Monday, July 4, 2011
There are several negative things that I could say about Watershed. First, it's kind of hard to find. Located in the old Tree Studios in the basement of Pops for Champagne (and a few doors down from Grahamwich), there is one sign on the window to let you know that you are in the right place and unless you know where you are going, it's best to be directed to the entrance. Another negative is that it is really too dark to shoot any pictures without a flash. While I did try to shoot some pictures, because of the low light, I ended up with silhouettes that looked largely the same and so were pointless to post. Having said that, one may get the impression that I disliked Watershed. This is not the case at all. Despite these negatives, it is a place that deserves several visits. The name comes from the fact that everything served at The Watershed, with the exception of some small batch whiskies, everything was produced in states bordering the great lakes, and most prominently, Lake Michigan. The walls are cut stone and the decor has a retro basement rec room feel. There is also a map of the Great Lakes on one wall. The playlist was very cool. Most of the playlist could be described as mellow indie rock but there was also some vintage country thrown in occasionally. The playlist is apparently on Itunes and if you have an Iphone, there is an app that allows you to check out the playlist and make requests. It's a place that would be nice just to hang at. The food is fairly simple and is served in a small plate style. As it shares a kitchen with Pops for Champagne, the menu is very similar but in addition to the Bites, Entrees, and Desserts that Pops offers, it also has a Cheese list and a Charcuterie list. While I didn't try any bites, I did try a little of everything else. I started with a Founder's Cerise Cherry Ale. I decided to more or less keep with a theme of fruit for the evening. I ordered two cheeses and one charcuterie. My cheese were both blue. One was a triple cream which was incredible and the other contained ginger and sesame. My charcuterie was a Finnochetta which was a sweet dry sausage. These were all served on the same plate with sweet and sour pickles, apricot puree, and a course ground mustard. It was served with flat bread on the side. My next plate was a Boar & Duck Paté with wild blueberry, pistachio, orange-grapefruit marmalade, and a small watercress salad with vinaigrette. This was served with several slices of baguette. This was also very good. My next dish, I probably wouldn't order again. It was the Lamb Belly Confit served with pumpernickel croutons, baba ghanouj, and sheep's milk yogurt. Lamb has a bit of a strong flavor and the confit seemed to enhance it. The outer layer also seemed a bit stiff. I could have stopped there but there was dessert still to be tried. I got a Rhubarb Panna Cotta with a Strawberry Gelee werved with mint and a topping of crushed almonds. It went well with the beer and ended the dinner on a high note. I really enjoyed my time here and could see it as a regular stopping off point when I am in River North.