Monday, January 5, 2015

Geek Bar Beta

It had been a while since I had been out to a restaurant of note and so I had a decision for my start of the year.  Was I going to go low key or high end?  I decided that since I will undoubtedly make it to some high end restaurants, I will take it easy to start the year off and picked a low key place.  I went to Geek Bar recently to start things off.  Geek Bar is an idea that welcomes geeks of all dimensions and is now in it's Beta Version (known as Geek Bar Beta).  It is in an extended pop-up in Wicker Park until it's permanent home is open sometime this winter.  The space is narrow with the bar on one side and the dining room next to it with a projection screen at the back of the room.  The floors, wall, and ceiling are all white with some black design and bottle cap wall hangings in the image of video game characters.  It has the feel of a basement game room.  There seemed to be many games going on at many tables with people bouncing between tables.  It seems very friendly, but I would think that it might be hard to keep track of checks (which may explain why it seemed a bit on the slow side).  On the night that I went, they were playing X-Men: Days of Future Past which was luckily captioned because it was hard to hear.  It was nice to watch though while I was there.  I started things with a beer that I thought was very appropriate for the space, 8 Bit Pale Ale from Tallgrass Brewery.  I had never had this, but I really liked this.
Looking over the menu, which came in a three ring binder, it took a little while to decide what it was that I wanted, I do have to admit though that part of that was my fault because I kept on getting distracted by the movie.  I started things off with Gold Coins.  Named and modeled after Mario Brothers, they were Goat Cheese Fritters with an Arugula Salad with Eggplant Puree and Chickpea Relish modeled after a mystery square in Mario Brothers.  The fritters had a nice crispy crust with a creamy interior and a sour taste that comes with goat cheese.  The arugula salad was peppery and went well with the fritters.
For my main course, I went with Poggles in a Blanket.  Now admittedly, I really have no idea where the name came from, but they were really good.  They were Pork Belly Tacos with Tomatoes, Green Peppers, and Crispy and Melted Cheddar.  A Lime wedge was served on the side.  It was meaty, savory, and served in soft corn tortillas.
My dessert was a presentation which required a twenty minute wait.  This was fine because I had the movie to watch and I imagine, after having it presented, that it was made to order.   I got the Hellboy Souffle which was a Red Velvet Souffle topped with Raspberry Puree and Cheesecake Gelato topped with Graham Cracker Crumbs and Raspberry Pop Rocks.  This was really good.  The souffle was sweet and fluffy, with a good chocolate flavor.  The raspberry puree was sour, as might be expected, but went well with the souffle.  The gelato was creamy went well with the souffle, but it was good on it's own with the pop rock topping.  There weren't a lot of pop rocks but there were enough to provide a tingly texture for a great finish.

Despite the fact that the service was a little slower than I expected, I liked Geek Bar.  The food was good, the staff was friendly, and the atmosphere was welcoming.  I will probably return several times before it moves to it's permanent in Lincoln Park.   

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