Rustik Tavern (Bloomingdale)

The lady and I were looking for a place to grab dinner after the Old Fashioned Happy Hour with Robert Simonson at Southern Efficiency last week. We were looking for affordable-ish. We’ve been putting a big dent in the options around 7th and 9th, so we widened our search area to Bloomingdale. The lady mentioned Rustik Tavern, I checked the menu, and we were on our way!

They have a really nice outdoor deck with tons of tables, but it was super humid and we had just walked 6 blocks. So we opted to sit inside. We settled in and decided on some drinks. I opted for the Texas Pear (Tito’s vodka, pear puree, mint syrup, and lime juice) and she went with the Blood Orange Old Fashioned.

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Mine was nice and light. It was less pear-flavored than I expected, but still good. It was definitely strong! Which I don’t mind so much, because I love Tito’s.

Hers was really amazing. A little on the acidic side, but I really loved it. The blood orange puree tamed the whiskey, which was perfect for me! I was afraid she didn’t like it from her first reaction the took a second to taste all the flavors and then deemed it good.

We noticed that they had some pretty good Happy Hour specials, so we decided on a starter. We went with the roasted cauliflower with prosciutto and sumac.

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The prosciutto was a perfect complement to the cauliflower, which was cooked just right- still plenty of crunch. I thought that the dish could have benefited from some sort of sauce though. It was still tasty, and relatively healthy! Yeeeah, vegetables.

For our entrees, I had already decided exactly what I was going to get when I looked at the menu earlier in the day- the Fresh Pita with Lamb. I’m never going to say no to a combination of pita, lamb, and tzatziki.

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It was INCREDIBLE. The pita was delicious, the lamb was nice and tender, cooked with potatoes and topped with onions, and the tzatiki was flavorful. It came with 3 pita triangles. I was full after 2 little wraps, but powered through the third one because it was just so good. Yum.

The lady decided on The Pep Pep pizza. Lamb, mozzarella, tomato sauce, roasted peppers, green Anaheim peppers, marjoram.

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She said it was a little spicy, but she really enjoyed it. And enjoyed it again as leftovers for dinner the next night. And it sure was pretty.

Overall, not too bad! It wasn’t perfect, but that lamb alone would bring me back.

  • Favorite thing I had: The lamb with pita. Her Blood Orange Old Fashioned was REALLY tasty too.
  • Favorite thing she had:  The Pep Pep pizza. She said it was a little spicy, but she enjoyed it a lot.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: It’s a small menu, and I didn’t have any qualms making a decision. I might want to try one of the other pizzas and go for their brunch.  I DID have a hard time deciding between cocktails, so I could go back for a drink.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): If we end up in the neighborhood and can’t get into Red Hen or Boundary Stone, we’d go here. Not sure I’d make a special trip. But I could be wrong… that lamb was REALLY good.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Go grab a drink at Boundary Stone!

The Red Hen (Bloomingdale)

I knew this was going to be a good experience the first time when I walked in and I recognized the electro-indie song playing. It was cozy and warm on the cold blustery evening and I felt relaxed immediately. Our server’s timing was impeccable. She seemed to show up at the table at the exact right time every time and made an excellent wine suggestion for me despite the sommelier being out for the evening. I was impressed with everything and this place was deemed our new favorite restaurant in the whole city. We loved it so much, we went back to celebrate our 6th anniversary there.

  • Favorite thing I’ve had: Everything I’ve ever had there, standouts were the Rigatoni with Fennel Sausage Ragu & Pecorino Romano and the Smoked Ricotta Crostini. Oh and the desserts. Just yum to all of them.
  • Favorite thing she had: Ricotta Cavatelli with Spring Peas, Braised Sauerkraut, Bacon, & Mascarpone. A good $10 glass of chardonnay.
  •  Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The menu will be changing with the season, so I’m just excited to see what they come up with. What makes this place stand out: Everything was perfect. It was a delicious and sorta fancy meal, but still a fairly casual place.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Tomorrow, if we could afford to. This one has to be between next month and special occasion.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Boundary Stone, Big Bear Cafe, Rustik Neighborhood Tavern