Monday, December 28

Appellation

Do you like cheese? Do you like cheese-centric entrees? Do you like wine and cheese? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, you'll feel right at home at Appellation, a 75-seat bistro in Andersonville. Appellation is brought to you by Pastoral, the incredible cheese shop with locations in the Loop, Lakeview, and Chicago's French Market. The restaurant is attached to another Pastoral cheese shop location where you can buy wines and cheeses that are featured on Appellation's menu, as well as sandwiches, pastries, cheeses and charcuterie.

If you're familiar with Bar Pastoral, their other cheese-centric restaurant in Lakeview, Appellation is WAY larger than that location, and they boast a full kitchen helmed by chef Jesse Williams (Birchwood Kitchen). I stopped in with a friend for dinner on a Friday evening to find Appellation packed. The large bar, main dining room, and front dining room were buzzing with couples, families, and groups of friends.

Pastoral
Appellation Chicago
Andersonville
Appellation Chicago
Andersonville
Appellation Chicago
What pairs best with some delicious cheese, than delicious wine? Appellation has an extensive wine list by the glass and bottle and you can even enjoy any bottle from their cheese shop for a $20.01 corkage fee (rather than paying restaurant mark-up).

Pastoral Chicago
Wine Selections
We started our meal with glasses of bubbly, which, in my opinion, pairs well with everything. In order to get a good feel for the menu, we ate A LOT of food. No shame.

To start, we enjoyed some cheese and charcuterie plates, as well as these caramelized onion, thyme, and Hittisau (raw cow) gougeres (aka cheese puffs). The menu is ideal for sharing and includes a selection of snacks, cheese and charcuterie plates, appetizers, main courses, and desserts. The menu is much more extensive than Bar Pastoral's, and reflects the larger kitchen at Appellation.

Pastoral Chicago
Sparkling Wine and Gougeres
If you're interested in a cheese or charcuterie plate, Appellation has pre-made flights or you can make your own. We decided to create our own cheese plate with a camembert, water buffalo cheese, a Bavarian blue, and a fourth, sheep's milk cheese. To round out the plate, we added on a spicy nduja sausage, and house pickled vegetables. The plates were served with a variety of accompaniments including olives, pickles, marcona almonds, and apples. The best bite though was the blue cheese pair with a cocoa-dusted almond. Sounds weird, but trust me, it was a match made in heaven.

Pastoral Chicago
Cheese and Charcuterie  Plates
Pastoral Chicago
Cheese Plate
Pastoral Chicago
Cheese Plate
The pickled vegetables were vibrant and fresh and featured carrots, red onion, cauliflower, and turnip.

Pastoral Chicago
House Pickled Vegetables
After enjoying our wonderful cheese and charcuterie, we decided to share some of the appetizers so we could get a taste for some of the smaller shared plates. First was the apple, sweet potato, and onion tarte tatin with crumbled Bay Blue (cow) cheese. We were notified that this was one of their most popular dishes on the menu and tends to sell out, so I knew I had to try it. The layers of fruit and vegetables were sweet and tender, and nicely complemented by the rich blue cheese. Apple and blue cheese make a great combo.

Pastoral Chicago
Apple, Sweet Potato & Onion Tarte Tatin
Our next starter was the seared caulifower with grated Podda Classico (sheep and cow cheese), and bagna cauda (butter sauce). This was truly decadent, especially with the butter and cheese. If all cauliflower tasted this delicious, we'd all eat our veggies (and/or be obese).

Pastoral Chicago
Seared Cauliflower with Grated Podda Classico and Bagna Cauda
Our last starter was an item that immediately caught my eye while browsing the menu, a chickpea pancake with roasted fennel, crispy salami, Bianco Sardo (sheep) cheese, and honey. Who knew you could make pancakes out of chickpeas? You'd never know these pancakes were made of chickpeas either! They had a nice and light texture and the salt from the salami was nicely balanced with the honey's sweetness.

Pastoral Chicago
Chickpea Pancake with Roasted Fennel, Crispy Salami, Bianco Sardo, and Honey
Appellation offers about eight main course options which are perfect for sharing or tackling on your own. We decided to try the chicken thighs with mustard-vinegar sauce, cornichons, cippolini onions, and Reading Raclette (raw cow) cheese mashed potatoes. They had us at raclette mashed potatoes. Just look at this dish, it just oozes richness. The acidity of the mustard-vinegar sauce was wonderful with the uber creamy and rich mashed potatoes. The chicken also was super moist and flavorful.

Pastoral Chicago
Chicken Thighs with Mustard-Vinegar Sauce, Cornichons, Cippolini Onions and Raclette Mashed Potatoes
The second entree we tried was the grilled leg of lamb with savory yogurt, delicata squash, onion, and seared Brussels sprouts. The lamb was well-cooked with a slight outside char and perfectly absorbed the minty green yogurt sauce. The squash and Brussels not only added gorgeous color to the plate, they also were tender and fresh.

Pastoral Chicago
Grilled Leg of Lamb with Savory Yogurt, Delicata Squash and Seared Brussels Sprouts
Although we were bursting at the seams, we were encouraged to try the goat cheese panna cotta with pistachios, poached apricots, and honeycomb brittle. It was a nice and light way to end our meal, especially since we were so full. The panna cotta had just a hint of goat cheese flavor, and was incredibly velvety smooth.

Pastoral Chicago
Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Pistachios, Poached Apricots and Honeycomb Brittle
If you're a cheese lover, you'll find yourself in heaven at Appellation. Aside from the cheese boards, many of the shared plates, entrees, and even desserts, feature gourmet cheeses which add wonderful flavor complexities to their respective dishes. Fans of Pastoral's other establishments will also feel at home here. I highly recommend a meal at Appellation; you're bound to leave full, happy, and in a cheese-induced coma.

Note: my meal at Appellation was complimentary; however, all opinions are my own.

Appellation
5212 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640
773.358.7181
Appellation Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...