Tuesday, December 24

Chicago's Newest Wine Bar

A few weeks ago, I headed to Trellis, the newest restaurant concept behind the folks at Four Corners Tavern Group. If you're not familiar with Four Corners, they're responsible for places like Benchmark, Kirkwood and WestEnd. Trellis is actually located in the old Gaslight space, another Four Corners establishment. The bar was completely transformed from a sports bar to a trendy neighborhood wine bar with small plates.

I was invited to stop by for dinner on a Thursday evening with my friend Lauren. The layout of Trellis is still the same as Gaslight, one long narrow row of tables and a bar, and a separate seating area towards the back. The restaurant was beautifully decorated for the holidays and it was so warm and cozy on the frigid night we were there.

We started the night by sampling two cocktails our server recommended. The Winter Wonder had gin, mastiha, which is a Greek liquor, lemon, rosemary, egg white and prosecco. It was extremely refreshing from the lemon and prosecco, as well as the mastiha (which we may or may not have taken a shot of with the GM). Gentleman of Leisure was the second cocktail which featured bourbon, apricot, sherry and Chinese bitters. I really enjoyed the Winter Wonder and Lauren enjoyed the Gentleman of Leisure, so that worked out well!

Winter Wonder & Gentleman of Leisure
Our server also told us about the "wine bong" they have which apparently is quite popular. We didn't try it but we were told they would be making an appearance at the New Year's Eve celebration at Trellis!

The wine "bong"
After sipping on some cocktails (and wine) we ordered the charcuterie board with our choice of meats and cheeses. We tried three cheeses and two meats, some we liked better than others. I thought the cheese portions were a bit small for the price, but the salumi we had was a nice portion.

Cheese & Charcuterie: Iberico Ham, Gin & Juice Smoking Goose Lamb Salame, April Showers & Van Sormon Cheeses
Next, we tried the venison meatballs with wild mushrooms and tagliatelle. We didn't love this dish, it was purely OK. I did, however, appreciate that the pasta is made in house.

Venison Meatballs & Wild Mushrooms with Homemade Tagliatelle
We were told we had to try the scallops and although we didn't order them, they magically appeared on our table. It was a good thing that happened because these scallops were melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I'm not usually into scallops, but these bite-sized nuggets were quite good. The creamy grits with pancetta and sherry brown butter was even better.

Scallops with Pancetta, Creamy Grits & Sherry Brown Butter
One of my favorite dishes of the evening was the taleggio arancini. These fried balls of heaven sat atop a butternut squash puree with sage walnut oil. They were cheesy and gooey and amazing with the hearty butternut squash. YUM.

Taleggio Arancini  with Butternut Squash & Sage Walnut Oil
The top dish of the night had to have been the fig jam and bacon pizza. This was one of the dishes recommended to me and I 'm glad I went with the recommendation. The cracker-like crust generously was topped with bacon, caramelized onions and blue cheese. The salt from the blue cheese was a fantastic pairing with the layer of sweet fig jam. I could have easily eaten this all by myself.

Fig Jam & Bacon Pizza with Caramelized Onions & Mindoro Blue Cheese
Another small plate recommendation was to try the pork osso bucco. This was a slow-cooked pork atop a pistachio gremolata. The pork parted from the bone with the simplest poke of a fork. Talk about tender. The only problem I had with this was the meat's lack of flavor. It needed a little more oomph!

Pork Osso Bucco with Pistachio Gremolata
The chef recommended we try a side of yukon potato puree which also was just kind of meh. I'd probably go for a side of pommes frites or roasted cauliflower next time.

Yukon Potato Puree
To end our meal, we of course had to taste test some desserts. We chose the apple walnut crostada with thyme. The best part about this dessert was that it was airy and light and perfect for the season. It also came topped with homemade black pepper whip cream which was delightful. I could have eaten that whip cream with practically anything.

Apple Walnut Crostada with Thyme & Black Pepper Whip Cream
We also tried the Not Your Daughter's Root Beer with Small Town Root Beer and a scoop of vanilla gelato. This simple treat was a nice (booze-y) way to end our meal.

Not Your Daughter's Root Beer
Overall, I loved the look and feel of Trellis. You'd never know it used to be Gaslight and the quality of food and drink are great. The staff really made me love the place; you could tell they were well-schooled in the menu (they all undergo several weeks of training) and were all super down to Earth. I mean, we took shots with the GM and Chef Sarah came and had a glass of wine with us at the end of our meal. My kind of people.

Check out Trellis when you're in the mood for great wine and cocktails and seasonal eats, all in an inviting atmosphere.

Note: My meal at Trellis was complimentary, however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Trellis
www.trellischicago.com
2426 N Racine
Chicago, IL 60614
773.644.6441
Trellis on Urbanspoon

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