Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fountainhead - Blunch

About once a month, I find myself in the Ravenswood area of Chicago around brunch time.  The goto place when I am there is generally Glenn's Diner.  When I was in the area recently though, Glenn's was very busy.  While we could have gotten in eventually, it would have been an extended wait.  While we do like Glenn's, it didn't make sense to wait for an extended period when there were other choices in the area.  We decided to go to Fountainhead, a place just down the street from Glenn's that is known as one of the great beer bars in Chicago.  They have always had food of a sort, but the emphasis of the place had been on the beer until relatively recently.  They recently (within the last year) employed talented chef, Cleetus Friedman, who upped their food game.  I had had Chef Cleetus's food before and I was excited to see what he had done at Fountainhead.  Located on a corner, Fountainhead is in a single story white brick building with brown awnings and a fountain head symbol for a sign above the door, which is at the corner of the building.  The interior of the restaurant is large and open with a high unfinished ceiling.  The interior features a lot of heavy, dark wood which kind of reminded me of what a trading post in the mountains of Canada might look like.  At the same time, there were several vintage French liquor posters framed and hanging on the wall.  The bar and the shelf behind it were also done in dark, heavy wood, but they also had a vintage look to them.  There were a couple of large tables and several smaller tables on the floor with about 10 - 6 person booths lining the exterior of the dining room.  The beer list, which could be found at every table, was in a large leather-bound book which matched the size of many wine lists at fine restaurants known for their wine.  The beers were broken down by style and there was a slight description for most of the beers they were serving.  Admittedly, the beer list was augmented in size with the addition of the wine and cocktail list, but it would have been impressive, even without them.  Fountainhead doesn't actually call their brunch "brunch", they call it blunch instead which is supposed to be lunch with breakfast.  As such, their menu falls on the savory and more hearty side of things.  They do however, have a pretty good selection of vegetarian items which was good because I was dining with a couple of vegetarians.  I started things off with what was called a Jar of Pickled Things.  I like pickled things so I was interested to see what was contained in this jar.  As one might expect, there were Pickles (pickled cucumbers) which were crisp, and sour, and very good, but there were also Brussels Sprouts, Radishes, and Potatoes.  Of these, I liked the radish best.  It was crisp, fresh tasting and sour with the spicy finish that radishes have.  The potato, while it wasn't bad, was a little odd and unusual.  It was also slightly sour as a pickled potato might be expected to be and had a light earthy flavor as a potato.  It was also crisp (although not as crisp as the radish) and had the mildly gritty texture of a raw potato.  I prefer my potatoes cooked and with a softer texture.  The only reason a potato should be crisp is if the outside was fried crisp.  It didn't taste bad, it was just a little odd, and I would probably prefer not to have it again.  The brussels sprouts were sour and tasted fresh and good, but they were a bit tough and it took a bit of effort to stab it with a fork.  The dish was good and it was interesting to try vegetables other than the standard cucumber, beet, and carrot, but I don't know if I would pick any of these vegetables (other than the pickled cucumbers) on their own.

For my main dish, I stuck with a vegetarian dish, not because I was trying to eat vegetarian, but simply because it sounded really good.  I went with a Breakfast Burrito because I really like breakfast burritos and this sounded really good despite not having any meat.  It was a soft Corn Tortilla filled with Eggs, Potatoes, Cheese, and Onions served with a spicy Aioli on top, and more Fried Potatoes, Arugula,  Potatoes, Arugula, and Cleetus Heatus Salsa on the side.  This was a very good burrito and one that was so good that the meat was not missed.

Blunch at Fountainhead was very good.  The space was both rustic and vintage and had a homey feel to it.  The service was good as was the food.  It was a very good change of pace from Glenn's and I will keep it in mind when I am up in the area again around brunch time.  

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