Bavette's Bar & Boeuf
- Alison Green
- Chewy, pillowy sourdough that's complimentary to boot
, the River North restaurant that joins Maude's Liquor Bar
, Gilt Bar
, Au Cheval
, and Doughnut Vault
in Brendan Sodikoff's burgeoning empire, is so damn good it renders its own steaks superfluous. So says Mike Sula, who found himself scarfing leftovers that were irresistible despite their congealed state. Notable items among Alinea vet Jeff Pikus's formidable roster are the bread service (here gratis), a fois gras terrine every bit as good as the torchon at Maude's, and nontrophy meats such as a softball-size meatball and a slab of beef tongue "so tender that it falls apart if you wink at it." More in the line of steak houses are massive salads and surf-related appetizers—seafood towers and oysters, salt cod brandade, shrimp de jonghe, a fat and fluffy baked crab cake. And as at most of Sodikoff's spots, there's a better-than-perfunctory cocktail list, this one based on classics (old-fashioned, daiquiri, a cognac-fortified Sazerac) and a half-dozen sparkling selections.
For this week's Cocktail Challenge, Spiaggia's Brendan Smith was inspired to make an Italian dessert drink featuring his assigned ingredient, yellow mustard. A twist on the Brandy Alexander, the Senape Dolce blends honey-mustard gelato with cognac and a Sicilian amaro; it's served in a martini glass garnished with crushed honey-mustard pretzels. Next up is Karl Fernandez of Old Town Pour House, challenged with Parmigiano Reggiano.
In the listings are recent reviews of new restaurants including Bar Umbriago, Hash House A Go Go, and Piccolo Sogno Due.