I’ve been neglecting the blog big time for the past few months. For one thing, work is busier than ever and for another, it just took me a while to figure out what the blog should be. It became clear to me pretty early on that I wasn’t going to post outfit shots everyday – for me, it’s more about lifestyle. Since I’ve started writing salon reviews for my parternship with Pretty Quick, I figured I would throw some restaurant reviews into the mix as well.
It’s sort of an obvious choice for me because I love food and I love restaurants. I eat out a lot (more than I should but what can I say? It’s my favorite thing to do) and I’ve always been the person my friends go to when they want a restaurant recommendation. Honestly, I’m surprised it took me this long to do this – but enough background. Let’s get into the review.
Oak and Char is one of River North’s newest restaurants – classic American fare with a Midwestern focus and flame-inspired menu. I went to Oak and Char shortly after it opened. It was a Saturday night and reservations weren’t a problem (I appreciated the fact that the restaurant wasn’t too loud or crowded.)
The decor struck me first – there’s lots of wood and these interesting white pillowy…..things hanging from the ceiling (I don’t quite know how to describe them so see above.) The interior is warm and I appreciate how much they changed from when this space housed Graham Elliot (the restaurant that was at the address before Oak and Char opened.) It’s also a really nice change from the all the over-crowded, super noisy and flashy River North restaurants that surround it – it’s so nice when you actually have a conversation over dinner.
We ordered five dishes to split between two people: An apple pomegranate salad, charred burrata with eggplant, ravioli doppio, tandoori octopus and the double cheeseburger. I topped it all off with a chocolate pot de crème, which I ate by myself. There were definite highlights: The burrata (because really, how can you go wrong with that?) was super flavorful a the charred eggplant flavor and the creamy cheese worked really well together; the burger was juicy and really good, reminiscent of Au Cheval’s insanely popular version but it’s probably best that you split this with someone; and the pot de creme was delish, quite possibly my favorite part of the meal. Everything was good though. I can honestly say I enjoyed every single dish (even though I doubt I would order the salad or the octopus again) and would definitely be back. I’m excited to see how the menu evolves each season.
The good: The food and ambience, which is trendy but not too trendy.
The bad: The web site is sort of hard to access and navigate and the restaurant was out of several dishes we wanted to order.
I think you should:
Go with: A date or a few friends.
Wear: Something trendy and a bit glamorous. I went with leather leggings, a black tank and a big black draped vest. Open-toe booties and deep plum lipstick rounded out the look.
Reserve in advance. It’ll probably get pretty popular soon.
Skip it for a special occasion – it’s more of a weeknight-dinner-before-drinks sort of place.
Order: A few things to split. The burger should be one of them but consider yourself warned: It’s heavy.
217 W Huron
Chicago, IL 60654
Image via Eater.