I've blogged about my adventures at Bin 36 in Chicago, but that wasn't the only restaurant that got some love while I was in town. One evening, I was looking for a quick dinner relatively near our hotel, and so I made my way to the Chicago Firehouse.
I first wanted to sit at the bar, but the bar was completely full, so the hostesses sat me at a very, very awkward table-for-two located pretty much in the vestibule of the restaurant. It was constantly buffeted by cross-winds and was thus pretty chilly, meaning I spent dinner in my scarf and hat. And it was right in the pathway of passing traffic and speeding waiters, which meant I felt I was in the way the whole time. I know I'm only a single diner, but c'mon, Firehouse, don't make it obvious that you don't want me there...
Anyway, to the food. There was fresh bread, which I had a bit of; it was appealing in texture but a bit off in flavor. Huh.
But the real win here was the salad. I chose the house salad, with baby spinach, green apple, spiced pecans, and sherry vinaigrette. I requested a replacement for the usual blue cheese, and they gladly substituted parmesan. May I say right here that despite all the other issues going on at the Firehouse, this salad was incredible. Truly top-notch. It was incredibly tasty, with all the ingredients melding together yet still asserting themselves in the way that truly characterizes a good salad. I could have eaten a trough-load of this.
After gorging on salad, I checked out the dessert menu, but nothing really appealed. So after paying the check (a process that apparently required two false-starts before the waiter actually delivered the check-holder with my appropriate bill in it), I skipped on down the street to Marble Slab creamery, where I got a cup of their cinnamon-apple flavor ice cream. It pretty much defined "nothing special"-- it tasted like apple pie and was cool and creamy, but it was slightly gummy in texture and was unremarkable in every other way. Oh well.
Oh, and ice cream in November in Chicago? It makes you cold. Fun fact.
While I'd like to dock the Firehouse for service lapses, that salad was so damn good that I still have to give the restaurant three Offset Spatulas. If I'm ever in the area again, I would actually return to have that dish again; I'd just be sure to bring a dining companion. Maybe that was the Firehouse's goal all along?
The Chicago Firehouse
1401 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago