Branch 27’s bread pudding
1371 West Chicago Avenue; 312-850-2700
In late November, Branch 27, a West Town newbie, closed for remodeling. A bad sign—almost always followed by RIP. But in ten days flat, B27 reopened and plowed ahead. Seems they got a new chef, John Manion (remember Mas?), who rechristened the place a modern tavern, which apparently means he can cook whatever he wants: like trendy flatbreads, grilled salads (miracles of taste and texture), and traditional steak tartare—all terrific. So, too, juicy striped bass and cassoulet stocked with lamb meatballs and killer goose sausage. Everyone in this lively gastropub looks happy; maybe it’s the candied pecans that come with the silky panna cotta. Or maybe it’s because Manion knows what he’s doing.
TIP: $5 Svedka Bloody Marys all day Sunday; $5 house sparkling mimosas and bellinis
PRICE KEY: ¢ $10 to $19 $ $20 to $29 $$ $30 to $39 $$$ $40 to $49 $$$$ $50-plus
[Cost per person for dinner, excluding wine, tax, or tip]
Photograph: Anna Knott