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Mini-review: Northdown Cafe and Taproom

We belly up to this vegan-friendly bar

February 08, 2012|By RedEye Staff | RedEye

Northdown Cafe and Taproom
3244 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-697-7578
Rating: !!! 1/2 (out of four) Like but not love

The scene:  Tucked into a crowded block of Lincoln Avenue, we almost walked past the front door while we were trying to find the bar in a downpour. Inside, the sleek main bar extends almost the length of the room, providing plenty of seating if you just want to catch a drink. For parties that need a little more room, tables take up the rest of the space in the main room, with extra seating in a more cozy dining area tucked away in the back.  And did I mention the two working pinball machines tucked away by the bathroom? Excellent addition.

The drinks: Cheers to another excellent beer list popping up in this neighborhood.  There was hardly a single beer on the list of drafts and bottles that I wasn’t interested in trying.  And the price was right too with 3 Floyds Gumballhead and Allagash White both on draft for $5. After a few rounds and a full table of food, my party was offered a round of drinks on the house—a gesture that’s always remembered.

The bites:  Dishes that can be made vegan are marked with a (v) symbol on the menu and it’s amazing just how many options there are.  The two vegetarian dishes we tried were actually the best of the meal, with the creamy roasted garlic and white bean dip (served with ciabatta toast) and the savory vegan cassoulet (a mix of wild mushrooms, navy beans, kale and just enough polenta) being the most well-seasoned dishes on the table.  Other vegan options included a seitan philly, complete with vegan cheese sauce, and a roasted spring veggie sandwich.  Just be sure to save room for dessert. One word for you: Pie.

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