HB Home Bistro: Fantastic Value in East Lakeview

May 15 2009 - 12:23 AM

HB Home Bistro is in the same location as the much lauded “Hearty Boys”, and one of their cooks bought the place after they stepped aside.   HB is one of those great Chicago restaurants that serves gourmet food and has a BYOB policy.     Situated in the Boystown strip, HB has increasingly received recognition, and we have been turned away twice (whereas we used to walk in and get a table on a Friday night).

Lately, HB has embraced the mysterious world of Dutch cooking.  Despite having been to the Netherlands I am hard pressed to identify a Dutch specialty, other than maybe their pancakes, their beer (Heineken, Amstel, and Grolsch) , and cheese (Gouda and Edam).    Chef Joncarl Lachman has enthusiastically thrown his Dutch roots into the kitchen by setting HB apart with its unusual offerings.

My first course was called zaanse mosterdsoep, a  mustard soup with carrots, celery, onions and chicken broth with candied bacon bouncy castle for sale on top.  It was a light, refreshing spring soup.    My wife’s course was snert, which is a Dutch split pea soup with duck sausage, potatoes, celery, and onions.

For my main course I had a delicious duck sausage a l’orange on top of white beans, orange peels, and served with ramp pesto and dijon mustard.   The bratwurst-like duck sausage’s fat was a great counterpart to the acid in the white beans and orange peel.

My wife’s main course was comfort food a la gourmet:  the “hb lamb burger” on pretzel bread, which was served with tomatoes, onions, and brie cheese and served with truffled french fries and garlic mayonnaise.     The fries were good but the truffle oil thing is a bit overdone in restaurants, since truffle oil typically is nothing more than chemicals that mimick the smell of real white truffles.

The dessert was a pana cotta with lavender and black currant, a pleasant course, though Trattoria Riccardo in Lincoln Park is my gold standard for Pana Cotta (and very hard to beat).

HB Home Bistro is beyond a nice little neighborhood hangout–it sets itself apart with its unique menu items and offers a cozy setting with fantastic food and helpful, knowledgeable, yet unpretentious service.