Earls Kitchen + Bar

December 21, 2015

If you haven't been to Chicago's NewCity area yet, it's certainly hard to miss. NewCity is a shopping/entertaining/dining/living area located near the North and Clybourn intersection. NewCity has numerous dining options, including Earls Kitchen + Bar, a Canadian-born restaurant concept with regional dishes, and a unique interior design custom to each location. Earls is family run and began in the 1980s with its first location in Alberta.

I stopped by with the BF for a weeknight dinner where we had the delicious task of taste testing the food and drink menu (tough job).

First of all, the cocktail list at Earls is not to be missed. The menu features 12 signature cocktails, all served in their own unique glasses. Our favorites were the Silly Wabbit with vodka, lillet blanc, cointreau, ginger, carrot juice, lemon, and cardamom bitters (back left), and the Cabin Fever with Crown Royal, tawny port, ginger, pineapple, fresh lemon, and Moondog bitters served in a tin mug with a scented pine cone (front left). It's basically a campfire in a mug. There's also a Bees Knees cocktail with gin, cointreau, honey, fresh lemon, and Angostura bitters, served in a honey bear glass (front right). Earls gets an A for cocktail glassware!

New City
Earls Kitchen Cocktails
The menu at Earls is huge, but don't fret, I will help you navigate. The menu is divided into starters, soups and salads, noodle bowls, mains, burgers, sandwiches and steaks. Yes, that's a lot, but lucky for you, I loved everything we had so I have several recommendations.

To start, we tried the dynamite shrimp roll with shrimp, mango, avocado, sriracha mayo, and maple unagi. They should name this the addicting roll because you'll find yourself unable to stop eating it!

Dynamite Shrimp Roll
Our second starter was the Sicilian calamari, a lighter and fresher take on fried calamari with tomatoes, cucumber, olives, jalapenos, herb salad, and Greek citrus yogurt. Another starter that is a must try are the tuna tostadas with chili-rubbed albacore tuna, cilantro aioli, avocado, jicama slaw, and corn tortillas (not pictured).

Sicilian Calamari
For our main courses, the BF and I had a hard time deciding on two dishes, so per the staff's recommendation, we ended up with four incredible dishes. The first was my favorite dish of the night, and one I would have never ordered had it not been for their recommendations. The bibimbop is a take on the Korean hot stone rice bowl which is served with carrots, mushroom, zucchini, soft poached egg, chicken, and sesame chili sauce. The bowl is stirred tableside to incorporate the ingredients and continue cooking them. The sizzling bowl had wonderful flavor and colors!

Korean Rice Bowl
Earls offers several steak options featuring Creekstone Farms black angus beef which is antibiotic- and hormone-free. The ranches where they source their meat were also designed by Dr. Temple Grandin to ensure a calm, stress free environment. We tried the filet mignon served with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal potatoes, as well as the chimichurri skirt steak with a poblano puree, baby potatoes, and pan roasted tomatoes. Both steaks were tender and flavorful, but the skirt steak was the clear winner!

Skirt Steak
Chimichurri Skirt Steak
Filet Mignon
The last of our main course tasting was the lemon glazed salmon served with smoked eggplant yogurt, farro, green beans, spicy harissa, and cipollini onions. I was obsessed with the smoked eggplant yogurt which was the perfect pairing for the tender salmon filet.

Lemon Glazed Salmon
If you're not too full, the dessert menu is definitely worth a look. Earls makes all of their desserts fresh each day, including pies that change seasonally. During our visit, we enjoyed pumpkin pie which was true to tradition. Hey, if it's not broken, why fix it?

Our second dessert (of course we had more than one dessert) was the sticky toffee chocolate pudding. It was pretty incredible. The cake was a chocolate pudding cake which was served with chocolate and toffee sauces, and a side of vanilla bean gelato.

Homemade Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Sticky Toffee Chocolate Pudding
As you can see, there are many reasons to like Earl Kitchen + Bar: they have a wide variety of menu items for every palate, innovative cocktails, and custom digs. The staff is also super knowledgeable and you can really tell they enjoy what they do. Trust me, this is not your typical chain.

Note: my meal at Earls Kitchen + Bar was complimentary; however, all opinions are my own.

Earls Kitchen + Bar
1538 N. Clybourn Ave. Unit A108
Chicago, IL 60610
Earls Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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