Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the gage

note | i've been skipping a few old entries to get the new ones out and to make up for my lack of updates, here's another new entry.

a friend of mine, son asked me back in late january if i wanted to go to chicago restaurant week together with him and of course i wasn't gonna say no. besides i haven't seen him for ages and having lunch is a good way to catch up. we had some places in mind including province but i forgot to make reservations hence our restaurants of interest were fully booked. 

then i came across the gage, the sister restaurant of henri where both restaurant features dirk flanigan as the executive chef.  i've read a lot of great things about henri (another restaurant i'd love to try) so i had similar expectations for the gage and couldn't wait to try the food at this popular gastropub.


once inside, there is a dining area to the left and bar counter to the right which are first come first serve seating if you'd prefer to not wait for a table. there is also more dining area all the way to the back of the restaurant.  the decor in the front is just what you'd imagine a gastropub to be. in contrast, the back dining area is a dimly lit but cozy and quieter. i made reservations and got a table in the back dining area.




from our table, i could see the kitchen working over the short wall if i stood up. i kinda like that :)


we both looked at their restaurant week, regular brunch and lunch menu and decided that we weren't all that interested in their selections for restaurant week. so items from the regular menu, it is! so an appetizer to share and a brunch item each for us.


they started us with some fresh warm bread and some butter + cream cheese sprinkled with some sea salt.


the bread was crusty on the outside but soft on the inside. the butter could have been softer to help with the spreading on the bread slices. but this bread was perfect for our shared appetizer we ordered.

appetizer | mussels vindaloo . toast ($14)


vindaloo is an indian curry dish from the region of goa. so why does a place like the gage has this on their menu. actually, vindaloo has gained popularity in britain among other countries and with the restaurant's menu inspired by its irish roots, hence the vindaloo mussels was not a surprise. it was an excellent take on these morsels which i've had several times cooked in the white wine/ diavolo approach so this was quite the change. i love the subtle heat/spice and the mussels were aplenty which was absolutely fine by me. the mussels were fresh and cooked right. i would return just for this dish which comes as a close second as my favorite mussels ever had (after the ones i had from publican).

entree | eggs benedict . braised rabbit hash . english muffin . spicy hollandaise ($12)


the eggs benedict comes with a mini cast iron pot of baked potatoes topped with melted brie cheese and a slice of sweet watermelon. the flavors of the dish were slightly bland and could have done with a lot more seasoning. even the hollandaise was not spicy as described. the rabbit was alright but didn't taste anything special. i did like the brie with the well-seasoned potatoes though and btw the potatoes was cooked through, if you were wondering. the other great thing was that their eggs were poached beautifully.  overall, i was underwhelmed by the flavors.
entree | today's omelet ($10)


son decided on this dish. similarly, it comes with the same sides that i had. i remember the ingredients sounded really good in an omelet but i don't remember what they were. he said the omelet was okay. but he said he was kinda sad that his slice of watermelon was warm which he doesn't like. mine wasn't though so he was a tad jealous too..lol.

their mussels dish showed so much promise of huge flavors that i'm more than happy to give it a second chance. but i'd skip their brunch selections. their brunch dishes were alright at best. there was nothing wrong with it but there was nothing amazing about it. while we were having our meal, we saw a lot of the diners ordered burgers and sandwiches so if i return for their mussels, i'd probably give those a try instead. 

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others

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