Punk fan or not, you should visit Good Measure (226 W. Chicago Ave.), the newest addition to the River North dining scene. The restaurant and bar’s setting draws inspiration from counter-culture, and it will serve food by Chef Matt Troost (Charlatan, Three Aces), with a cocktail program directed by Sophia de Oliveira (Osteria Langhe, Cold Storage). It is set to open Thursday.
Good Measure takes over the space formerly occupied by Bistro Voltaire and boasts a glam take on a classic Chicago bar. The room, decorated by Siren Betty Design, features tons of red lights, black-and-white tiled floors, and high-backed booths. Once it starts thumping with a punk-filled playlist, this will likely be an energetic, late-night space. It’s open until 2 a.m., with the kitchen closing an hour before last call.
Troost, who built up a loyal following at Charlatan, has created a menu of funky takes on bar food, some of which you won’t find anywhere else. Think Nashville hot duck livers, PBR-steamed mussels, and Sardinian flatbread with watermelon radish.
“It’s a little bit more interesting then you’re going to find at your local watering hole,” says Troost. “I’m a huge fan of big flavors. I go full-on spice with everything.”
Take those duck livers, for instance. They’re fried, blasted with spice, and served with a dill pickle romesco sauce—inspired by the dill pickles and bread usually served with Nashville hot chicken. Then there’s the kitchen’s homemade sausage, which Troost calls a “Polished Polish.” Not only does the encased meat feature truffle, but it’s also adorned with caramelized onions that are cooked down with foie gras to give the whole dish more body and heightened flavor.
Troost has also carefully designed the menu so plates beg to be divided among friends. “There are only a few things where you need a fork or spoon—everything else you can smear on bread or eat with your hands,” he says. “For me, that makes it feel like the kind of place where you want to share.”
One thing you’re probably not going to be cutting up is the burger, which is loaded with a double patty, smoked American cheese, and an “extra heavy” mayo stuffed with roasted garlic. As an added luxury, you can embellish your bun with any topping of your choice—as long as the kitchen has it. “If you can look on the menu and think, you could put that on the burger, we’ll put it on the burger,” says Troost. “You can add the foie, onions, avocado crema from the flatbread, a whole piece of burrata. If we can fit it on there, we’ll make it work.”
As for cocktails, de Oliveira’s beverage menu is relatively no-frills, comprising a list of three-ingredient libations. Don’t miss the Toki Highball Machine, though, which is one of the only ones you’ll find in a Chicago bar. The sleek device, distributed by Suntory Toki, dispenses perfectly chilled whiskey cocktails without dilution. At Good Measure, it seems that simple but elevated is the name of the game.
"You’re not walking into a place where you need a glossary to read the menu," Troost says. When you're slamming that burger with foie at 1 a.m., the only term you'll need to look up is "satisfied."