What a hiatus! I’ve been so caught up with my research that this past month flew by, but thankfully I’ve still been eating. And one of my favorite new places is Bohemian House in River North. Walking into this gem, you are transported out of the city and into a rustic yet modern restaurant, which is exactly what Jimmy Papadopoulos’ cuisine conveys.
The fusion of the flavors from this Czech, German and Austrian region with local ingredients and styles is exactly what the ever-expanding Chicago dining scene needed. Our first small plate is actually not pictured because I got there too late for my fiancé to stare down three fluffy bacon buns complemented with a sweet plum marmalade (he saved me one). I highly recommend this sweet and salty contrast for breaking bread! And then onto something a tad bit healthier: the slow roasted beets with crispy sliced apples and smoked walnuts that are on the sweeter side. What I really liked about this dish is that instead of the regular feta that is paired with beets, Chef Jimmy used a lighter crème fraîche since goat cheese is often difficult to find in Bohemia.
We were also given a little amuse-bouche of caraway cracker, head cheese and wild raspberry jam made from strawberries that Chef Jimmy picked himself in Newark, IL. It’s really a bite of freshness!
And while Andrew chose from the selection of beers, I went with a Czech-Gria since it sounded delicious! It was pretty yummy, but it certainly could have been a bit stronger in flavor and alcohol (perhaps with a little less ice).
If there is one thing I loved while I was in Prague, it was potato pancakes. At BoHo, they become a play on bagel and lox, with a crispy potato pancake on the bottom and topped off with mildly cured salmon. Plus, the apple preserves really added to the contrast in texture and flavors in this dish. Every component was essential to produce these bites of perfection. Note: don’t bother with a fork and knife for this one – just use your hands.
It’s often a letdown eating duck once you’ve had Peking duck in Beijing. Almost no other duck can compare. That is, until you order this Czech roasted duck. Our first forkful, and we were honestly shocked. It was so tender, so savory! These bold flavors were complemented very nicely with the bed of slightly sweet plum sauce. This was THE DISH that sold us on BoHo. It’s really a must have.
If you like sausage, this knackwurst is is perfect. It is highly seasoned but isn’t so full of juices that it bursts when bitten or cut into. The pastry around it was certainly a flaky blanket that gives you the impression of a gourmet hot dog.
I love spätzle. In Germany, I could not stop eating these little, soft dumplings and have been craving them since! Boho really does a spectacular job working the tender, braised rabbit into the dish, making it the perfect sharing dish (though you may want it just to yourself). And certainly do not overlook those bright red cherry tomatoes, which equally add to the bold flavors flowing through every spoonful
You have to save room for dessert at BoHo. The espresso gelato will certainly give Eataly’s selection a run for its money. Make sure you have the gelato with the yummy doughnuts, which are right up there with those from Chicago’s gourmet doughnut shops!
- The portion sizes aren’t huge, so order a number of dishes to share!
- Make sure you save room for dessert.