Location – 1749 N. Damen (St. Paul and Damen)
In one word – Earnest
Food – Bluebird has jumped on two trendy Chicago bandwagons: 1) Small plates 2) Flatbread. While I enjoyed both trends at Bluebird, they didn’t set any sort of new culinary standard in my mind. However, I do think it’s worth trying this place. It’s quality casual place to dine. My eating partner spotted frites at a neighboring table as soon as we walked in. Ordering those was a good choice. They are served with a garlic alioli sauce and curry ketchup. This is one of those sides that you continue to eat even after your mind and stomach tell you that you are clearly full. In addition to the frites, we sampled the roasted baby beet salad. I did dig this, but I wanted there to be less frisee and more beets and cheese. Finally we shared a flatbread (which is the size of a medium pizza). The one we ordered had roasted mushrooms, fresh chevre, grilled greek sausage, shallots, garlic and watercress. The best part of it was the actual flatbread, which was described to us as a kind of Lebanese cracker bread. After eating all of that, I was full-dizzle.
Drink – Someone I know mentioned a month back that I should try Ska Beer out of Durango, CO. Crazy enough, this happened to be on special. I really did enjoy the recommendation, it was smooth, but had a nice bitterness to it. Bluebird has a ton of wines and local beers to choose from. I think this will be a good place to sample less common beverages.
Service – I thought that the service was very earnest. Our server was really sincere and invested in insuring that we enjoyed our experience at Bluebird. He talked to us about his favorite dishes and why he liked each of them. Since I wasn’t in a hurry and this was my first time dining at Bluebird, his thoughts were welcome. He also made me feel confident of my food choices. There is nothing worse than a server who judges what you order at a restaurant.
Scene – The place kind of reminded me of a less sceney avec. Same sort of bare, yet warm atmosphere. The restaurant is located at an odd cross-section of the city. It’s Wicker Park, so you have remnants of the indie hipster scene. But, it’s on that strip of Damen that looks like the Gold Coast (you know with Marc by Marc Jacobs, BCBG, etc.). As a result, you get a mix of people dining here.
Dress – Our server had jeans and a polo on. Take your cues from him. It’s a casual place, no need to breakout the fancy wear.
Cost – For my beer, shared frites, salad and flatbread, I paid $21. It was actually a lot of food for that amount. I wouldn’t scream “Bargain,” but it’s not overpriced.
If you like, try…avec