the bristol

10:00 AM sians 0 Comments

with the restaurant named as the bristol, you'd assumed that they'd be dishing out british classics. 

but they don't...

in fact, they've expertly infuse the new american seasonal menu with their mediterranean roots. a couple of friends have sung praises of this place and i was excited to try it out for myself. 

the bristol adopted a rustic yet cozy decor that was fitting for the neighborhood it's located at - bucktown. i love the canvas artwork against the exposed brick wall which gives the place its personality and across from it is a bar with counter seats. there is a chalkboard lining the backwall, listing their seasonal menu and specials of the day. {xy} and i were there an early dinner so evening light was still streaming through the front wall lined with ceiling high window. i just love it :) as the dinner progressed, the sun was setting and the room was noticeably dimly lit.

from the looks of the menu, bristol's dining style was probably leaning towards shared plates (i.e. tapas) since they have a lot more small plates variety while the bigger plates were four entrees or three pasta options. 

starters :: monkey bread | pull apart . dill butter . sea salt ($6)

this was one dish that {cn} insisted me on trying. when i think of monkey bread, i think of sweets. in fact, even {rmc} and wikipedia agree with me. you could say this was the remix version - savory edition. i loved bristol's rendition where the soft bread segments which can be easily pulled apart (hence, perfect to be shared) is contrasted by the occasional crunch from the sprinkle of sea salt over the top. the herbaceous dill butter is what makes the whole dish special. i liked it quite a bit :)

mains :: roasted half chicken | dill spaetzle . crunchy salad ($20)

call it a dill themed dinner but it just so happens that the spaetzle came with dill. and honestly, i typically don't order chicken when i go out for dinners at restaurants - esp roasted chicken but i wanted to cross off spaetzle from my {1oo things to eat before you die}. our wait staff forewarned me that it would take a half hour to have the dish ready but promised me they served the best roasted chicken in the city.

did they keep their promise? arguably so. the crispy chicken skin fairies did their magic because the the skin was roasted to crispy perfection, locking the juices to give a flavorful moist chicken. the spaetzle was rich but was too salty. it was semi counter balanced by the tartness fresh lightly tossed green apple salad with slices of radish that i wished there was more of the salad on the plate. solid plate with generous amount though.

mains :: head-on prawns | a la plancha, anchovy butter, tarragon ($21)

{xy} loved his plate of food. it was literally just prawns sliced half lengthwise on a plate but flavorful fresh prawns does indeed make this dish where the its natural sweetness was highlighted. i had a small piece which was really flavorful. the price tag on this dish is a tad steep but i guess that's part of living in the midwest where fresh seafood has to be flown in from somewhere else. {xy} said he would order it again if he returned.

sides :: duck fat fries | house ketchup . garlic aioli . ($7)

we didn't initially plan to get a plate of fries. but thanks to my order, we waited so long that {xy} got antsy and hungry that we decided to just order another side while we waited for our mains. however, the fries came exactly at the same time so it defeats the purpose as an in-between-starter-and-entree snack.. the fries were crispy, salty goodness - solid but nothing out of the ordinary.

between the cozy rustic decor, the lively atmosphere, and the solid display of new american cuisine, the bristol has provided satisfaction to yet another happy belly or two. did it warrant a return visit? probably. i like this place but i'm still deciding if the bristol made it as one of my top favorites in chicago.

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

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