The goal of Boltwood, the Evanston Farm-to-Table collaboration between John Kim of Brothers K Coffehouse and Brian Huston of The Publican fame, is to “make our regulars feel like new customers and our new customer to feel like regulars.” I was intrigued by this statement, and wanted to see what dining at Boltwood was all about!
I knew the location of Boltwood from former LuLu’s fame (which elected to close doors after 21 years of delish dim sum), and love the buzzy downtown Evanston atmosphere that it delivers. First impression- I loved the space. It is modern yet cozy, which is such a difficult ambiance to deliver. One wall of the restaurant is comprised of oversize picture windows, bathing the entire north side in early evening light.
We were promptly greeted and seated, with our ebullient server dispensing tidbits of knowledge about the restaurant and cuisine. The cocktail menu was intriguing, which is an excellent quality when I visit a new hot spot. I ordered the Beurre D’Anjou, which was comprised of Modest Vodka, Pur Pear Liquor, Lillet Blanc and Lemon. It was served in a retro coupe, well-chilled and perfectly blended. I am a sucker for pear anything as long as it isn’t sticky sweet, and this did not disappoint. My husband ordered a pint of Revolution’s Galaxy-Hero, a delicious American IPA (which is my new favorite brew- please pick some up for me if you find it!).
We were presented with a jar of Castelventrano Olives and pickled peppers- I adore how attention to even the serving dishes was taken into consideration!
Since Boltwood’s menu is meant for sharing and changes frequently, we took turns selecting items that jumped off the menu until we assembled a satisfactory amount. The dishes come from the kitchen as they are ready, our first being the Roasted Sweet Potato Ponzu Salad. It included broccoli, avocado, miso and peanuts- a tad spicy, and somehow reminiscent of a mild yet unique sushi roll in the form of a fresh salad. This was probably my favorite bite!
Next up- Crispy Potatoes with garlic schmaltz (yes, I had to Google what schmaltz was, but I have no doubt the staff would have given an appetizing description). I would have added a tad more garlic, but otherwise these were absolute perfection. They cut the potatoes into hefty chunks, managed to get them crispy on the outside and almost creamy on the inside, and served alongside a to-die-for dipping sauce.
Our main dishes were Grilled Hangar Steak (which I ordered Medium Rare, which is tough to do on a thin steak such as this) and Scallops. Both were delicious- the steak was seared to my specified taste, and the scallops were caramelized on the outside and buttery soft on the inside.
My second cocktail was “Beets”- Beet-Infused City of London Gin, Orgeat, Mint, Citrus, House Grapefruit Bitters. It arrived as a bright red, slightly frothy concoction on the rocks. I would have enjoyed even more beet flavor, but mostly because my palate isn’t as used to gin as most. I do think it was well-balanced and offered an offbeat take on a Pink Lady.
Dessert consisted of Chocolate Tureen with pistachio, caramel and honey cognac chantilly. If I could have just consumed a bowl of the caramel sauce, I would have been a happy gal. The chocolate tureen wasn’t overly sweet- fairly reminiscent of pure unsweetened cocoa as opposed to rich chocolate.
Both owners were on site that evening, with Brian in the kitchen and John dropping in on tables and tending to guests. It seems like their partnership is very complementary, and the vibe works. They have an incredible amount of staff, which means you are never left stranded at your table without a refill or plate clearing. I highly recommend Boltwood for a casual bite or a long, sumptuous gourmet dinner.
As for the fashion, I am LOOOVING long-sleeved maxi dresses right now, particularly wraps. The weather is still disgustingly chilly in the Midwest, so I haven’t abandoned limb-covering outfits. This particular dress is from LuLu’s– and at $58, it won’t break the budget. I think this is a perfectly affordable option for this DVF dress I am obsessed with:
As for the shoes, I paired my BCBG gold d’orsay pumps (a staple- similar here by Steve Madden), a Kendra Scott “Dylan” necklace in black (goes with everything), and Rocksbox earrings (want your first month free to this jewelry subscription box? Use code shopgirldailyxoxo). The clutch is a Linea Pelle that features a great chunky chain, but I am loving this laser cut gold clutch. As for the hair- my newest obsession is a bun pin- yes, jewelry for your hair. I purchased this sold-out Kitsch piece a few months ago, but there are about ten others that are available and adorable. This particular geometric crown is on my wish list!
Hope you enjoy your date night!! Let me know if you check out Boltwood and how your experience was!