Bottlefork – River North, Chicago

Bottlefork is located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.  If you have not been there yet, stop what you are doing and put this place on your “must do” list.

Bottlefork opened for business early last year.  Executive Chef Kevin Hickey, formerly of the Four Seasons, helms the kitchen there.  In a part of town that is crowded with some really good dining options (and some bad ones),  Bottlefork is a bright, shining star.  A breath of fresh air.

On Wednesday, I hopped the CTA Red Line to Bottlefork which is located just 11/2 blocks south and 2 blocks west of the Grand ‘L’ stop.

 

Grand 'L' stop near Bottlefork

 

Chef Kevin is a superstar.  He is also the Executive Chef at

Bottlefork’s new sister restaurant, The Duck Inn in the Bridgeport neighborhood where I had another incredibly delicious meal last month.  Here is how my dinner went down:

First up, I ordered the smoked salmon deviled eggs with capers and shallots.  People, this portion is just 2 deviled eggs.  At first, I thought maybe I should have asked for a double order but the size of these beautiful babies definitely belies the tasty and satisfying punch they deliver.  I should have had known as much.  Chef Kevin is a real master at creating decadent layers of flavor. These deviled eggs were the very best I have ever tasted.  Smooth.  Creamy.  Rich. Tangy. Lovely. 

 

Bottlefork's deviled eggs

Smoked salmon deviled egg with capers and pickled shallots

 

Next, I chose the lamb sirloin with shaved asparagus and Moroccan spiced yogurt.  It’s Spring and, automatically, I equate the season with lamb.  This dish did not disappoint.  The meat was a perfect medium-rare, exactly as I asked it to be cooked.  The asparagus was bright, fresh and just the right amount of crunchy.  The sauce was nice and earthy with just the right amount of spice as to not overpower the flavor of the lamb.

 

Bottlefork's lamb sirloin

Lamb sirloin with shaved asparagus and Moroccan spiced yogurt

 

I washed it all down with a potent and well-balanced cocktail called For The Allocation.  This drink was made with bourbon, Chartreuse and orange bitters.  Lately, I have been trying different bourbon cocktails.  This never used to be in my repertoire but I guess my palate is changing.  

A few words about libations and cocktails.  Chicago, like other big food towns, is flexing its “mixology” muscle in a big way.  While I appreciate fancy cocktails, I prefer those that have just 2-3 ingredients and are devoid of the scientific antics on which many establishments are spending way too much time.  Chef Kevin excels in this area.  The bartenders at Bottlefork and The Duck Inn are serving up some really yummy cocktails without making me wait for a big “ta da” magic show moment.  Thank you!

 

Bottlefork's For The Allocation cocktail

For the Allocation – Evan Williams 100 proof Bonded Bourbon, Green Chartreuse, Gran Classico and Regan’s organge bitters

 

The space at Bottlefork is small with booths along the wall opposite the long bar and open kitchen.  There are a few high top tables nestled in sunny window along Clark Street. The latter is where I enjoyed my solo dinner on Wednesday.  Chef Kevin was hard at work in the kitchen the night I was there.  I was honored to be able to thank him and chat for a bit.  With any luck, he will open a restaurant in my South Loop ‘hood soon 😉

 

Bottlefork's bar

Bottlefork's dining space

Bottlefork's wall murals

 

I would be remiss if I did not give a shout-out to my lovely server, Tina.  She was welcoming, attentive and walked me through the Bottlefork menu with great enthusiasm and knowledge of the offerings.

Earlier I mentioned that Chef Kevin Hickey is a superstar.  I mean it.  He is a native Chicagoan whose love of this town is truly reflected in his dishes.  I cannot wait to return to Bottlefork and The Duck Inn for more of the delicious delights he is serving up.

Bottlefork is located at  441 N. Clark St.  Click here for more information.

In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Red Line to Bottlefork.  Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking.  Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!