Late Night Eats at The Bluebird

0 Posted by - January 23, 2008 - Things We've Eaten

Gluttons hit The Bluebird the other night to see if it’s possible to eat good food after 10 PM in the U. S. of A. And, guess what? Eff you, Spain: we can kill some late-night pork too. This joint serves food until like 1 AM, and everything we had was at least above average. Granted, they didn’t have a wall of suckling pigs like Casa Botin in Madrid–so Spain wins–but I think we’ll manage.


The kitchen at Casa Botin, Madrid, Spain. They don’t show Babe: Pig In the City here.

A note about Botin: While probably touristy, this place fucking murders. It’s supposed to be the oldest restaurant in the world and a Hemingway favorite. Roy was tepid about his suckling pig, but I savored mine like it was the last unbroken Pringle in the can. I’ve never had moister pork, and they still managed a thin crispy skin. I even ate the cute little piece of curly tail that was still attached to my chop.

But back to The Bluebird and Chicago, where it was snowing hard Monday night when we decided to get out. Typically we’d stay up top in that kind of weather, but it’s not like Edgewater’s brimming with late-night prosciutto options, so Marylin pointed the Corolla southward and we headed to Bucktown or whatever neighborhood we’re calling that stretch of Damen.

Bluebird is long and narrow with a front room dominated by the bar and a back room solely for dining. Tables are lined neatly along a banquette that runs most of the length of the building. Lighting is low, brick is exposed, the waiter was rocking hip frames, blah blah blah. I’m sure you can imagine the rest.

We started off with the drink menu, which includes an extensive wine selection and a solid beer list. I had a red from Rioja (probably ’cause I was feeling the Spanish thing) which I liked quite a bit. I was actually looking for a drinkable beer, something well-balanced and tasty like a Samuel Smith lager, but I got annoyed by all the gigantic beers in the American section of the list and just switched to wine. Why everyone’s got such an enormous boner for excessively high ABV beer I’ll never know. Might as well pour a couple shots of gin in your beer. It’s the same thing. Alcohol should not be a tasting note.

But the food. We ordered three types of flat bread to start, all of which were pleasing. We especially got down with the Serrano ham one, but I had no complaints about the smoked caper and cream cheese or the mushroom versions. If anything the mushrooms would’ve been better suited for a thinner slice of bread or even a cracker, but whatever. I ate it and liked it.


Remember when there was only one set of footprints. Yeah, well, now there’re three. And they don’t taste like toe jam.

Flatbreads devoured, we moved onto the main course. I had the beer-braised rabbit on fettuccine with shallots, mushrooms, and bacon. The rabbit was moist, almost creamy, definitely something I’d re-up on. We also had the baconed pork chop, which looked like it was going to be the most flavorless piece of meat this side of Greta Van Susteren. If it hadn’t been for the grill marks I’d’ve thought it was raw. Turned out to be some book cover shit, though, ’cause it was full of smoky, hammy flavor that matched my wine perfectly. Maybe a tad salty, but it’s pork for chrissakes, right? And then the scallops, which were slightly charred on the edges but firm and smooth inside.


Beer-braised rabbit. You could bottle the juice and sell it.


Baconed pork chop. Who knew bacon was a verb?


These are scallops. Get with them.

As always, we ordered extras just to see. From the sides section, we ate up a bowl of green beans with bacon and mushrooms and frites with garlic aoli and curry catchup. Both were phenomenal. The beans were crunchy and slightly soft in the middle, just like I make them for myself. (A quick boil, a blanch, and then a saute.) The frites, also, were crunchy on the outside and soft inside, the way they ought to be. But the dipping sauces really made them. The curry catchup was growing addicting until I switched over to the aoli, which was fluffy and gleaming, full of airy goodness that disappeared on the tongue.


Hark! A boat of string beans glistens deliciously in the low, winter glow of Chicago gastro-pub, The Bluebird.


Frites are a variation of French fries, which were invented by McDonald’s.

Murder was the case.

And then dessert, a sweet and salty combination of nuts and baklava, which tasted like it had peanut butter in it. Also on the plate: chocolate-covered figs that were not too sweet and dried apricots. We washed it down with mugs of coffee, the caffeine from which I felt coursing through my veins when I laid down to sleep a few hours later. This was the only ordering mistake we made the entire night, caffeinated coffee. Everything else was really, really good. If I was camping and this meal was on the picnic table and we were attacked by wolves, I’d wrestle at least two of them for it.


Every good boy deserves Baklava. (That’s an Eastern scale. You probably don’t know it.)


  • avatar
    Roy January 25, 2008 - 1:29 am Reply

    “I even ate the cute little piece of curly tail that was still attached to my chop.”

    – That actually made me shudder.

  • avatar
    dotty July 9, 2008 - 7:59 am Reply

    I went there twice recently, and the food is still wonderful (especially the frites). One thing appears to have changed — the flatbreads are actually more like those at Crust (read: pizzas) instead of the crostoni featured in the pics above. They do have “toasts” now though, so maybe they just renamed the menu items.

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