With Father’s Day just around the corner, I can assure you that some of Chicago’s best restaurants have already been booked well in advance. One restaurant, that will certainly be seeing the presence of many Dad’s this weekend is none other than steakhouse extraordinaire Lawry’s. Famous for their Prime Rib, Lawry’s has attracted many diners to the elegant space. Located in the historic McCormick Mansion, is a meat lover’s paradise. In the luxurious dining hall, diners gather as they devour the luscious slabs of meat served and carved in silver pristine silver carts. Guests leave completely satisfied, knowing they had the opportunity to have a memorable meal at Lawry’s.
However, eating some of the finest Prime Rib on a regular basis can get quite expensive, which is where next door neighbor SideDoor comes in. Just steps away from Lawry’s is River North’s new favorite American-style gastropub SideDoor. While still offering prime selections of meat and delectable offerings, diners can now get a savory meal during their lunch break.
Recently I had the opportunity to preview SideDoor’s new lunch menu. The expansive menu is always changing with each of the selections getting more inventive. Let’s just say you’ll be getting a lot more than your average ham & cheese sandwich for lunch. While the offerings are just meant for a quick break from the office, the selections are so appetizing, you may find it quite difficult to make your return back to work.
To begin the evening of lunch time delight, of course, I couldn’t resist not trying out one of their cocktails. For my first cocktail, I selected the Gin Garden. This cocktail comprised of Hendricks gin, strawberry, rosemary, lemon, and plum bitters. Later I ordered the Buena Vida which comprised of Dos Maderas rum, passion fruit, lime, three pepper syrup, and ancho chili. The Buena Vida was my favorite cocktail of the evening. Both had a good balance without being too strong or fruity. While the cocktails are absolutely marvelous, SideDoor has quite the impressive Beer selection. With some of the finest and rare Beers in Chicago, this is the go-to spot for beer enthusiasts.
Of course with any meal, one must start with appetizers. For the first selection, we were brought out Deviled Eggs which comprised of mustard, cornichon, bacon, and paprika. In my opinion, Deviled Eggs can be a hit or miss if not properly seasoned. However, with SideDoor’s all of the ingredients perfectly complimented one another making for a wonderful dish. For a little light snack to kick off your meal, the Deviled Eggs are a great addition.
Next up was the Fried Dill Pickles. First let me say that I almost always pick off pickles on pretty much any of my meals. Needless to say, I am not a pickle lover. To my surprise, I was quite satisfied with the Fried Dill Pickles dipped in Chipotle Ranch. It reminded me of just eating french fries with a punch more flavor. If you love pickles, I can’t see why you wouldn’t order this dish. While it’s not my first choice per say, this dish was made for all of you pickle lovers in mind.
The Beef Tenderloin Nachos were more up my alley as I am a ferocious Nacho lover. This dish comprised of white bean pico de gallo, pickled jalapeño, Pepper Jack, and sour cream. Of the appetizers, this was my favorite dish. Since the nachos were layered, each piece was oozing with all of the ingredients. Fellow nacho lovers know that it is quite unfortunate when you get a plain chip as you are dipping through your nachos. With SideDoor, no chip is left out as each bite is just as delicious.
For those seeking a light fare, in comes the Springtime Burrata Salad and the Fried Brussels Sprout Salad. The Burrata Salad features gem lettuce, grilled asparagus, English peas, fava beans, with Meyer lemon vinaigrette. The Brussel Sprout Salad features carrot, dried, cranberry, candied pecans, and sweet chili vinaigrette. Of the two salads, I would more than likely order the Brussel Sprout. In my opinion, it had much more flavor than the Burrata. However, it depends on one’s preference. For those that like green salads the Burrata is your go-to if you want a salad that doesn’t feel like a salad then the Brussel Sprout Salad may be more up your alley.
With lunch, it’s quite common for one to order a sandwich of some sort. However, with SideDoor as I warned you earlier, you will not be served an ordinary sandwich. Of the sandwiches, we sampled The Koji, The Roger, and Mansion Burger. The Koji featured Lawry’s famous Prime Rib, rosemary aioli, mozzarella, and satuèed spinach. The Roger featured house pastrami, caramelized onions, Gruyere cheese, horseradish mayo and griddled sourdough. Both sandwiches were incredibly delicious, especially the Koji. However, if you really want to make everyone jealous of your lunch order, order the Mansion Burger. This whopping masterpiece comprised of 1/4lb Angus beef patties, 2 oz Lawry’s Prime Rib, beef bacon, au jus aioli, blue cheese, iceberg lettuce, giardiniera, and topped off with a brioche bun. As soon as you take a bite all of the juices immediately pour out. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t be surprised if you had to take this massive burger to go.
For those who don’t want a massive burger digesting during work, SideDoor’s Blackened Grouper will satisfy your needs. It was seasoned with a medley of sweet peppers and sat atop roasted corn puree. Because of the seasoning and the proper cooking techniques, this made the taste incredibly delicious. Even those who wouldn’t normally order fish would appreciate SideDoor’s Grouper.
As the meal comes to a close, we just so happened to have room for dessert as we made room for the Sticky Toffee Pudding with crème anglaise. To wash it down, we drank a twist on the childhood favorite root beer “Not Your Father’s Root Beer”. As I drank the root beer, I thought to myself that it tasted just like regular root beer. So what made it so special? Well for one it has a 10.7% ABV, which means this delicious drink can be quite dangerous if you forget you are drinking boozy root beer. It was the perfect compliment to the smooth and sweet toffy pudding. If you have room for dessert, be sure to order this combo.
Based on all of the wonderful dishes offered at SideDoor, I think it’s safe to say your lunch will be the envy of your office.