Gilty Pleasure

Guilt can be a terrible thing, especially if your last name is Blagojevich, Vick or Anthony.

Luckily being caught at Gilt Bar doesn’t come with jail time and a trial. At least that was my experience when I visited the River North hotspot this past week.

The dark restaurant offers a range of seating options: the conventional wooden tables and chairs, vintage-inspired loveseats gathered around small tables, lounge seating, and for a few fortunate diners, bar stool seating overlooking the bustling kitchen.

Gilt boasts a seasonal menu that is inventive but not too “out there”, as well as unique cocktails that features ingredients such as ginger beer, Pimm’s and St. Germain.

We started dinner with Burrata with Roasted Red Peppers and Olives on toast, as well as Ham & Cheese Fondue with Toasted Sourdough and fried farm egg. The burrata was so soft and creamy and perfectly salty. The olives were on the heavy side, even for me who likes olives. I highly recommend the Sweet Balsamic Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil on toast, although it wasn’t ordered this time. The crusty bread dipped in the reduced sweet vinegar with a soft, roasted garlic cloves on top is so simple yet so gourmet.

Burrata with roasted red peppers and olives

Ham and cheese fondue

Next we shared three pastas, each better than the last. First we had Ricotta Gnocchi with Butternut Squash, Sage and Brown Butter. It was the perfect fall dish with the slightly sweet squash paired with the potatoey pillows and hints of sage.

Ricotta gnocchi with butternut squash

Second we enjoyed the Oricchette with Spicy Pork Sausage & Herbs (not pictured). The ear-shaped pasta worked nicely to scoop up the spicy meat crumbles and light tomato sauce.

We concluded the pastas with the Truffle Pasta with Hand Cut Noodles. This dish fed right into my love affair with the rich, truffle flavor. The pasta really did taste hand cut and homemade – so decadent, perfectly al dente and tossed with a truffle-y, butter-y sauce, and Parmesan shavings.

Truffle pasta

For the final course we had the Organic Chicken with Oregano and Garlic. The chicken was average at best. Not to mention, the chicken was questionably pink on the inside. My favorite Gilt Bar dish is the tender Pot Roast, which tastes like its been braised for hours, and then smothered with the most ridiculously robust red wine sauce. Sadly it did not make an appearance on the menu this last time.

Chicken

The side dishes included smashed red potatoes with roasted garlic & chicken jus and Blacked Cauliflower with Pickled Red Onions, Capers and Chili. The potatoes were the perfect mix of fluffy, chunky and garlicky; the jus added a tasty gravy element. The cauliflower made the grade, but I could have done without the overly vinegary onions.

All in all, it was a great night with good food. And that’s nothing to feel guilty about.

Smashed potatoes

Blackened Cauliflower

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