Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Prime Cuts

Sliced meat and smoked cocktails at Lawry's new SideDoor


Remember Lawry's? That steakhouse the fam used to hit whenever your grandfather was in town for a prime rib fix?
Guess what? It’s cool now.
Well, maybe not Lawry's itself, but the new gastrolounge located past the Lawry’s bar. Appropriately called SideDoor, it even has its own entrance so you don’t have to bump shoulders with Mag Mile tourists stopping in for a ribeye.

Once through, you'll discover a multi-tiered space revealing brown leather booths, cozy nooks, and an open kitchen, all illuminated by vintage copper light fixtures. Settle into said nook (with the company of your lapsed vegan ladyfriend) for spaghetti squash gratin and mussels beer-braised with Founders Stout.

Then sit back and listen. In a city known for sweet sounds, SideDoor will be booking some of Chicago's best jazz musicians for in-house gigs.

Inevitably, the smell of sizzling meats will make its way to your table, requiring you to order a customizable meat board filled with your choice of prime rib, angus sirloin, short ribs, or roasted turkey breast by the quarter-pound.
If you're just there for the music, grab a seat in the alcove at the tucked-away wood bar and meet your new best friend: the Smoked Negroni, packed with FEW Barrel Aged Gin, Aperol, Italian vermouth, and smoked ice. For her, the Rum Runner’s Soda served with a sprig of rosemary and set on fire.
Fire, meet ice.

SideDoor sidedoorchicago.com
100 E. Ontario St. (at N. Rush St.), River North
(312) 787-6768

Price: 3 (out of 4)
Noise: 2 (out of 4)
Subway: Red Line to Chicago
Scene: An intriguing mix of confused tourists and in-the-know locals looking for the latest sip and bite
Best bets: Carr Valley blue cheese potato chips; house-smoked pastrami; roasted meat board
Nearby: Quartino; Cicchetti; Lawry's

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