One of my favorite favorite restaurants in Chicago is Longman & Eagle in Logan Square. It's a gastropub and I know what you are thinking Chicago is full of gastropub so what's so special about this one. The difference is that they actually fulfill on both fronts - great drinks and great food. Maybe it was also that we came during a warm autumn night and got to sit outside and ate and drank to our heart's content, but I think the company that you're with can definitely make the food association that much greater and of course I was with Susan and Aleen.
They had a bunch of interesting small plate options so we couldn't narrow it down so we got three to share. This was the Ricotta Gnuddi with Asian Pear Black Walnut Jam, Butternut Squash Veloute and Brown Butter Sage Emulsion. Basically imagine a ricotta gnocchi that is fried and you get the picture. Yum is right.
I know some of my friends would by grossed out by roasted marrow bones but you can't knock it till you try it. I have to say that I grew up in a korean household where my grandmother would make bone marrow soup in regular rotation so I knew that it creates a milky, flavorful soup but I never thought you could roast it and actually eat the marrow. Slathered on sourghdough bread and topped with red onion jam and a little bit of sea salt, I don't know how it can get better than that. It's delicious if you haven't tried it and I think L&E's version is perfect.
We also tried the Slagel Family Farms Meatballs with Creamy Polenta, Parsley Pesto and Fonduta. I think this was my least favorite of the appetizers but still pretty good nonetheless.
Now for our entrees. I know, we eat a lot. :) This was the Slagel Family Farms Burger on Brioche with Aged Windmer's Cheddar and Neuske's Bacon and yes, Beef Fat Fries. I've had duck fat fries but not beef fat and it sounds so wrong, but its so right. This was Aleen's dish and I kept on stealing her fries.
Susan's pick was the pork belly porchetta with corn-bacon risotto, peach-heirloom tomato relish, pea vines and smoked paprika oil. I think what's impressive about L&E is that their dishes are often something you could easily see and pay double for at a fancy, upscale restaurant but you get the same amazing dishes but at this homey, neighborhood bar. These are the things I dearly miss about Chicago. Pork belly, corn-bacon risotto ... enough said.
For my pick, since we were doing a pork and beef dish, I wanted to try something different so I went with their vegetarian option. It goes again my nature, particularly in Chicago where I was brainwashed to eat anything and everything pork related, but it sounded interesting enough. I cannot rave enough about this dish. I literally could not stop nibbling and getting bored of it. Who knew a plate of cauliflower, lentils and raisins would catch my fancy but it did. It's not the most pretty dish and if you read the menu descriptions, it doesn't quite make sense but every mouthful is like a new discovery of different flavors and textures and it's makes me think I can become vegetarian if only everything tasted like this. I know it's hard to see but it consists of Slow Roasted Cauliflower, Beluga Lentils, Caramelized Onion, Golden Raisins, Pickled Mango and Cucumber Raita.
I think by this point, all the food and drinks were about to make us explode but when you have food this good, you know their dessert is going to knock it out of the park too so we made just a little more room in our tummies to try their warm gruyere donuts. Particularly if you like salty and sweet, you are going to love this dessert. The gruyere donuts came with "Blis" Maple Syrup, Rasped Parmesan, Roasted Hazelnut and Whipped Citrus Goat Cheese. omg is right.
I no longer live in Chicago and it's seriously places like this that I miss so much. I never thought I'd become such a Chicago food fan but I've become a believer. I hope I can pay a visit next time I'm in town.
Longman & Eagle
2657 N Kedzie Ave
(between Milwaukee Ave & Schubert Ave)
Chicago, IL 60647