It was at dinner with Miss. Gastronomic Bypass, which compelled me to move Trencherman up on “where to eat next” list. I literally called the next day after our dinner and miraculously got same day reservations on a Saturday night, so what if it was at 5:45. Too early, nah, no lunch and home early after dinner. It was a good decision and I was stoked there was anything available. That being said, our knowledgeable and chatty server confirmed that the bar actually serves a full dinner – a great tip for next time if I am hankering for some pickle tots. For any of you dying to go and not lucky enough to get same day reservations, I vote stealing a seat at the bar and taking in the scene.
This new gem is in the heart of Bucktown, though takes a careful eye to spot the entrance, especially if you aren’t familiar with its previous proprietor, Spring. The old bathhouse is about a ½ floor below street level and is fairly indiscrete, well minus the valet parking. When entering the restaurant the layout and motif reminded me a little of an elegant speakeasy – with no ego. There are two main rooms in the restaurant. We sat in the first, where several booths surrounded the center bar. Our server wasn’t shy to tell us about the story of the restaurant and chefs Pat and Mike Sheerin (from the Signature Room) I can say they were adequately prepared for inquisitive guests like me. My only critique of the staff is that they were maybe a little too eager to take our plates – at a place like Trencherman; I am clean plate club kinda girl – so best just to leave any plates with any scraps remaining on the table.
Some of the items on our sharing menu for our meal at Trencherman:
Sepia Pasta – confused on what this is, a quick translation: cuttlefish pasta ribbons. Love the idea, but I personally found this dish too fishy and literally only had one bit, that being said, my equally discerning dinner guests quite enjoyed it. As you can probably tell, I am not faint of heart when it comes to trying things, but fishy things (fish sauce, fish oil, fishy fish) are absolutely not my thing.
Pickled Tots – lots of positive reviews from Yelp and UrbanSpoon compelled us to order these. Our server said its Chef’s Sheerin’s take on his favorite bar food – pickles and tater tots. Definitely enjoyable and beautiful, but a small portion at about 4-6 bits – though the sheets of chicken were a nice touch!
Apple cider fritters – don’t come expecting donuts, they are more like apples with a light crisp batter, than a batter with apple flavor. Very good, and a great dish for the season. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy fried food as much as the next person but frying food can easily mask delicate flavors and cooking flaws – this was a nice fried, yet very balanced dessert.