The Pork Sort

Spots for pork from neck to loin

Blackbird 619 W. Randolph | 312-715-0708

F 9.1 | S 8.5 | A 6.9 | $$$ (13 reports)American Contemporary/Regional | Lunch: Monday-Friday; Dinner: Monday-Saturday | Closed Sunday | Open late: Friday & Saturday till 11:30

rrr This sterile white-and-steel space would make a lab rat feel at home. But for fine dining with a rotation of top-notch seasonal ingredients, served by a crack cadre of skilled food-service ninjas who would die for your smallest whim, chef Paul Kahan is still at the top of the game. Don’t do what I did last time, succumbing to my basest instincts and ordering course after course featuring a cured pork product. By the time I’d finished my endive salad with poached egg and pancetta, seared diver scallops with guanciale, and braised pork belly with Chinese broccoli, baby turnips, plums, and barbecue consomme, my alimentary canal felt like the Bonneville Salt Flats, and my plan to finish with the bacon ice cream was foiled. You owe it to yourself—and to Kahan’s sense of balance—to give, say, mussel soup with saffron, garlic, and basil a slurp or try the grilled sturgeon with sauerkraut gnocchi and Anjou pear. Challenges in the area of wine selection are sometimes met by the guidance of your Joseph Abboud-clad waiter, sometimes not. Mike Sula

The Bluebird1749 N. Damen | 773-486-2473

$$Bar/Lounge, Small Plates, American Contemporary/Regional | Dinner: seven days | Open late: Saturday till 3, other nights till 2 | Reservations not accepted

Want some bacon with your porchetta? On the menu at the Bluebird, a late-night lounge/wine bar/gastropub from the owners of Webster’s Wine Bar, it’s hard to find anything not spiked with smoked pig. An otherwise relatively sane addition to the nightlife corridor stretching up Damen from the Wicker Park crotch, Bluebird’s a pleasantly understated space, outfitted in a sort of rustic-minimalist vein, with tables made from old wine casks and stools reminiscent of high school chem lab. On a Sunday night at least, it’s a nice mellow scene. For the most part the starters are great—lots of cured meats and funky cheeses, salads, flatbreads, and so on. The classic frites, simultaneously crispy and floppy and served with little cups of addictive curried ketchup and garlic aioli, are no-brainer perfection. But heartier main plates were a mixed bag. There’s a satisfying bowl of beer-braised rabbit with shallots, mushrooms, and (surprise) bacon over fettuccine. But the brined and smoked “baconed pork chop” tasted of nothing but smoke and salt—though maybe my taste buds were just numb by then. The wine list is organized by “climate”—IMHO a fairly useless conceit—but the by-the-glass options we tried were excellent. The extensive beer list is sophisticated and heavy on the Belgians, and the kitchen stays open till 2 on Saturdays, other nights till 1. —Martha Bayne

Bonsoiree Cafe & Delicacies2728 W. Armitage | 773-486-7511

F 8.9 | S 7.6 | A 6.8 | $$ (5 reports)American Contemporary/Regional | Dinner: Sunday, Tuesday-Friday | Closed Monday | BYO

rrr This smart BYOB spot started life as a casual deli and cafe, and still does double duty as a catering kitchen, but owners Shin Thompson and Kurt Chenier hit their stride earlier this year when they spiffed the place up a bit and introduced three-course prix fixe dinners. The contemporary American menu showcases clean, streamlined seasonal flavors; the summer menu included pan-roasted barramundi in a pink peppercorn sauce with a grilled asparagus risotto cake and plum chutney as well as a toothsome serving of braised pork shoulder in a burly bourbon sauce. The autumn menu introduces an appetizer of cured pork belly with star anise, fig sauce, and polenta and a main course of duck breast with acorn squash puree, fried parsnips, and a white balsamic gastrique. On Saturdays the restaurant offers a five-course “underground dinner” for $55; to get an invite, sign up on the mailing list at, where the changing menu is also posted. —Martha Bayne

Bourgeois Pig738 W. Fullerton | 773-883-5282

$American, coffee shop | Breakfast, lunch, dinner: seven days | Open late: every night till 11 | Reservations not accepted

