Friday, April 27, 2012

Goose Island

Location: 1800 N Clybourn
Cost: About $18 per person

My history with Goose Island goes way back. I remember going on the brewery tour 4 years ago with a whole bunch of my college buddies, and I would've never imagined living right across the street. Since then, I've gone on the tour a good 5 times and spent countless nights trying some new selections on tap before calling it quits. Oddly enough, I'd never really gone for the food. I mean, I tried a bunch of their wings at Wingfest last year, so I knew things in the kitchen were good, but I just hadn't gotten around to ordering in house. The other weekend it was Ricky's birthday, and he decided to have our group of 20+ friends get a long table over at the brewpub. Then, the next day, I came back for lunch and drinks with my dad, Bobby, Noam, Josh, and Matt after getting our tuxes fitted for the upcoming wedding.

It's hard not to like the setup at Goose Island in Lincoln Park. They've got a bunch of seating options between the quieter front dining room, the basement of sorts, and the variety of tables surrounding the bar. The bar area is my preference, but it's sometimes a bit crowded and tough to get a seat at. There has been an occasional time where I've had to wait maybe 15 minutes, but it's a rare occurrence. If you're really worried about it, they take reservations. Also, if you drive, they have plenty of parking.

The servers are great. Since the beer menu is changing all the time, they really have to be on their A game. I've even had a bunch of visits from Chef Travis when the place slows down a bit. The cost is what I'd expect to pay with most entrees in the $12 range. The portions are large too. Still, I usually fill up and spend more money on beer.

Note: Goose Island was sold to Anheuser Busch InBev a little while ago. I've been worried ever since that my beloved brewpub would undergo some changes for the worse. Until this last time, nothing had happened. Many of my friends ordered the popular 312 for their beer choice and were brought out cans. The beer has recently been offered in cans, and the brewpub no longer has the draft option. Considering that tons of other Chicago bars have it on draft, this was just completely unacceptable and must be changed. To make matters worse, there was not a consistency to being served the can. Some people got glasses, others didn't. Sometimes the can was poured for us and other times not. It was very disappointing.

The Food
So I'm going to slap together my experiences and first describe all of the appetizers ordered between the two. That weekend I tried out the Malted Sea Salt Wort Bread, the Duck Poutine, the Oysters Rockefeller, the Onion Rings, and the Sriracha Wings. The bread came with this bacon jam and honey butter which were really the stars. The poutine was excellent with crunchy fries, a rich, creamy cheese sauce, savory strips of duck, and some fresh chives. The oysters were served warm with bits of bacon and plenty of parmesan. The onion rings did a nice job of not separating from their breading. They've got this interesting curried ketchup on the side too. The wings are some of my favorites. They've got a non-traditional spicy kick with a horseradish aftertaste.

The Duck Poutine

The Sriracha Chicken Wings

 The Oysters Rockefeller

As far as entrees go, I got to sink my teeth into some of the Duck Reuben, Mac N' Cheese, Lamb Burger, Black Earth Burger, Veggie Burger, and Oyster Po' Boy. The reuben was really accentuated by the cherry sauerkraut on top. The house ground mustard was a nice touch as well. The mac was pretty good with a small pile of arugula on top and some wild mushrooms mixed in. It was very creamy, and I think may have been too rich for the people who ordered it as their main course. The lamb burger and black earth burger were cooked to perfection and had really intriguing flavor profiles. The veggie burger served its purpose for some of our lighter eaters. The po' boy came covered in a creamy remoulade and some crunch pickled onions. There was a good oyster to bread ratio too.

The Lamb Burger

The Black Earth Burger

The Mac N' Cheese

The Veggie Burger
(Sky cam brought to you by Lisa Weitzman) 

The Oyster Po' Boy

 The Duck Reuben

Goose Island is one of my favorite bars and just so happens to be the most accessible to my apartment. The staff really go out of their way to make me feel at home every time I step foot inside. The beers would be enough, but the food stands on it's own as well. I've tried a huge portion of the menu and still have some dishes I'm dying to get a bite of. I'm giving them 4 out of 5 Pearls.

I'd just like to extend an extra thanks to both Austin and Chef Travis for all of their hospitality over the past few years.
Goose Island Clybourn on Urbanspoon


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