Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bar Pastoral

Location: 2947 N Broadway
Cost: About $40 per person

Being on a winter staycation and all, I took a day to hang with Ka downtown. I was all excited about our plans to go ice skating, but the rain quickly turned that into an afternoon of shopping horror. She even tried to get me a job as a doctor at the American Girl hospital. Luckily for me, the company was in good spirits and we had some catching up to do. Afterward we grabbed The Professor from work and headed north. The plan then became to find a place between the Ericas and Pam for us all to meet for dinner, and we came across Bar Pastoral.

(and the little girl Eric will never be able to replace)

Right next to a store of artisinal products, Pastoral has a cozy wine bar that was bustling on what turned out to be a cold and rainy winter night. They've got a dozen seats at the bar and a bunch of small tables in a dimly lit room. They take diners on a first come basis and our party filled out before a few other groups of four, just in time to get the last large table.

The bartender was entertaining while we waited and did not lead us astray as far as our wine selections went. The waitress made sure to point out which framed pictures on the wall corresponded to the animals who'd made the cheeses on our plate. On top of her humor she was efficient. Most of our bottles of wine were in the $40-$50 range, and the small plates were around $10 each.

The Food
The menu is split up into a cheeses, meats, and then a variety of plates to be shared based on size. We started with one of the "small" items, the Beet Salad. There were plenty of golden and purple beets with endive in between all covered in a long named dressing that ended in vinaigrette. The dish was a little bland overall and if anything too peppery.

The Beet Salad

Up next was the homemade Chicken Liver Mousse topped with beet jelly and served with a side of butter pickles. It was straight up unctuous, and the sweetness of the beets rang true this time.

 The Chicken Liver Mousse

After that came our cheese platter. With a highlight specialty from Champaign, a goat from Vermont, a French Blue, and a Gouda from Holland, it was a very strong showing. The accoutrements went well too. The fudge and blue cheese was probably my favorite combo.

 The Cheese Platter

Lastly we had the Duck Leg Confit, one of the "Not So Small" items. I think the meat started to come off the bone when I bumped the table reaching for my fork. The crispy lentils on the side were a waste of space on the plate, providing a crunch with no flavor but proving difficult to eat. I was hoping the squash and the apple would've provided the sweetness you usually get on the side with a leg of duck, but they were a bit bland.

 The Duck Leg Confit

Between the wine selection and the snacks that were more than substantial enough to make a meal, we were all pleased with Bar Pastoral. They performed well on duck and chicken liver, two of my favorite items, and although cheese makes up a significant proportion of my diet already, there's always room for a little more in an upscale presentation. I'm giving them 4 out of 5 Pearls.

Bar Pastoral on Urbanspoon