Fourteen years old now, this charming Lincoln Park establishment might easily be mistaken for having been around even longer. Located in an old brownstone, it’s true to 60s-coffeehouse form, with creaky hardwood floors, hundreds of newspapers and books lining the shelves, and a menu of homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, and baked goods posted on four huge blackboards. The extensive lineup ranges from a Great Gatsby Club (pesto, bacon, and smoked turkey) to a veggie panini with artichoke hearts and fresh spinach to a scrumptious daily quiche with a flaky, buttery crust. You can also build your own sandwich or get a half with a cup of soup or salad. The quiet and somewhat unkempt surroundings—an antidote to the antiseptic ambience of newer shops—attract a studious crowd. The patio is a major plus on a sunny day (one can always hope). —Laura Levy Shatkin

Cafe Iberico739 N. LaSalle | 312-573-1510

F 7.9 | S 6.9 | A 7.0 | $$ (16 reports)Tapas/Spanish | Lunch, dinner: seven days | Open late: Friday & Saturday till 1:30, other nights till 11:30 | Reservations accepted for large groups only

Loud, crowded, and a tad disheveled, Cafe Iberico has been going strong for years and seems only slightly worse for the wear. The cavernous 450-seat restaurant includes two dining rooms, three bars, a party room, and a deli counter offering a selection of Spanish cheese, sausages, and canned goods—and it’s expanding into an upstairs space. At ten on a Wednesday night the front bar was surprisingly packed with a diverse crowd of diners, from a clutch of Muslim teenagers gossiping on the sidewalk to a multiethnic mix of young professional couples and a rowdy squad of pub-crawling frat guys. The service was efficient, if not terribly solicitous, and the bathroom was a mess. But if you stick to the classics, the menu still delivers. A bowl of mild Spanish olives was a nice complement to a simple plate of buttery jamon iberico and nutty manchego cheese, served with rounds of bruschetta. The gambas al aijillo—grilled shrimp in garlic and oil—were firm, crispy tailed, and came sizzling hot; champignons a la plancha were mushroom caps in their own dusky, smoky oil-and-garlic suspension. The more ambitious dishes fell flat. Dry as dust and served with even drier french fries, the pork tenderloin showed no signs of having been marinated as advertised; a special, octopus and cuttlefish in a tomato sauce with potatoes and peas, was bland and mealy. But if a dish disappoints, you’re not out much more than a five spot, and at $3.50 a glass even the sangria is cheap. —Martha Bayne

Cid’s Ma Mon Luk9182 Golf, Niles | 847-803-3652

$Asian, Other Asian | Lunch, dinner: Sunday, Tuesday-Saturday | Closed Monday | Reservations not accepted

How likely is it that a Filipino family will invite you over for some of their traditional chow? No time soon, I’m guessing, so until then, Cid’s Ma Mon Luk is where to go for down-home cooking from the Philippines, set forth without ceremony (or much service—hey, this is mom’s kitchen, what do you expect?). Siopao is a rubbery meat-filled steamed bun, which I liked but may be an acquired taste. More recognizable to most of us is beef caldereta, pot roast sprinkled with sausage slices in a mildly piquant tomato sauce, comfort food epitomized. Most delicious is lechon kawali, roast pork chunks with a crunchy, glistening coppery crust served with sweet, vinegary, livery dipping sauce, stupendously simple and satisfying. To drink try the calamansi juice, a type of limeade. —David Hammond

Erwin2925 N. Halsted | 773-528-7200

F 8.4 | S 8.0 | A 7.6 | $$$ (22 reports)American Contemporary/Regional | Dinner: Sunday, Tuesday-Saturday | Closed Monday | sunday brunch

rrr Mark Bittman, the New York Times‘s minimalist, would approve of Erwin, the namesake restaurant of chef Erwin Drechsler. The emphasis is on seasonal food prepared simply, to bring out the freshness of the ingredients. Appealing appetizers include an onion tart with Danish blue cheese and walnuts and a spicy crab cake with carrot-radish slaw. Roasted beets paired nicely with a thin crisp of ricotta salata and a red onion marmalade; toasted hazelnuts added texture. Entrees that make the most of that wood grill (you can smell the smoke from down the street) include flank steak, a pork chop with green tomato jam, and a hamburger, served with a heap of fries and house-made pickles and worth every bit of its $13 price. Desserts keep up the homey simplicity—there’s rice pudding with golden raisins and a gingersnap and sour-cherry pie with vanilla ice cream. —Kate Schmidt

