Two – Near West Side, Chicago

Last night I decided to celebrate the 85 degree day by taking myself out for an early dinner at Two in Chicago’s Near West Side neighborhood.  This restaurant has been in business nearly three years and, yet, it took me a while to get here.  Better late than never 🙂

 

Two entrance

Two location at May and Grand

Two is located just 6 blocks west of

the Grand ‘L’ stop along the CTA Blue Line, at the corner of Grand Ave. and May St.  It is just 6 blocks south of the Chicago ‘L’ stop on the same line.  The #65 CTA Grand bus also stops there.

 

Grand 'L' stop near Two restaurant

 

Executive Chef Kevin Cuddihee runs the kitchen at Two.  The restaurant and menu take inspiration from family-run butcher shops.  Two is making its own bacon, sausage, jerky here. Cheese, sauces and pastas are all made in-house as well.  Chef Kevin is working with local farms to provide a rotating menu of seasonal ingredients.  The menu is focused on small and medium-sized plates which are meant for sharing.

Here is how my solo supper went down:

I decided to satisfy my craving for mussels with Two’s P.E.I. mussels which were done simply but lovely in a bath of butter, olive oil, scallions, leeks and green garlic.  P.E.I. mussels are always my favorite.  I believe they are the sweetest, most tender and juicy mussels you can find.  The broth in this dish was perfect.  The bread was grilled to perfection and I used those toast points to mop up ALL (and I mean ALL) of the broth.  Yum!

 

Mussels at Two restaurant

P.E.I. mussels, butter, olive oil, green garlic and leeks

 

Next, I ordered the homemade ramp-ricotta cavatelli pasta with pork ragu, and spring onion puree for my main entree.  This dish allowed me to enjoy Two’s plump, pillowy homemade pasta, housemade meat, ricotta, as well as the oh-so in season ramps.  This was a wonderful “onion-y” choice and a perfect compliment to my mussels 🙂

 

Two restaurant's cavatelli

Homemade ramp-ricotta cavatelli, pork ragu, sprin onion puree

 

I washed it all down with a “Bumble Fizz” cocktail made with Tito’s vodka, St. Germain, lemon, honey (I love my lemon and honey!), black tea simple syrup, egg white and Hawaiin black sea salt.  I LOVED this cocktail.  It was very refreshing and well-balanced.  The Hawaiin black sea salt added an extra kick the longer the cocktail sat.  Really great choice!

 

Two restaurant's Bumble Fizz coctktail

“Bumble Fizz” cocktail – Tito’s vodka, St. Germain, lemon, honey, black tea simple syrup, egg white and Hawaiin black sea salt

 

Did I mention that Two is making its own barrel-aged vodka, too?!  Kudos!  I will be back for one of their cocktails made with this house hooch 😉

The space at Two is bright, warm and inviting.  As has become popular in restaurants these days, Two has re-purposed different materials into its decor such as barn doors, Chicago porches in the wall panels, faucets, etc.  I really appreciate this trend in design.

 

Two restaurant's dining room

Main dining room

Two restaurant's front dining room

Front bar area at Two

Two received a Michelin Bib Gourmand award this year.  Congrats, guys!  In addition, I must give a shout-out to my server, Oscar, who was very knowledgeable about the menu, very attentive and wore a beautiful smile during my entire time there.  

Two is located at 1132 W. Grand.  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 Blue Line to Two. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking.  Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!