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The Boarding House

720 N. Wells
Chicago  Illinois  60654
United States
(312) 280-0720
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Midwest Living Review

Jess Hoffert
An open, elegant dining area and superb waitstaff elevate meals at this fab Near North Chicago establishment.

The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into the Boarding House is a bar chandelier made from nearly 10,000 wine glasses. An elevator whisks guests to a sprawling third-floor dining room with massive windows overlooking Wells Street. Here, you'll find another stunning ceiling installment—this one composed of over 4,000 wine bottles. Happily, the food lives up to the inventive decor.

Serving dinner only, the Boarding House is master sommelier Alpana Singh’s first shot at running a restaurant, and the former host of "Check, Please!" clearly pays close attention to detail. The wine list almost overwhelms with more than 450 entries ranging from $38 to over $800 per bottle. If diners have questions, knowledgeable servers are usually able to describe the bouquet as well as the history of the vineyards.

Food options lean toward exotic and change frequently, but there are plenty of choices to please all tastes and palates. On our visit, the beautifully presented jamon serrano appetizer ($13) proved a harmonious blend of flavors and textures with creamy smoked ricotta, braised radicchio and crunchy candied hazelnuts. Entrees cover seafood, chicken, lamb, pork and steak dishes ($20 to $38). Our generous portion of succulent chicken thighs ($24) arrived with fingerling potatoes and a tasty garlic confit. The somewhat gristly New York strip steak ($38) was slightly disappointing, but the asparagus, roasted carrots and potato puree on the side were all masterfully prepared. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with the lemon cheesecake ($9) if it’s available.

Visited: 
August 10, 2013

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