Fiddlehead Cafe4600 N. Lincoln | 773-751-1500

F 7.2 | S 7.5 | A 6.5 | $$$ (8 reports)American Contemporary/Regional | Lunch: Saturday-Sunday; Dinner: seven days | Saturday & Sunday brunch | Open late: Friday & Saturday till 11

The kitchen at this casual, warm, wine-centric cafe offers a range of global appetizers and spiffed-up bistro standards like the signature three-way steak frites, served with russet, sweet potato, and polenta fries. The menu changes seasonally, but certain standards—roasted garlic hummus, seared ahi tuna—remain constant. Entrees include lamb shank, grilled dorade, and monkfish wrapped in house-made pancetta and served with a garnish of house-made bacon. Fiddlehead Cafe was awarded an order of excellence by Wine Spectator this summer, and with a wine list of more than 350 bottles plus a couple dozen reds, whites, and bubblies available by the glass or in flights of three, it’s hard to go wrong. But to get to a knockout like a 2004 cab-merlot-Syrah blend from Washington State’s Hedges winery, you have to first figure out how to interpret the cutesy little icons that indicate traits like “dry,” “complex,” “berries,” or “oaky.” Still, to a person the staff at a recent visit was unflaggingly friendly, and my French cheese flight soared. Martha Bayne

Latin American Restaurant and Lounge2743 W. Division | 773-235-7290

$Latin American | Breakfast, lunch, dinner: seven days

The Cruz family has been serving homey Puerto Rican food in Humboldt Park since 1958. Meals are heavy and meaty, bolstered by fried starchy sides like plaintains, potato rellenos, and cassava. The real achievement is the lechon, marinated roast pork, which comes torn in fat chunks with prized bits of crispy skin. Morcillas, spicy, ricey blood sausages, can be ordered by the pound, and you can drown in waves of stews, soups, and a couple dozen seafood dishes. But the daily rotating buffet is a chance to sample all of this in excess, and a great deal, too, at just $5.95. —Mike Sula

Mitad del Mundo2922 W. Irving Park | 773-866-9454

$$Latin American, Cuban | Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday | Closed Sunday, Monday | Open late: Saturday till 3, Friday till 2 | Cash only

Mitad del Mundo’s menu blends cuisines from Cuba, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador. Many of its specialties are seafood based: there’s a sopa and coctel de camarones, an enormous seafood combo for two, and paella Valenciana (the traditional Spanish dish takes more than an hour to prepare). But there’s also a whole section of the menu devoted to steak preparations such as churrasco and carne asada. Lechon asado, baby roast pork, is another Latin classic, tender and tasty, or try masas de puerco frito, chunks of fried pork loin. Appetizers include tostones, yuca con mojo, empanadas, and tamales. Owner Jimmy Espinoza is a frequent, cheerful presence in the dining room. —Laura Levy Shatkin

Pannenkoeken Cafe4757 N. Western | 773-769-8800

$European, Breakfast | Breakfast, Lunch: seven days | Reservations accepted for large groups only | BYO

Linda Ellis, owner of this tiny Lincoln Square cafe, fell in love with Holland on her first trip in 2001—the bikes, the easy pace, the friendly people. And she got hooked on pannenkoeken, the large, thin, crispy-edged Dutch pancakes—so much so that she apprenticed herself to a gruff elderly master of the art. The initial result was a tightly compressed menu: a few egg dishes, regular buttermilk pancakes, and three pannenkoeken (apple, chocolate-banana, and bacon and Havarti). “I wanted to start small,” Ellis says. “I wanted to be able to control what we do qualitywise.” The place has been packed since its early-September opening, especially on weekends, but with the help of her daughters, who handle the front of the house, Ellis has now expanded her pannenkoeken repertoire, offering combos such as raisin and ginger marmalade, apple and ginger, ham and cheese, and bacon, cheese, and mushroom. —Mike Sula

Paprikash602 W. Northwest Hwy., Arlington Heights | 847-253-3544

$$$Polish/Russian/Eastern European | Lunch: Tuesday-Friday; Dinner: Sunday, Tuesday-Saturday | Closed Monday

