Le Bar at Le Bouchon

 

Not the menu, but a list of le best at Le Bouchon

A (mystery) sign behind the bar at Le Bouchon, photo by Tonia Kim

 

If you’ve never been to Bucktown’s French bistro, Le Bouchon, you’re missing out on one of Chicago’s best neighborhood restaurants. Truly. I know, I know, to some extent, every casual restaurant can be considered a neighborhood restaurant of sorts. They’re in a neighborhood, indeed, but are they the kind of place you crave on a weekly basis? A place you know is going to be so solid, so not pretentious, so homey and warm and softly lit that you literally go through withdrawal if you haven’t been there in a while? You can be there at 10:30PM on a Thursday and it’s still crowded with bustling waiters and late-night diners, yet you feel right at home and aren’t ready to call it a night? You just want to stay there in the casual bistro setting and chat with your friends over another bottle of wine? Yeah, OK, maybe you found a place like that in your ‘hood, but the best one I’ve found is Le Bouchon. But I’m not the only one as the restaurant is usually packed, especially on the weekends, and if you walk in on a Saturday night around 7PM, prepare to wait for a table or be booted to the bar, (which we discovered last Saturday night isn’t a bad thing). Our bartender (like the entire staff) was friendly and attentive, our barmates (regulars, no less) were chatty and entertaining. One declared to us that he knew we were just starting our night when he was heading home after dinner (ironically, everyone in my party was heading on home too). And the food, still delicious sans table-space, my regular order is white wine, salad Lyonnaise, steak frites with garlic butter sauce and profiteroles for dessert (like a cream puff stuffed with vanilla ice cream and topped with warm, decadent chocolate sauce). My dining companions got mussels, French onion soup and crème brûlée. Truth is, you should all know about this place, and most of you probably do. Guys, take your dates here, everyone else, take your parents/friends/business associates here, or just sit at the bar by yourself and enjoy. 1958 N. Damen Ave., 773.862.6600

 

Le bar at Le Bouchon (photo by Tonia Kim)

Le bar at Le Bouchon (photo by Tonia Kim)

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