t make it back this flying visit. I hear the brunch is wonderful and I would be very keen to try. I fell a little bit in love with Chicago so I’m confident there will be a next time, the only question is when.