Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bread and Wine

Location: 3732 W Irving Park
Cost: About $35 per person

My friend Phil Jacobson (the pride and joy of Buffalo Grove) had recently decided to take his musical talents from South Beach to the mean streets of Chicago. A few weeks ago he released his new EP, "Love Right Now," and had a performance at the Abbey Pub to celebrate. Accordingly, this meant a huge showing from the neighborhood. Before the gig The Ockrims, The Finkles, and my parents went out to dinner. Lucky for us, Noam was in town and joined in too. My dad picked out a place down the road for us to try, Bread and Wine.

Bread and Wine stands alone with its own little parking lot in Irving Park. It used to be a laundromat, but they did a number on the interior. We sat at one long communal table opposite the room from the bar. It was dimly lit and quiet... until we got there. We had a reservation, and otherwise we would've had quite the wait.

We had too many people with different tastes to make for an enjoyable ordering experience at this small plate restaurant. Still, our waitress was patient and helped clarify how much food would be appropriate. The portions weren't too small, but with so many people to share between, some of the more popular items became a territorial battle. Most small plates were around $10 while the larger plates were closer to $20.

The Food
We ran the table on most of the menu, but I was only able to get so many shots before annoying the crap out of everyone. So I'll give you the highlights. We started with a bunch of cheese and charcuterie. My favorite items in that category were the Chicken Liver Pate and the Kielbasa. We also had some french fries, Scallop Crudo, and Lamb Liver and Goat Pate for appetizers. The fries were extra "herby" in a good way. The scallop dish was a bit strong on the acid. Surprisingly, I didn't enjoy the lamb and goat pate. It was much tougher than I would've liked and was just missing the creamy richness I was hoping for.

The Goat and Lamb Pate

The French Fries

 The Scallop Crudo

 The Charcuterie Plate

I got to sink my teeth into the Flank Steak and the Lamb Head Tortellini as far as large plates go. Universally the tortellini was disliked. It was really salty and otherwise not that flavorful. The steak was on the rarer side which went over well with my end of the table. The meat was simple and tender. The problem was the semolina gnocchi on the side. It again hit the one note of salt.

The Lamb Head Tortelline

 The Flank Steak

I should mention that we were also celebrating Miss Debbie's birthday. They brought out some dessert and candles, and my dad did enough singing to give the staff a break.

The Birthday Girl

After trying a whole bunch of the menu at Bread and Wine, I wasn't sold on coming back. It wasn't that any egregious mistakes were made, it's just that there weren't any dishes that I was really excited or impressed by. I'm giving them 2 out of 5 Pearls.

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