The Bronzeville neighborhood is buzzing with the arrival of a new restaurant, unlike anything in the neighborhood. It’s a place for good wine, creative cocktails and a menu with something for everyone.
NBC 5's Food Guy Steve Dolinsky says it’s no surprise the neighbors have embraced it.
While the excellent Honey One has its ribs, tips and links just up the street, now South Cottage Grove has an option for wine geeks, food fans and most importantly, a place for the community to gather and celebrate.
Is it the colorful, creative cocktails? Maybe it’s the bowl of finely-sliced fried sweet potato ribbons gracing nearly every table.
“We really wanted to make sure there was a beautiful row of black businesses located on Cottage Grove Avenue,” said co-owner Cecilia Cuff.
So for every wagyu beef burger with comte cheese, onions and black truffle aioli, there’s also a vegetarian counterpoint, like fried Brussels sprouts in a sesame glaze, crowned with chili threads. It’s a constant dilemma for the owners.
"How do we have a mostly vegan menu that doesn’t feel like a vegan menu or that isn’t an afterthought?" Cuff said.
That’s why you’ll see a thick watermelon steak on the menu. A block of the fruit is seared hard, tossed with fresh garlic and thyme, as well as mushrooms, then served over a vegan feta with a bit of romesco sauce, surrounded by a honeydew vinaigrette.
Salmon is also seared with garlic and thyme, but these Ora King filets are plated with smoked trout roe and earthy king trumpet mushrooms. A Japanese accent comes from the wispy bonito flakes made from smoked and dried tuna, as well as the dashi poured tableside.
There’s a wine club too, though you could just order a glass of something unique from their thoughtful, compact list.
“We really wanted to be able to celebrate a different type of wine experience," said Cuff. "Being able to get people to push a little bit outside of their boundaries. We’ve got a great preservation that will allow you to have a $200 bottle of wine but only try a glass."
Here's where you can go:
4420 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
“I wanted to make sure the diners from this neighborhood were able to have an experience that you would have in the West Loop or Michigan Avenue or anywhere in the world where you can dress up, come together, celebrate and really be able to use the opportunity to eat something delicious, maybe something that you haven’t tried before.”