Although it's been around for a decade, I had never stepped foot in Hubbard Inn ( 110 W. Hubbard St.; www.hubbardinn.com/ ), a European-influenced restaurant in Chicago's River North neighborhood.
It certainly won't be another 10 years before I return, as this place has too many intriguing bits to miss.
Start with the decor, which is a hodgepodge of various influences, thanks to Western European-themed paintings to Moroccan lamps to steampunk touches to drink menus on the walls that use the same font utilized in the TV show American Horror Story. ( The music was also eclectic, with The Fugees and Mark Knopfler in the mix. ) There's also a space in the back of the first floor that resembles a really cool libary. ( The second floor was off-limits, as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuelwith security detailand 1st Ward Ald. Proco Joe Moreno were holding a get-together of sorts. )
However, Hubbard Inn also has culinary and drink attractions. The Martha's Vineyard is an intoxicating ( pun intended ) mix of Tito's vodka, blueberry lemongrass, peach liqueur, otto's dream, sauvignon blanc and lemon. Other options include items such as the Black Cat Blue ( Bombay dry, lemon, blackberries and egg whites ) and the classics ( like the Moscow Mule, Corpse Reviver and the Aviation ).
With the food, Chef Jason Hedin ( who also helms nearby Joy District ) concocts dishes that can be gustatory challengesin a good way. The seasonal flatbread contains elotes, charred corn and brown-butter emolsion, with seasoned popcorn. However, the most unique option had to be the foie-gras sundae that was accompanied by peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. ( The manchego croquettes are not exotic, but were undeniably delicious. )
As for the entrees, the tandoori chicken was wonderfully tasty ( and with a most unique presentation, with the bird covered with charred red onion ). My dining partner wasn't too keen on her lamb loinwith one problem being that the server didn't ask her how she wanted it looked. But that was the only blip on a wonderful night.
'Taste of Andersonville'coming up Aug. 15
The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce will welcome guests on a dining tour of Andersonville's robust restaurant district during the annual Taste of Andersonville on Wed., Aug. 15, 6-9 p.m. ( Check-in starts at 4 p.m. at the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St. )
The event has expanded this year to three routes in order to accommodate increased participation from area restaurants and businesses, as well as diversified menu offerings, with each route highlighting dinner, dessert, and drink options. Tickets are available online now for three curated routesFORK, KNIFE and SPOONeach featuring 12 small plate stops. Guests can also select THE WORKS ticket, allowing dining access to two routes of their choice.
Just a few of this year's participating spots include FORK's Candyality, FRIO Gelato, Lady Gregory's and Simon's Tavern; KNIFE's Bar Roma, The Wooden Spoon and Reza's; and SPOON's Octavio Cantina and Kitchen, Appellation and First Slice Pie Cafe.
All routes will feature vegetarian-friendly options. Routes, participating restaurants and menu items are subject to change.
Tickets can be purchased online at andersonville.org until Aug, 15 at noon. If available, additional day-of tickets will be sold starting at 4 p.m. at the Swedish American Museum.
Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.