The Savoy
in Wicker Park: My good friend’s birthday dinner pick (he graciously selected a spot that was well praised AND gluten-free.) In the heart of Hipsterville with all the right ambiance elements; exposed brick wall, cozy booths, rope detail, designer light fixtures, interesting & intimate bar area and absinthe on the drink menu.

I started with the 21st Century cocktail but the Penitence Rye Stout (specially brewed for the restaurant) is what caught the attention of my group. I had a glass for dessert. We all shared a dozen oysters (divided into East Coast & West Coast platters) and the coconut red curry mussels, which had a great flavor kick but were not overwhelmingly spicy. I could not pass up the entrée with my two most favorite things to eat, the pork bell confit and seared scallops, and it certainly did not disappoint! The table also shared the peanut butter chocolate (not quite sure of the flavor) molten cake with home-made coffee ice cream. I had a few bites with my lovely chocolate-y, coffee-y dark beer.

The birthday boy also got the raved French method absinthe service: a pomp ritual which involved dripping water over an ice-cube over the licorice-tasting spirit to make it cloudy. It was much too potent for me to take more than a sip.

Overall, the drinks were impressive, the food was superb and it was great to be able to participate in the conversation at the other end of the farmhouse table. I can’t dine like this often, but am hoping to return to introduce my guy to that delish stout (or maybe for a special celebration dinner.)