Sometimes living in the city is draining. But sometimes you have that moment where you are like, “Yeah, this city is awesome.” I had one of those moments on the way to Bridge House Tavern. Maureen got stuck in the elevator (note: I wasn’t stuck! It was just going really slowly and I had visions of it opening and it having gone too far, so water from the Chicago River would flood in and I’d have to swim to safety and would ruin my shoes.)
Bridge House Tavern is located along the Chicago River on the north side of the river and Clark Street, lower level. The restaurant itself is kind of small, not a ton of seating, but the deck is amazing. I think they had more seating outside than in and they had private cabanas. Nice touch.
It was just on the cool side of cool, so we sat inside. Inside is so cozy and welcoming. A fireplace, wood floors and stone walls made it feel like a lodge or a home. I started talking about how much I loved it and Maureen had to remind me we hadn’t even had the food yet.
After reviewing the menu, we decided pretty quickly we had to try the popcorn. This isn’t just your average popcorn. It has honey, bacon, jalapeño, and smoked salt. And it was delicous. You could taste each of the flavors and they worked together, the sweet and spicy. Plus, bacon is just delicious on everything. My only complaint was the honey made it sticky but that was easily worked around by using a fork.
Maureen and I both gravitated towards the beer cheese soup and wondered if we could split it. I mean, can you even split soup without having to share germs? The answer, my friends, is yes. Yes you can! They brought us out individual crocks of beer cheese soup, which was topped with Guinness, seasoned with chive batons, paprika and served with pretzel crouton. There wasn’t enough beer to give you a buzz (darn it!) but it added a nice depth to the soup. The pretzel croutons were so good and all in all, it was a nice start to the meal. Well, second start to the meal.
Somehow we justified getting our own sandwiches, mostly because we could not agree on the same sandwich. I continued my personal quest to find the best shrimp poboy in the city of Chicago.
The shrimp were crispy and flavored nicely. The shrimp to bread ratio was a little skewed, as in too much bread. Unlike the one at China Grill, I could have used a little more sauce. It was good, but The Zodiac Room still wins.
Maureen: I don’t share Carrie’s love of shrimp (although I do like it, so calm down everybody), so I opted for the Salmon BLT. Confession: it just happened to be the sandwich that came with a bacon milkshake! What is that? I don’t even know! But when you see the words “bacon” and “milkshake”, I think you have to try it. I was super full from the soup (sooo good) and popcorn (good, but every bite made me sneeze), so I only ate about half of the sandwich. It was good, but I do like just normal BLTs a little better. The bacon milkshake was had globs of either dairy or bacon fat. It was tasty, but that kinda weirded me out. Overall, it was decent.
I thought Maureen’s bacon milkshake would screw up dessert for me, but thankfully she pulled through like a champ. We agreed on the creme brulee, served with fresh berries and freshly-baked cookies. Delicious. The berries and cookies were a nice accoutrements to what we thought would be a simple (but delicious) creme brulee. It was a nice ending to the meal.
Maureen: C is for cookie and that’s good enough for me (they were yum). The creme brulee was good too – the blueberries were a great touch.
Carrie: I loved this place. It was intimate and cozy and would be a great place to take a group of people with whom you want to have a really good conversation. Also, a super awesome place to go in the summer, nice view of the river, lots of outside seating. The food was good too, but I think I was more in love with the environment/space than I was the food.
Maureen: I have to agree with Carrie. The food was fine, but the real star was the space. I had envisioned some large touristy vaguely British/Irish pub-style restaurant that thought it could get away with overcharging because it’s on the river. It’s, in fact, the complete opposite. It’s very inimate and comfortable. Some of the dining areas have plush seats (that Carrie and I were 99% sure were from West Elm). I’d actually bring people here for drinks and apps (and great conversation, but I mean, I’m there, so that’s a given. . .), and would probably skip the entree next time.