The Boarding House

Glazed pork belly with spiced apple compote and braised cabbage

Glazed pork belly with spiced apple compote and braised cabbage

It was Chicago Chef Week this past week, and we chose Alpana Singh‘s restaurant, The Boarding House, based on its fabulous four course Chef Week menu.  I mean, how can you pass up glazed pork belly?!

Little gem lettuce with baby radishes, crispy pig ear and buttermilk dressing

Little gem lettuce with baby radishes, crispy pig ear and buttermilk dressing

When we walked in, the first floor was a bar-like setting, but the second floor seemed to be transformed into a sprawling dining room with a high ceiling covered in bottles and lights.  When we sat down, I looked at the menu and was completely sold by the little gem lettuce because of the crispy pig ears.  And I was completely right to order it – I think those pig ears even beat the ones they used to have at Purple Pig!  Oh, the buttermilk dressing didn’t hurt either.

Left: Manhattan  Right: Loimer, Gruner Veltliner (Kamptal, Austria 2012)

Left: Manhattan
Right: Loimer, Gruner Veltliner (Kamptal, Austria 2012)

Since this is Alpana Singh’s restaurant, we had to try the wines.  We ended up tasting 8 wines and getting 4 glasses.  Of all of them, my favorite was the Gruner Veltliner from Austria.  Apparently this is one of the top choices at the restaurant with its lemony aroma.  I certainly did love it!  Oh, and that’s probably the sweetest manhattan I’ve ever had, but I’m not complaining!

Carrot soup with pea foam and candied ginger

Carrot soup with pea foam and candied ginger

This carrot soup starter was very rich but kept its carrot flavors.  But the best was the candied ginger, which had a nice crunch to it.

Mushroom agnolotti topped with crispy maitake mushrooms, mustard greens and whole grain mustard

Mushroom agnolotti topped with crispy maitake mushrooms, mustard greens and whole grain mustard

If I didn’t have lamb pancetta stuffed agnolotti the night before at Balena, I’d have swooned over the taste of these.  They were creamy and cooked perfectly, but what really impressed me were those flavorful maitake mushrooms piled on top.

Seared sturgeon over lentils, bacon and artichoke barigoule

Seared sturgeon over lentils, bacon and artichoke barigoule

This seared sturgeon is lovely, but I can’t say much about it because I was too focused on…

Dakota lamb chops with red wine cipollini, rapini and rye gnocchi

Dakota lamb chops with red wine cipollini, rapini and rye gnocchi

Lamb chops!!!!!!!!  These were so juicy and tender that I wished there were more, especially because I had to let Andrew try it…  If this is on their regular menu, I’m definitely getting it again because these are probably the best I’ve had in the city!  Not only was I impressed by the protein, I couldn’t stop eating those gnocchi – give me a whole bowl, please!

S'mores tart with a chocolate custard, speculoos and topped with marshmallow cream

S’mores tart with a chocolate custard, speculoos and topped with marshmallow cream

This s’mores tart was dryer than I had expected, but it was very rich in dark chocolate.  And I wish the marshmallow cream was more gooey and warmer – I always associate s’mores with freshly roasted marshmallows that melts the chocolate into the crunchy graham crackers.  But the speculoos was a really wonderful addition!  I’m really happy to see the appearance of this spiced spread on a restaurant menu!

S'mores tart with a chocolate custard, speculoos and topped with marshmallow cream

Orange chiffon cake with compressed strawberries, caramelized white chocolate cremeux and crisped rice

After a filling dinner, this was exactly what I was looking for to finish off with my half glass of Talbott Vineyards‘ pinot noir.  The chiffon cake was light and fluffy while the crisped rice was the perfect crispy contrast.  I pretty much licked this plate clean and saved a bite of the chiffon cake as my last bite of the meal.

Chocolate cookies

Chocolate cookies

As we paid the bill, we munched on these complementary chocolate cookies, which were absolutely delightful to end the dinner with.  Boarding House, could you please sell these in giant boxes???

Tips:

  1. For a date, sit on the second floor – the first floor is more noisy and bar-like while the second floor is restaurant seating.
  2. Have the waiters help you choose a wine – their suggestions for us were spot on!  Plus, they allow you give a couple a taste in case you are debating between two different glasses of wine.

Rating:

4.0 Rating

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