This week took me to The Monkey’s Paw, a charming farm-to-table gastropub in Lincoln Park. The atmosphere is positively delightful. The lighting is warm and dim, there are gorgeous hardwood floors, and they have a beautiful Christmas tree right as you enter. Even with a group of six, we were seated right away. The menu is sizable and my mouth was watering immediately. We decided to start with an order of the fried pickles, served with remoulade and ranch. The breading was perfectly light and I loved the spiciness of the remoulade sauce. With so many delicious options, I had a hard time deciding on my main dish. I finally picked the Roasted Autumn Vegetable Salad: roasted parsnips, acorn squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, onion, bacon, grana padano, and a charred lemon vinaigrette. I also added grilled chicken to mine. I love root vegetables and this was wonderful. The vinaigrette was light and it perfectly complemented the smoky roasted flavor of the veggies. My mom ordered the Parmesan Potato Dumplings, topped with a poblano cream sauce, cremini and oyster mushrooms, carrots, and grana padano. She loved the creamy sauce and said it was a perfect comfort food dish for a chilly winter’s evening. My best friend ordered the Monkey’s Paw Burger: two Angus beef patties topped with American cheese, balsamic onions, bread and butter pickles, and house aioli; served with house-made French fries. He has been on a burger tour of Chicago, trying to find his favorite one. He said this burger is very solid and he especially enjoyed the combination of the onions and the aioli. Finally, my best friend ordered the Artisan Grilled Cheese sandwich: aged Wisconsin cheddar, smoked gouda, and fontina on rustic sourdough ciabatta, served with a cup of tomato basil soup. The sandwich was huge and she said the blend of cheese was absolutely delicious. I tried a bite of her soup and it was delicious! It had a very smoky flavor, which was so nice and different for a classic tomato soup.
RACHEL HOOVLER & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO