My birthday was recently and it has become a tradition for me to treat myself to something special for my birthday (if not precisely on my birthday). This year, I went to Gilt Bar. Located across the street from Merchandise Mart and located by Chicago's first bike lane, it still doesn't appear to be in an area with a lot of foot traffic. Having said that, it still seems to be enormously popular. I went during the week at an early time and it was still pretty busy. I walked into a very dark room which shouldn't have surprised me because the exterior is black. The interior was lit by Edison lamps and the walls, chairs, and banquettes were mostly black. Looking at the walls and ceiling, it appeared that they were weathered and some of the black was faded. The menu consisted of classic dishes and cocktails so I'm going to guess that they were going for a vintage feel in a vintage space. I decided to start things off with a classic cocktail, a Gin Daisy. This drink is floral, sour, and an early incarnation of the Cosmopolitan. I do however think that I like this better than a Cosmo. There was a lot on the menu that looked interesting, ordering the drink first gave me time to decide what I wanted to eat.Steak Tenderloin Tartare with Poached Egg Yolk, Mustard, and Toast Points. The meat was ground coarsely and well-peppered. With many steak tartares, the yolk is raw. While this makes it easy to spread the yolk through the ground steak, it also can be a little on the slimy side. I preferred the poached yolk which while not hard, was definitely harder than it normal. The toast was slightly charred and was good to eat with the steak tartare and egg. I like steak tartare and this was a very good version.
My next course, a vegetable course, was Roasted Broccoli with Pecorino Cheese, Red Pepper, and Lemon. This was very good. The broccoli was very fresh and crisp, with a little char on the florets. It was also very lemony with a lemon wedge included to add more lemon juice it desired and the Pecorino added a cheesy flavor that tied everything together.
For my entree, I went with Roasted Pork Belly, Pickled Shallots, and Lentils. The pork belly was fatty as might be expected and really, really good. It was all very good and flavorful and I really enjoyed it.
With the size of the courses, I was slightly full when I got to dessert. I still wanted dessert, but I decided to stay a little on the lighter side (if not necessarily light). I went with an Apple Cake with Caramel, Short Bread, and Vanilla Ice Cream. It was simple, classic, sweet, and a nice finish to a very good dinner. I enjoyed my dinner there, and the service was good, although I might have preferred a seat where I didn't have the possibility of becoming involved in someone else's life.