The Bristol has been on my list for some time and after reading Chef Achatz's recommendations on where to eat in Chicago, I knew I had to go.
After having a cocktail at the Violet Hour, we headed up to The Bristol. It was super packed on a Tuesday night, but there were a couple seats available at the bar. I think sitting at the bar was probably a wise choice over the communal table as it would have been difficult to have a conversation at the latter.
I loved the daily changing chalkboard menu along the back wall. But you don't have to crane your neck or strain your eyes- you are handed the menu of the day to look over. The menu has a few regularly featured items intermixed with several dishes highlighting seasonally available ingredients: breakfast radish, snap peas, green garbanzo, stinging nettle, ramp pickle, etc.
The cocktails are grouped by estimated time to make them. For example a pisco sour takes longer to make than a Moscow mule so the time is listed as 10 minutes.
The servers were incredibly friendly and helpful. They were clearly extremely knowledgeable about food but not in a pretentious way. They seemed to really love food and wanted to share their excitement about new seasonal dishes. I would trust their recommendations.
To drink, I opted for the incredibly refreshing Moscow mule served in a traditional copper mug. I loved the ginger! I had a taste of the Pisco Sour and was instantly reminded of my travels around Peru.
We decided to start with sugar snap peas with fresh green garbanzo hummus and whipped feta with olive oil. Hello, Spring! The sugar snap peas were sweet with a delightful crunch. How often to you get to eat green garbanzo hummus? The Spring green dip was chunky, and well seasoned with lemon and garlic.
After reading the reviews, I walked into The Bristol knowing I would order the raviolo stuffed with ricotta topped with runny egg yolk in a brown butter sauce with a hint of nutmeg. After seeing the menu I was tempted to order some of the seasonal main courses but ended up sticking with the raviolo. So glad I did.
The raviolo was dangerously delicious. The rich flavors were reminiscent of a good fettuccine alfredo.
I also knew I had to order the monkey bread pull-apart. Served in a mini cast iron pot hot from the oven, the sea-salt topped slightly sweet monkey bread comes with a side of dill butter sauce. The server recommended serving the bread at the same time as my raviolo so that I could use the bread for dipping up the scrumptious sauce.
The monkey bread looked (and tasted) so good that the people next to us ordered it after seeing ours!
We ordered the chocolate sabayon with nutterbutters for dessert. Although I was quite full, the light and airy peanut butter cookie dipped into the cold chocolate was a perfect end to a great meal.
I wish I had made it out to The Bristol earlier. Excellent service + great food + well-crafted cocktails made for a pretty fabulous night!
2152 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647