Saturday, October 24, 2015
River Roast, to be one of the most uninteresting names they could come up with. Since it has opened, I had heard a lot of good things about the food, and I had had several of Chef John Hogan's Terrines at various benefits which were really good, but I just couldn't get past the name. The restaurant is located on the north side of the Chicago River, and in fact, has a great patio view of the river. While the entrance of the restaurant is at street level (obviously) the dining room is downstairs at river level. We were not on the patio, but we were at a table inside that overlooked the patio. The wall facing the patio was all glass and looked like it could be opened on warm days (The day on which we visited was definitely not warm, but there were still a few brave souls sitting on the patio). Our table, like many of the tables in the place was a 4 top hi top and while we did manage, it was really too small for the amount of food that we ordered. It could have folded out to make a bigger table, but as I said, we managed. While Chef Hogan is known for his charcuterie, we started things out with a couple of things that were definitely not charcuterie, a Scotch Egg with Pickled Red Onions and Pickled Mustard Seed, and Shrimp and Crab Toast. I really like Scotch Eggs and this one was done exceptionally well. It starts with a boiled egg, this one was soft boiled. It is then wrapped in sausage, breaded and fried. It has a crispy crust with well cooked sausage and a flavorful egg in the middle. The mustard and onions added some tartness to the dish which was very much enjoyed. The Shrimp and Crab Toast was a mixture of finely chopped shrimp and crab with Avocado served on some nice crispy wedges of toast.
For our next selections, we went with Golden Gobbets, which were Crispy Fried Chicken Nuggets served with Honey, and Hogan's Charcuterie, which was the Chef's choice of Charcuterie. The Golden Gobbets were served in a square basket lined with kraft paper (I imagine to soak up the extra grease) which sat on a board with a jar of golden honey. They were crispy and tender, and had a great fried chicken flavor that had sweetness added when the honey was added. The chicken was very good, so the honey was really unnecessary, but it did add to it when used lightly. The charcuterie plate was a thing of beauty. It contained 5 "cuts" of meat, Breseola, a dried and salted beef sausage, Head Cheese, a terrine containing scraps from the head of a calf or pig and set in aspic, a Pheasant Terrine, a Duck and Fig Terrine, and Pickled Veal Tongue. In adition, it was served with Toasted Bread, Cranberries, Cornichons, and two types of mustard. It was great. The meats had a variety of flavors and textures and were good with or without the accompaniments.
While I really liked dinner here, the food was great, as was the service and the great view, if I were to return here, I would make sure to have someone with me because their food is made for sharing and for the most part, it really isn't conducive to dining alone.