Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review: UrbanBelly and Rootstock

Jeremy and I went with good friends to UrbanBelly last night. We were quite impressed with this counter-service BYOB joint. Very upscale dishes (with prices to match)...our favorites were the pork and cilantro dumplings, short rib and scallion rice, and the udon noodles with shrimp, coriander and sweet chili lime broth. Our orders came amazingly fast, and we sat at long communal tables. Everything had a spicy heat to it, which might not be to everyone's liking. We brought a sweet 2008 Loosen "Dr. L" Riesling that perfectly paired with this Asian food. It was a great room with accommodating service. We will definitely be back, imagining ourselves there on a cold Chicago winter night, with steaming bowls of noodles in front of us.

One of the only downsides was that our dining experience was fast - about an hour. Since it was a Friday night and we had a babysitter, we stopped by Rootstock, a new wine bar in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood that has been getting great reviews. It was full by 8:15 p.m., with people sitting in comfortable chairs, enjoying an extensive wine and beer list. The wine list featured many wines you wouldn't find at the store at truly reasonable prices. They had a small menu with mostly savory dishes (we were informed that their only dessert was bacon toffee, made in-house. Funny aside: Just earlier that day, I was trying to think of desserts with meat in them...) Definitely worth a trip if you're on Chicago's west side.

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