For our friend Derek’s 40th birthday, his wife Tori planned a surprise dinner months in advance because she wanted to catch him off guard and surprise him. In April she invited Jeff, Dave & I to dinner (as part of the decoy for getting them into the city for the surprise concert they were attending after dinner) and Tori asked my help to choose a restaurant.
After a little research and discussing what menu would be best, together we decided that Acre was the place.
Of course my decision for choosing Acre was because they are a farm-to-table restaurant serving a seasonal menu and sourcing locally throughout the midwest. Their ingredients include organic greens, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork, veal, lamb and goat (which are all butchered in-house) and they have an assortment of house-made condiments and desserts to boot. Oh! and aside from that beautiful list they also have an oyster bar…yes please! :)
Before we met Derek & Tori for dinner, I made sure to put together a bag full of goodies for Derek’s gift. It started with his 100th Birthday card and included all the basics necessary now that he was hitting the big FOUR-OH.
You know? Things like Men’s Depends, a case of Ensure, some dried prunes, a bottle of laxatives and of course I wrapped some quality dark chocolate in one of the extra large sized depends and hid it on the bottom of the bag to make him dig for the prize. He got a kick out of it and we all got a good laugh watching him open everything. :)
Once the gifts were all opened, it was time to turn our attention to the foooooood. Ah, the glorious, glorious food. Paleo options were in abundance at Acre! Most everything available on the menu sounded delcious and we were all starved after sitting in traffic for a while so we were ready to dig in…and we did!
I’m a sucker for figs and they were almost in season so I was giddy at ordering the frisee salad. The asparagus was cooked just right, not too soft and not too crunchy and the dressing was very citrus-y.
When we were talking about the different salads our waiter recommended we definitely order the beet salad. And he was right, the beet salad was indeed a winner.
The sausage plate was surprisingly good. All the meat was seasoned well. Jeff enjoyed the spicy chicken sausage the best and the dijon mustard served with it was superb. You could simply eat the mustard with a spoon and be done for the night.
The chicken liver is so soft, it practically melts in your mouth.
We’d not experienced beef tongue and we’ve been on a bit of an organ meat kick lately so I was excited to try that as well. The tongue was sliced thin and grilled so it had a smoky flavor. Unless someone told you it was tongue you would have never known. It was fabulous!
We topped off all the appetizers with the dozen sampler of oysters. All of them were good and I didn’t realize there were so many different varieties of oysters. The Cortez Island oysters were by far my favorite, although everyone at the table had a different favorite. You’ll have to decide for yourself when you go and let me know which you liked best.
The Main Course
Choosing an entree turned out to be quite the decision! Jeff, Dave and Derek all ordered the pork ribs but our waiter came back and said there was only one order of ribs left so Dave & Derek changed their order to the flank steak.
Tori & I both ordered the pork burger and OMG was it freaking delicious! I ordered it exactly as described on the menu and made no changes (aside from ordering it bunless). It came with fries, which wasn’t mentioned on the menu, but the ketchup was made in house and you could definitely taste the tomato and honey in there. Lip smackin’ good!
Don’t Forget Dessert
The homemade strawberry ice cream was absolutely divine! So flavorful and made with real strawberries and vanilla beans. There was an additional ingredient added, I think it was cardamom, that gave it a little something special. That extra flavor told you that this was indeed housemade.
There was a large variety of beer and wine available as well, although I stuck with water.
The atmosphere at Acre was quite versitile. We sat in a booth near the back but up near the front door there are plenty of pub tables available for a large group or just to hang out and have some appetizers.
Overall, Acre is a great Paleo restaurant in Chicago and it was the perfect choice to celebrate with our little, intimate group for Derek’s birthday.
Paleo Friendly Restaurant: Acre (Chicago)
Location: 5308 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640
Restaurant Rating: 4 out of 5
Paleo Rating: 4 out of 5
Paleo Restaurant Rating Scale
Restaurant Rating: How good is it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best I’ve ever had), how good is the restaurant, no matter if it’s paleo or not.
Paleo Rating: On a scale of 1-5 (5 being paleo perfection), how paleo is it? A 5 will have grass-fed and pasture raised meats, local, organic produce and no peanut oil in sight.