They just opened 6 guest rooms starting at $75/night. Two words come to mind… Ace Hotel. The unique design of each room with decor from artists around the U.S reminds me of this trendy, hipster hotel. If I could justify staying here with my house being only 4 blocks away I totally would.
EAT, SLEEP, WHISKEY
“What are you, a food critic now?”
Thanks mom. This is what came out of her mouth (along with laughter) when I told her that my first personal blog entry was going to be a review on Logan Square’s hottest gastropub, Longman & Eagle. Maybe I’m not totally qualified to be a “food critic” but I have been to many a Chicago restaurant and I can tell if a place is worth the visit from a mile away. So here it is, my pedestrian attempt at a restaurant review….
First, a little bit of the back story. I have to give credit where credit is due. Shannon(bird) first told me about Longman & Eagle – which we’ll just call “L & E” from now on– back when I still lived in Wicker Park. I took one look at the menu online and saw an unattractive abundance of exotic meat dishes from roasted marrow bones to sweetbreads to veal heart. If you’ve read my bio or know me, those things don’t scream “come dine here!” to me. But a few months later I moved to Logan Square and made a commitment to explore my new neighborhood. So I gathered my also vegetarian boyfriend, we put on the most hipster outfits we could find (yes, there was a fedora involved), and we walked the few blocks it took to get there. L & E doesn’t take reservations so we ended up waiting about an hour for a table in their beer garden – actually let’s call it a whiskey garden – and sipped on an old fashioned and a manhattan. It was the most enjoyable wait for a table I’ve ever had.
Don’t be surprised if your drink takes ten minutes to make, they have a very “Violet Hour” feel to them (my fellow Chicagoans will appreciate this), as each cocktail is made individually with care and time. Believe me though, it’s worth it! Even if whiskey isn’t normally your thing, you should step out of your comfort zone and at least take a gander at their whiskey cocktails. I doubt you will be disappointed. The drinks and the bartenders get an A+.
Now we’re seated. The staff (besides the cooks fighting in the open kitchen) are all surprisingly nice. Go out of their way to be nice, nice. It’s refreshing. A+ for the staff!
First and foremost, I applaud them for using organic and local ingredients whenever possible. I do have to say though that I was a little scared that we weren’t going to find anything we would be able to eat when all of a sudden we were handed a specific vegetarian menu. I was impressed. We ordered the pretzel, a salad, and the roasted cauliflower dish to share. Everything from this point was phenomenal… the atmosphere, the outdoor whiskey garden, the service, the delicious cocktails, and the vibe. You could not go wrong. Until the food came. We actually had to send the pretzel back because it was too burnt to eat. The replacement came back even worse. The salad was good (but I can’t remember a single ingredient in it so it couldn’t have been that good). And the roasted cauliflower dish was just okay, at best.
I chalked it up to the fact that you have to be a carnivore – and probably a brave one – to really enjoy their cuisine. Don’t get me wrong, I can definitely see why they have received so many great accolades (I’d hate to be mistaken for someone like this) But let’s call a spade a spade, meat is meant to be eaten here. I don’t hold it against them in the slightest as they don’t try to hide this fact. Therefore, I don’t feel it’s fair that I rate the food because I couldn’t get the full experience. Fellow birds care to chime in??
If I haven’t stressed this enough already, this is a place you want to be. It’s not pretentious in the least bit. People are here to have fun. The vibe is one of the best I’ve experienced. For this alone I would go back time after time. A+
Despite the mediocre food experience this is still one of my favorite hangouts. I would recommend it to any of my meat-loving friends and look forward to taking my dad, the executive gourmet chef, when he comes to Chicago for the first time next week.