There are less inviting places to eat yourself into a coma than Paprikash, a warm, classy Hungarian bar and kitchen that lays claim to being the sole restaurant in the area serving the meals of the Magyars. The arrival of langos, deep-fried, garlic-studded dough puffballs, warms up the guts for what’s to come. Those and a few appetizers—sweet, spicy pickled-pepper salad, cheese spread, sausages, a creamy sour cherry soup—could knock out timid eaters alone; the entrees challenge the stoutest. Variations on gulyas (a meat stew with gravy), the Hungarian standard-bearer, include rich beef and pork gulyas, gulyas soup, and a sturdy island of the stuff in a creamy zucchini-dill puddle. These are accompanied by potatoes or homemade spaetzle, as are the paprikashes—veal and chicken. The Gypsy steak is a breaded pair of pork saddles spiked with enough garlic to outfit a vampire slayer; baconyi is pork loin topped with a rich mushroom sauce. Flaming crepes, pastries, and chestnut puree don’t let up, and the custard-and-fruit-filled cake makes tiramisu taste like a pudding pop. The Bull’s Blood black label, a Hungarian red wine, can stand up to anything on the menu. When you’re finally beaten, a snifter of pear brandy or a shot of Golden Pear, a pungent orange-flavored herbal liqueur, will ease you through the next few hours. There’s live music every Friday and Saturday night; when I was there a cimbalom player was noodling the theme from The Godfather. Mike Sula

Podhalanka Polksa Restauracja1549 W. Division | 773-486-6655

F 7.7 | S 8.3 | A 5.7 | $$ (7 reports)Polish/Russian/Eastern European | Breakfast, lunch, dinner: seven days

rrr It isn’t just the knickknacks and portraits of the pope in this former tavern, a remnant of Division Street’s days as the great “Polish Broadway,” that remind me of my grandmother; I’ll be damned if I don’t sense her presence in the pungent whiff of cabbage that floats from the kitchen or the gentle tang of fermented rye flour in the zurek. That’s white borscht, a smooth, creamy dill-specked soup with chunks of garlic and slices of kielbasa that has been fortifying Hunky peasants and steelworkers for generations. At Podhalanka you’ll still see old-timers at the bar, warming their bones with cabbage or barley soup or fat pierogi stuffed with piquant ground pork, cabbage, or potato and cheese, but also younger folks who may or may not speak Polish working down bowls of caraway-flecked sauerkraut and heaps of smashed potatoes in gravy, accompanied by something big and meaty: a pork roll, perhaps, stuffed with mushrooms, green peppers, onions, bacon, paprika, and a few allspice berries, or uncured spareribs cooked in sauerkraut until tender. These meals are almost entirely drained of color, but they’re big, inexpensive, and preceded by baskets of fresh bread and butter. —Mike Sula

Sabai-Dee5359 N. Broadway | 773-506-0880

$Chinese, Other Asian | Lunch, dinner: Sunday, Tuesday-Saturday | Closed Monday | Cash only

In Laos, Kevin Wong and his family were Chinese immigrants who operated their own restaurant, but when they came to the U.S. almost a quarter century ago his parents worked straight nine-to-five jobs. Now the 36-year-old has returned to the family business, a cafeteria-style steam table operation with a few tables, a perfunctory selection of Chinese-American dishes (fried rice, chow mein, kung pao chicken), but more importantly the only Lao food available in the city. Similar to northern Thai Issan cuisine, it’s supposed to be spicier than its neighbor’s, and though Wong tones down his thin red and green coconut milk curries, on request he’ll doctor individual orders to their appropriately nuclear levels. These stews—floating with fall-off-the-bone chicken or pork and tender vegetables such as miniature eggplants or julienned bamboo shoots—are meant to be eaten with sticky rice or rice vermicelli. There’s also a pa lo stew, boiled eggs and firm tofu in a thin soy-based broth, with or without fatty chunks of pork belly, and a nourishing pho with beef and meatballs—deep and rich, but less redolent of five-spice seasoning than the many Vietnamese bowls in the neighborhood. There’s a selection of salads—papaya, Lao ham (nam), and the beef salad called laap—the Lao national dish. Beyond an assortment of finger food—fried chicken, beef jerky, house-made rice, tapioca-based sweets, and sausage, milder but similar to the funky Thai Issan variety, there are other hidden treasures not on display, such as chicken noodle soup. Just ask Wong what’s good and unusual and he’ll set you up. —Mike Sula

