The Bristol, Wicker Park Restaurant Review

Last night Courtney and I got a little baby sitting help from Auntie Rhonda, so we took a quick run to a new nearby eatery called The Bristol on Damen a block away from DuChamp. The concept is that of an upscale pub. It's a pretty good idea and we ordered a good sampling of food. Besides a few sandwiches and appetizers like blue cheese stuffed chicken wings, the food was more sophisticated.

But overall I think the quality was above average, not mindblowing, yet also affordable with a great staff.

We ordered Smokey Cheese Fritters ($5) and a green salad ($6) to split to start. The salad was certainly big enough for two if you were doing tasting like we were. The fritters were like hush puppies but I swear I did not taste anything smokey whatsoever. They were still good though especially the mustard dipping sauce. The salad had an interesting dressing too.

For main plates Courtney got the Grilled Skirt Steak

($18) with blue cheese stuffed raviolis. The steak was actually smokey flavored and very, very tender. The raviolis weren't as well executed but an interesting idea. I had a special, Pan Seared Skate Wing ($16) which had a nice topping, but I thought the piece of fish was too thin. Flavor was good though. We also split a piece of cheesecake with caramel apples which was quite good ($6).

The beer selection had a handful of draughts and I went with the Burning River pale ale ($6). I think if The Bristol wants to be a pub it should add even more beers I would think, especially seasonal brews. But for a total of $73 with three drinks it is a great place to go to routinely, which might be its biggest draw.

The atmosphere was dark, it not entirely pub-like with some communal tables but more 2 and 4 seaters, which we were happy were there. We got there at 5:30 p.m. when it opened and it was quite crowded by 6:40 when we left. There's another bar upstairs but we didn't check it out. Maybe next time we'll do the wings and burger thing instead.