It seems Amy Morton has finally accepted her inheritance as beef royalty. Late next month, the Found owner (and daughter of Morton’s Steakhouse maestro Arnie Morton) will open an updated take on the classic steakhouse in a converted Evanston stable. The new digs, aptly titled the Barn (Rear 1016 Church, Evanston, no phone yet), is a partnership between Morton and two longtime collaborators—Found chef Nicole Pederson and general manager Stefen Bosworth.
The address might seem a bit odd (it’s in the alley behind Thai Sookdee), but the building has some great history: It used to be a stable for the Borden Condensed Milk Company, housing the horses that pulled their fleet of milk delivery buggies from 1883 to 1915. After years as a storage facility, the building caught Morton’s eye.
“Actually, she found it before she found Found,” says chef Nicole Pederson, who will split her time between the two kitchens, just five blocks apart.
The 20-foot industrial ceilings allow for lofted seating above the kitchen. There’s no dumbwaiter or elevator, and Pederson says servers will be hoofing it up the stairs. The exact numbers will shift night-to-night, but Morton and Co. are planning for around 65 seats across the two floors—plus 10 at the bar. There might even be room in the 1,800-square-foot space for some live music.
That’s not the only nod to the illustrious beef palaces of the past: The Barn features tableside service. Waitstaff will cart in a diner’s filet, New York strip, or rib eye, and debone it on request. But, Pederson says, don’t expect a slavish devotion to chophouse protocol. Some sides will be á la carte, but the house potatoes—smashed before your very eyes and spiked with bone marrow butter—are included on the plate with the bordelaise and béarnaise. “Admit it,” says Pederson, “you’re ordering steak because you want potatoes and a wonderful sauce.”
For those less inclined to red meat, the Barn will also offer roast chicken, whole or half, served with braised knob onions and plenty of butter and parsley, or a whole fish, also deboned tableside. And… that’s about it. The menu is tiny, but will be augmented by a rotating roster of nightly specials: On Wednesday, chicken pot pie; veal sweetbreads on Thursday; Friday, half a roast duck; Saturday night is for rack of lamb; and Masalda’s lasagna on Tuesday—the recipe and name from Bosworth’s mom.
Of course, the menu doesn’t seem so small when you consider appetizers and desserts. Keep an eye out for the crab leg fondue with golden beet and horseradish purée. On the sweet side: house-made takes on the classics, like a chocolate mousse finished with either cherries jubilee or caramel-y sauce inspired by bananas Foster, and a layer cake courtesy of pastry chef Madeleine Kemeny (Spiaggia, Perennial).
The minimal dishes come courtesy of Pederson’s time abroad in the north and south of France, where “lunch might be a big, elaborate meal starting with cocktails on the patio,” she says, “but it’s still simple at its heart—like a salad tossed with nothing but mustard, vinegar, and olive oil. This is how people eat and cook in their own homes.”
Of course, the price point at the Barn is a little higher than your typical night dining in, but also a bit lower than at your typical steakhouse. Expect the bill to run around $75 per person with wine or a cocktail.
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