Sepia123 N. Jefferson | 312-441-1920

F 8.8 | S 8.0 | A 9.6 | $$$$ (5 reports)American Contemporary/Regional | Lunch: Monday-Friday; Dinner: seven days | Sunday brunch

rrr Opening hype can strain any restaurant, but Emmanuel Nony’s Sepia, just around the corner from Blackbird, is holding up quite well. Creative chef Kendal Duque (Everest, Tru, NoMi) runs the kitchen, and out front savvy servers seem happy to be there. The succulent slow-baked veal breast on wide, lightly minted noodles quickly became a signature entree not simply by default but because it’s delicious. I also liked the thick Berkshire pork chop ($26). Flatbreads, which head the menu, should be a natural with cocktails, but I didn’t have much luck: the little one topped with applewood-smoked bacon and seasonal fruit didn’t go at all with the Sepia Mule, which features house-made ginger-infused vodka. At brunch there’s a bacon Bloody Mary made with bacon-infused vodka and eggs Benedict made with Berkshire pork belly. The eclectic, affordable wine list ($30-$80 bottles, $8-$12 by the glass) rounds out an enjoyable experience. —Anne Spiselman

Spiaggia980 N. Michigan | 312-280-2750

F 9.2 | S 9.5 | A 9.5 | $$$$ (8 reports)Italian | Dinner: seven days

rrr Whoever says people don’t dress for dinner anymore hasn’t been to Spiaggia lately: the guests are as perfectly appointed as the room. Chef Tony Mantuano offers tasting menus, but on this visit we went full bore and ordered a la carte, starting with sea scallops paired with Italian lentils and cotechino sausage; a trio of pesce cruda; and surprisingly delicate house-marinated anchovies with buffalo mozzarella. Pasta here, as one might expect, is terrific: handmade spaghetti alla chitarra came with sweet lobster, spring garlic, dried tomatoes, and arugula; squid ink and saffron spaghettis with surprisingly meaty Dover sole and baby fennel fronds. Mantuano’s risotto is not to be missed, and my grilled pork loin—served with morels, ramps, braised pork cheek, and a chunk of guanciale—was so damn good I felt abandoned when they took the plate away. Desserts—an intense chocolate semifreddo and mouth-puckering lemon panna cotta—were grand, but Spiaggia’s cheese program is second to none, with superior offerings like a signature aged cow’s milk cheese and a cheese made with grape must and grape seeds, which crunch under your teeth. Service is seamless, and Stephen Alexander, who replaced longtime sommelier Henry Bishop, did right by us with a sparkling Gavi di Gavi to start the extravaganza. —Gary Wiviott

Szalas5214 S. Archer | 773-582-0300

$$$Polish/Russian/Eastern European | Lunch, dinner: seven days | open late: every night till 11

The Gorale, a sheepherding people of the Polish highlands, have a substantial community on the south side—which explains the presence of not one but two fantasy European hunting lodges straight out of the Brothers Grimm on an otherwise mundane stretch of Archer Avenue northeast of Midway. (The other is the Polish Highlanders Association.) The wealth of rustic detail at Szalas includes a working waterwheel, stuffed animal heads, and staff in billowy peasant dress—you can even dine in a sleigh if you can fit. The most interesting among the appetizers is moskul, a flatbread that looks like pita but is made of flour, potato, and eggs; it’s accompanied by a sheep’s cream cheese called bryndza and a schmear made of lard studded with bits of smalec, Polish bacon. The lard is delicious, though non-Gorale may find it hard to eat more than a bite or two without health qualms. Entrees don’t do anything to reverse the reputation of Polish food as hearty, though the Highlander’s Special—veal goulash inside a large potato pancake and dotted with sheep’s sour cream—is almost delicate for its kind. So too with dessert: fluffy orange-scented cheese blintzes that came with loads of fruit and vanilla ice cream. Service was a bit blase at an early seating but weekends, when there’s live Gorale music and the bar stays open till 2, are reportedly quite lively. —Michael Gebert

TAC Quick3930 N. Sheridan | 773-327-5253

$Asian, Thai | Lunch, dinner: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday-Saturday | Closed Tuesday | BYO

