It is no understatement that restaurant openings in Chicago have become as popular as kale caesar salads at steak houses. Fact. Any menu item with kale in the title means healthy, even if it also has creamed in the title.
The level of anxiety one can develop over keeping up with the Chicago food scene is intimidating, however, they make medication for that, so take a deep breath and shoot the oyster.
I immediately fell in love with the dimly lit, hipster filled new kid on the block, Charlatan. Recently opened by the Three Aces team in the former West Town Tavern space, this cozy slice of Chicago Avenue is the perfect place to forget your troubles during the dark days of winter. After all, nothing says February like a few rounds of classic cocktails and a bowl of creamy polenta with duck egg. Oh yeah, that happened.
The days of complimentary bread are over, outside of restaurants in strip malls, and so we have accepted it and come to hold our bread to a higher standard. Let me just state, that the daily focaccia at Charlatan is a reason to make it a destination, but the roasted garlic butter is a reason to pay rent there. When we asked our cute and notably pierced waitress to bring us some more bread to dip, yes dip, in the butter, She gave us a cool wink like she understood us. My two fellow diners and I appreciated that.
This is what you need to get:
Black Kale Spaghettini
Like an adult version of buttered noodles, this pasta is perfectly coated with kale and walnut pesto, pumpkin chips and hard blue cheese. Shwing.
The cocktails, like everything else, are cute and whimsical. Try a few and you will also feel cute and whimsical.
Yes, there are other things in it besides duck egg, but we swear, we felt like Goldilocks’ wealthy cousin eating the food porn version of her porridge.
There were too few of us to get it, but we saw a preview at our next door neighbors’ table and we made a future reservation for six on our way out.