Tradition Gastro Pub & Kitchen

June 26, 2015

Tradition Gastro Pub & Kitchen
Tradition Gastro Pub & Kitchen
Tradition Gastro Pub & Kitchen is a go-to happy hour spot for workers in the Loop and one I had walked by countless times on my way to and from the office. My colleague and I stopped by for a weekday lunch to see if we could enjoy some healthier options. No burgers. No fries. Would it be possible to have a decent guilt-free lunch at a sports bar? Read on to find out...

I was surprised to find the space to be a lot larger than it appeared from the outside. The dining room features tall ceilings, exposed brick and huge wooden booths. They even feature art from local artists on the walls. Nice touch.

Tradition recently launched several new offerings including salads, sandwiches, burgers, and appetizers.  However, we found the menu to be a little all over the place. For instance, you can walk in and order ceviche, a burger with candied bacon, a Philly cheesesteak, or Brussels sprouts. While variety is the spice of life, sometimes it's better to stick to what you're good at instead of trying to please every palate.

To start we tried the veggie spring rolls with mushrooms, carrots, onions, cucumber, asparagus, and zucchini, served with a sweet and spicy garlic sauce. The sauce was tasty but the rolls fell apart immediately. There also was no asparagus...not sure why. These are definitely something you could make at home.

Tradition Gastro Pub & Kitchen
Veggie Spring Rolls
Straying from the healthy factor of our meal, the manager convinced us we had to try a flatbread and tacos. I chose the BBQ chicken flatbread with chopped chicken breast, red onion, cilantro, and barbecue sauce. This was the best thing we had. It was flavorful and had a nicely crispy crust.

Tradition Gastro Pub & Kitchen
BBQ Chicken Flatbread
The pan seared seafood tacos were another recommendation. They were shrimp and tilapia tacos topped with cilantro. They were supposed to be topped with guacamole but weren't so we had to ask for some. The tortillas were so heavily fried it wasn't worth it to pick up the tacos. While there were nice chunks of seafood, they were smothered in butter and wine which made it hard to detect any sort of freshness.

Tradition Gastro Pub & Kitchen
Pan Seared Tacos
We also tried a side of roasted Brussels sprouts with almonds and Parmesan cheese. We asked to have them sans bacon but they arrived with a heaping portion of bacon on top so we waited for a new order. There was also some kind of dressing (balsamic?) that the sprouts were drenched in (this wasn't listed on the menu). We were hoping the Brussels would be crisp and crunchy but they were soggy from swimming in a pool of balsamic(?). 

Tradition Gastro Pub & Kitchen
Brussels Sprouts
After sampling a random assortment of menu items, we each ordered an entree salad. My colleague tried the spinach salad with salmon. What arrived was a nice salad with a huge portion of salmon, but it definitely didn't match the description on the menu (potatoes, cherry tomatoes, avocado, capers). It did have chopped red onion and tomato, as well as hard boiled egg and a mustard vinaigrette. After ordering multiple food items that didn't match their menu descriptions, I wonder if the kitchen uses whatever is on hand, or if they just really need to update their menus!

Tradition Gastro Pub & Kitchen
Salmon Spinach Salad
My salad was grilled romaine with chopped tomato, cucumber, red onion, chicken and goat cheese with a citrus dressing. I requested the dressing on the side but alas, it arrived dripping in dressing. Although I was disappointed by this, I will say the salad was flavorful (albeit soggy from all that dressing).

Tradition Gastro Pub & Kitchen
Grilled Romaine Salad
So, we didn't have the most stellar experience at Tradition but I really went in with an open mind and full stomach. Our (I think simple) requests for dressing on the side and no bacon were not met. Several food items arrived either with ingredients missing or entirely different ingredients added. But the one redeeming factor was the BBQ chicken flatbread, which tells me maybe it's best to stick with traditional bar food at Tradition (had to). 

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

160 N. Franklin St.
Chicago, IL 60654
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