Young Andy Aroonrasameruang and his likable staff probably make it easier than anywhere else to get traditional stuff the way it’s eaten in Thailand. Aside from the regular menu there’s a clearly translated Thai menu available by request with almost 40 items you’re not likely to encounter elsewhere without a working knowledge of the language—like a salad of shrimp, cashews, and fish maw, sort of a fishy pork rind that soaks up the flavor of the sauce like a crouton. Some were surprisingly rich and luscious for Thai cuisine, like minced chicken sweetened with thick soy sauce, garnished with crispy fried basil leaves, and served over quartered preserved duck eggs. TAC, which stands for Thai Authentic Cuisine, doesn’t do breakfast, but it serves an omelet topped with pieces of chicken breast and doused with green curry that I would love to wake up to. Pad thai—which in many places has turned into the worst kind of bland, oversweetened mush—takes on another life when it’s folded into an omelet. Aroonrasameruang pushes some excellent things on his specials boards too, including a tender grilled pork neck that approaches the narcotic succulence of the best barbecue. He also does a wild-boar curry with green Thai eggplant and meaty chunks of swine rimmed with thick rinds of gorgeous fat. It would take a good week of dedicated eating to work through all the interesting things on the menu. I was lucky enough to attend a special dinner organized by a pal of Aroonrasameruang’s at which the chef prepared a few things not yet put to paper, including a tamarind curry with water spinach and pork loin that he makes for staff meals and a deep-fried mud fish topped with shredded green mango, with a gape wide enough to swallow a puppy. These things aren’t always available, but you might get lucky if you ask. Mike Sula

Terragusto Cafe & Local Market

1851 W. Addison | 773-248-2777

F 8.6 | S 8.0 | A 6.4 | $$$ (5 reports)Italian Dinner: Sunday, Wednesday-Saturday Closed Monday, Tuesday | BYO | Vegetarian friendly

rrr Terragusto is a casual neighborhood cafe that happens to serve house-made pasta as good as—what the hell—any in Chicago. Owner and chef Theo Gilbert, who’s worked at Spiaggia and Trattoria No. 10 and hawked his pasta at the Green City Market, works off a tiny but pristine menu: a handful of antipasti, a half-dozen fresh pastas, and family-style plates of meat and fish, all seared and roasted. A deboned half chicken was glisteningly moist, and if I could I’d order the deeply flavored accompanying spinach as an entree. Baked polenta was texturally perfect, simultaneously yielding and firm; the current version on the seasonal menu is topped with brussels sprouts, potatoes, and truffled fontina cheese. If the thin Swiss chard pasta with Bolognese sauce was underwhelming, the Bolognese missing the fatty sensuality of the best versions, that’s in part because the capallaci—”bishop’s hats”—stuffed with roasted pumpkin and squash were good enough to silence the loudest conversation. Entrees at market prices include Gunthorp Farms organic pork loin and a fish of the day, and there’s a prix fixe option at both two and three courses for two. Terragusto is BYO, with a corkage fee of $1 per person. —Nicholas Day


464 N. Halsted | 312-226-4300

$$$Italian | Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday | Closed Sunday, Monday

Last year chef John Bubala redubbed his restaurant Thyme and moved from a French-Mediterranean menu to one influenced by northern Italian cooking. Such transformations can be risky, with the final result neither fish nor fowl; Bubala, however, has successfully adapted the cuisine to his contemporary approach. Butternut squash ravioli with pancetta were smoky and satisfying; an organic pork loin also currently comes with pancetta as well as polenta and roasted onions. And while I’m not a huge fan of risotto, the ones here are toothsome. For dessert there’s a creme brulee trio. —Heather Kenny

West Town Tavern1329 W. Chicago | 312-666-6175

F 8.3 | S 7.8 | A 8.2 | $$ (26 reports)American Contemporary/Regional | Dinner: Monday-Saturday | Closed Sunday

rrr “Tavern” is a stretch—with exposed brick walls and artfully dressed floor-to-ceiling windows, this is a far cry from a corner tap. As at Zinfandel, Drew and Susan Goss’s previous restaurant, the contemporary American menu emphasizes seasonal ingredients. Starters include mussels, calamari with curried arugula slaw, and a hearty antipasto plate featuring prosciutto, olives, oven-cured tomatos, a rich herbed goat cheese, and a savory braised white bean paste. Entrees range from pan-seared scallops atop mushroom-leek risotto to a meaty roast trout over braised artichokes and fingerling potatoes in a funky, delicious jus full of house-cured bacon to a grilled pork tenderloin with roasted kabocha squash, leeks, and more of that bacon. The wine list has many by-the-glass options, with suggested pairings listed on the menu. Freestyling with the help of an adept waitress, I matched a zippy Washington State Syrah to my fish; my friend tried the “A Thousand Flowers” blend recommended only to discover that a little gewurztraminer goes a long way. —Martha Bayne