For my 30th birthday, I made only one simple request of my wife: Gastropub. The idea of the gastropub started in England in the second half of the 20th century and revitalized the concept of pub food. I love pub food, but find that many of my favorite watering holes pay careful attention to what’s coming out of the bar, but pay relatively little attention to what’s coming out the kitchen. The Gage is a prime example of what gastropubs can do in terms of quality libations alongside high quality pub food.
I started my dinner with a scotch egg. A scotch egg is a hard boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, breaded, and then deep fried. The Gage serves its scotch egg with whole grain mustard, a dab of an unknown sauce that I couldn’t identify, and a small handful of mixed greens. This was a nice dish, but I felt the flavor fell a little flat.
To start her meal, my wife ordered the House Poutine which is french fries smothered with an elk ragout and cheese curds. Of our two starters, she certainly picked our favorite. This in itself would be worth a trip back to The Gage.
Fearing for our stomachs, we decided to split an order of the soup and we are certainly glad we did. Below is a picture of the Roasted Corn Soup with aleppo peppers, shrimp, and a cilantro oil. The wait staff pours the hot soup into the bowl at table side making for a nice presentation. This is one of the best soups I have ever had in my life and while I could have eaten two or three servings, our one serving was enough for the two of us to share without feeling too stuffed.
I think the mark of a good gastropub is the ability to not only cook a good burger, but make it unique and memorable. Truth be told, I can still taste this burger if I concentrate hard enough. I ordered The Gage burger which is made from USDA Prime beef, and topped with a locally made camembert cheese and an onion marmalade. And best of all, you can’t see it, but this comes with a giant basket of thick cut french fries.
My wife loves risotto and took the opportunity to test The Gage’s cooks and see how good a gastropub chef can make a summertime risotto. The Gage rotates its risotto offerings based on the seasonal ingredients and on this particular day, they were serving an heirloom tomato and basil risotto. The consistency was creamy and rich without a single grain being overcooked. The chefs made this perfectly seasoned and at just the right temperature.
The Gage is one of the best restaurants I ever been too in terms of it’s high quality food, pleasant atmosphere, cleanliness, and promptness of service. Their drink menu is vast and carry a large selection of microbrews and serve all their wines in 8 oz carafes that are perfect for sharing. For all this food plus a couple of drinks, the bill still came in under $100 including standard gratuity. If you live in the Chicago area or plan to visit here in the future, I highly recommend you hit up this Michigan Ave establishment.