Last Friday I went out to dinner at Trenchermen in Wicker Park. I have heard good things about this place and after reading countless reviews I was even more eager to try what they were offering. Upon entering I was immediately impressed with the ambiance. The first thing that catches your eye is the giant bar in the middle of the room with green glass vases surrounding the top.
My dad and I sat at the bar to order a drink while we waited for my friend Grace and her dad to arrive. While chatting with the bar tender we found out that 15 years ago the space used to be a turkish bath house and that the walls were still original from that time. Who knew Wicker Park had authentic Turkish Bathhouses?
Trenchermen is known for having really well balanced, interesting cocktails. There were 7 to choose from but the one I picked was called “The Bridge and Tunnel” which was made with carbonated lemon-peel vodka and celery bitters. It was sweet, summery and refreshing.
After Grace and her dad arrived we got to meet one of the head chefs, Patrick Sheerin. He was super nice and let us take a peek around the kitchen, which obviously I was extremely excited about! We decided to put the ordering in Patrick’s hands. He’d be in charge of putting his favorite dishes at our table and we had no say. Perfecto!
Our table was in a room with a giant wine collection that was quite impressive. We ordered a bottle of red from the collection called “Three Sticks”
The first dishes started to come out and we were all wowed by the beautiful presentation. We dug into the kale with edamame and carrot quinoa bread before I could even get a picture!
Next came the chilled zucchini soup. This had sardines, coconut horseradish, soy cucumbers and a buckwheat cracker. It came with all the ingredients laid out like art and then the waitress poured the soup right on top. This had really different flavors that sort of tickled the tongue. I was definitely a fan.
THE HEIRLOOM TOMATOES. Oh my Lord… I went crazy over this dish. If you read my blog you can get a hint that I love love love fresh tomatoes. I think I hoarded this dish away from the rest of the table…sorry guys. The heirloom tomatoes came with pickled peppers, white balsamic ice cream and apricot pits. Amazing, for sure one of my favorite dishes of the night.
Next came the fried chopped liver with egg yolk jam, apples and wasabi. These chefs sure know how to make chopped liver look be-a-utiful!
This was followed by the pickled tater tots with shaved chicken breast and red onion yogurt. I’ve never eaten something so pink that was not strawberry ice cream!
The next course started out with the Sepia Noodles, aka noodles made out of squid. Now usually I am quite the adventurous eater but I was not a fan of this. The texture was just too weird for me. Everyone else at the table really enjoyed these though!
After that came another of my favorite dishes of the night… the scallop with egg yolks and a few other ingredients that I can neither pronounce or identify. But i do know that the whole dish worked together perfectly and the scallop was flawlessly seared. The picture does this no justice.
Next was the smoked paddlefish which had a really funky flavor and was everyone’s least favorite. This had green beans, ground cherries and granola.
That was the end of the second course. The third course started out with the black olive and sesame encrusted sea trout which was yet another favorite and probably the prettiest dish of the night! this included hummus and roasted beets and was served almost raw. We ate the crispy skin, the trout, the beets and a scoop of hummus all in one bite…so tasty!
The duck was next with fried rice balls. This was another dish that was cooked to perfection.
Short ribs with snow peas and mustard and pasta was absolutely delicious.
Moving onto desserts… we got all on the menu but one! The coffee cake with chai tofu ice cream, fried chocolate and smoked meringue. I love how they present the ice cream!
Corn Donut with mascarpone sorbet, peaches and tomato molasses. Thought this would be my favorite since I love donuts so much but alas, it took second place to the next one.
The “King Blueberries” dessert was indescribably delicious. This was made with Gumball head panna cotta, pound cake and basil. The combination of flavors went perfectly together. I usually am not the biggest fan of fruit desserts and typically order chocolate. I would have never ordered this is Patrick did not choose it for us. I am so glad I tried it, amazing stuff.
So that concludes the best meal I have had in a while. I highly recommend Trenchermen because I basically got to try the whole menu and loved almost all of it. Obviously this was a splurge night but well, well worth it!