Bread & Wine | Restaurant review
If you’ve ever wanted to dine in the pages of a Crate & Barrel catalog, this is your chance.
You walk into Bread & Wine, and instantly it’s déjà vu: You’ve seen this space before. It was one of those new condos in the South Loop. Or that friend who has these same white chairs, the same white globelike light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. Or it’s that you’ve seen rooms like this in catalogs: West Elm, CB2. You’ve flipped through the pages and seen the way the people who live in these spaces supposedly entertain. Bowls of nuts, platters of pita chips. Something you can spread on a cracker while you talk about real estate and Glee.
And there it is on Bread & Wine’s menu: pâté, goat cheese, a very good, and very thickly sliced, housemade mortadella.
From there, the finger foods get more robust. A trio of duck confit pierogi is pan-fried until the edges are crisped, and the savory duck meat plays well off the pickled red onion on the plate. A smoked trout spread on overly toasted toast skimps on the trout, leaving a forgettable plate of bread and crème fraîche. Tiny chorizo tacos provide a quick and potent shot of flavor, but this, too, you’ll quickly forget. A small chunk of chorizo, a splash of salsa—there’s nothing very original to really remember.
Better to get your chorizo fix via B&W’s burger, which packs in four satisfying layers of umami: the beef, the chorizo, a slice of cheddar and a spoonful of onion jam. The pleasant lamb meatloaf offers even more umami, the slices peppered with traces of mustard. But there are problems on the plate: The kale that sits underneath the meatloaf is rubbery. The beans on the side are underseasoned.
If you were at a dinner party in the pages of those catalogs, these missteps would be no big deal. In fact, it’d be a pretty good party—the wine is good, the cocktails are even better (especially the gin-based Plank Road), and there’s something vaguely, suburbanly sexy happening in the room. Of course, this is no party. This is a paid meal at a restaurant. So when the housemade fettuccine arrives not quite right—it’s a little stiff, and the decision to pair it with mushrooms and goat cheese threatens to put you to sleep—there are no excuses. Turns out you really have been here before. It wasn’t via the glossy magazine pages, but rather countless average meals.