If you are in town and looking for a modern take on local inspired food for that significant other or maybe even a first date, Wood is the place to be.
3335 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
Its plush booths and high-tables made it feel like a restaurant, but their awesome bar also made it feel like a nightclub. The backsplash had mirrored tiles and clean monochromatic surfaces. This was in deep contrast to the beauty of the organic light fixtures and the nature-esque hanging tree branch above the bar. The vibe is very upbeat and the decor mimics that of a 1930’s speakeasy, but with a Euro-disco revival.
Ok, ok. Enough about the layout, let’s talk food!
Having a deep desire to try new things, the first dish that caught my attention was something strangely regal. It made me just so excited to try it. This was the Roasted Quail & Spinach Salad (spinach, roasted squash, grapes, cashews, apple jam, without the rye croutons).
Although it seems that sweet and bitter has been overdone, this dish proves that it hasn’t. The spinach was fresh (although there may have been a wilted one that gave one of my bites an off-taste). It was the star of the veggies in this dish. It also served as an amazing counterpart to the quail, which was cooked perfectly and seasoned to perfection. All that and it was only my first bite. The next bite had me ready to start dancin’! The mellow flavor of the roasted squash was enhanced by the duality of the sweetness and tartness of the grapes and apple jam. Then the cashews jump right in and start boogying. One thing to note is that the quail was quartered, bone-in, so it was a bit difficult to eat without getting your hands dirty. But I don’t mind eating au naturale.
Like a DJ looking for that perfect mix or fade, I found my next plate to enjoy, the Scallops (cauliflower puree, truffled savoy cabbage, without the herb breadcrumbs).
This kind of resembled that slow song playing at the end of the night letting you know that it’s time to go home, but you still have a chance to get that one last dance in. It started with the puree, which was subtle and light in flavor but a nice mouthfeel. This paired well with the cabbage. It was sweet like dancing with that girl/guy you had your eye on all night. Unfortunately, the scallops were slightly chewy, and may not have been washed thoroughly. Despite that downfall, it still tasted nice.
Now not all nights have to end at the first club you go to. Oh no. I decided to do something a little naughty and head out to a late-night club in the form of an offal. Otherwise known as, the Fried Veal Sweetbreads (wilted spinach, sautéed bacon, roasted chestnuts and butternut squash puree, without breading).
This dish was, in a word, Wonderful. Truly a comforting winter meal for the I’m-going-to-make-sure-I-look-good-no-matter-how-cold-I-am crowd. You know the type. The ones that stand in line to get into a club wearing nothing but their nice shirt and jeans or sexy dress even though it’s 8 degrees outside. This bite was all sorts of yummy. Sweet and savory with a nice splash of bitters. Simply a perfectly cooked protein with just enough of a sear to wake up the aromatics of the sweatbreads.
How is it sourced?
Wood Chicago is focused on keeping their dishes seasonal and provides them via farms like Green Acres (North Judson, IN), Three Sisters Garden (Kankakee, IL), and Spence Farm (Fairbury, IL). The nicest part is that their herbs are picked directly from Wood’s private garden! They also claim that their meat is humanely-raised and butchered in-house. What more could you ask for?
3335 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614