Sunday, February 5, 2012
As you might be able to tell, while I do have some restaurant favorites, I like to try places that I haven't been to. I also like to try dishes that I have never tried before even if they contain things that I don't particularly like. To that end, I did both by going to the new neighborhood Wine Bar, Telegraph. This could have potentially ended up badly but it would have been my own fault. Before I talk about the food though, I will talk about the restaurant. It is located right on Logan Square and has a glass front wall. While there are lights in the restaurant, they are dim, vintage, hanging lights and don't really put out much light. The fact that the floor, bar, and furniture are black doesn't help. It seems that a lot of the light in the room comes from the street lights in the square which is convenient because it is a pretty small space with tables seating 20 and the bar seating 15. On the walls, are several vintage photographs ( or photographic prints) showing images from Chicago around the turn of the 20th century. As I mentioned, this is a Wine Bar but it is kind of unusual because the wines that they serve are not your typical wines. There were no American wines and only a few French wines served by the glass. The wines are from the rest of Europe including wines from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and Hungary. The wine that I had was a Simcic, Rebula, Goriska Brda from Slovenia. It was a dry white with flavors of pumpkin and sesame. When I was drinking my wine, my challenging dinner started to arrive. My appetizer was a Berkshire Farm Pork Loin Tartine with Whipped Feta Cheese, Seedling Farms Bosc Pears, and a Juniper Vinaigrette. It really looked good when it came out but I am not a big fan of pears so I wasn't sure. The pork was thinly sliced and tender, the whipped goat cheese was creamy and added a nice tartness to it. The bread on which everything was served was grilled and pretty thick. The juniper vinaigrette was light but it did add a nice juniper flavor to it and it was obvios that the pears were very fresh. It all tasted good but admittedly, I was not crazy about the texture of the pears but I will not blame the chef because I knew that I really didn't like pears. Other than the texture of the pears, it was pretty good and it got me ready for my next challenge.My entree contained sweetbreads, specifically veal sweetbreads that were breaded and fried crispy. With the crispy veal sweetbreads were sunchokes, leeks, and a cherry puree. I had never had sweetbreads before and the idea of eating organ meat (specifically thymus glands) made me a little leary. I figured though, that anything deep fried is good so i decided to try it out. It was all good. The sweetbreads actually reminded me of KFC. They were both crispy and chewy and the minerally flavor that you might expect from organ meats was actually pretty mild. The vegetables were a good match and the cherry puree actually had whole cherries. It was actually a lot better than I expected.
Dessert was easy. There really wasn't anything on the menu that was really that challenging and it all looked pretty good. I decided to go with a variation on a favorite. I got a Sunflower Seed and Coconut Cheesecake with Lemon Curd, Whipped Cream, and Toasted Brown Sugar that was paired with a 1/2 pour of Mort Subite Blanche Lambic. I really like cheesecake and with the pairing, I was tasting a lot of pumpkin, lemon, and peaches. The toasted brown sugar added kind of a pumpkin pie flavor and what goes with pumpkin pie but whipped cream. It was very good and it was a good way to end the meal.
Even though the room was dark, I did enjoy the place. The people were friendly, the wine and food were unusual, and it's close to where I live so it gives me another pretty good choice when I want to dine in the neighborhood.