Mini-review: Storefront Company

The owners of Debonair open their first restaurant in Wicker Park with an award-winning chef in the kitchen

March 22, 2012|By Lisa Arnett | For RedEye

Mini-review: Storefront Company
1941 W. North Ave. 773-661-2609
Rating: !!! (out of 4) Off to a good start

The scene: Wicker Park’s newest restaurant has the same owners as Debonair Social Club, but it couldn’t be more different. They’re both located in the Flat Iron Building, but where Debonair is all black paint, dark dance floors and PBR-clutching scenesters, Storefront Company is white-washed and light-filled. Young couples from the neighborhood dined next to wine-sipping white hairs—perhaps they’re loyal Food & Wine magazine subscribers who remember chef Bryan Moscatello for his “Best New Chef” accolade, which he earned back in 2003 working for a Denver restaurant called Adega?

Loved it: Storefront Company is serving “modern farm cuisine,” which just sounded to me like a different way to describe the seasonal/local approach that most chefs have these days. But Moscatello, who most recently cooked in Washington, D.C. before coming to Chicago, is cooking dishes I haven’t seen elsewhere. Entrees star familiar meats and seafood paired with offbeat sidekicks, such as monkfish set atop short rib fried rice ($24, pictured) and perfectly rare lamb with a miniature savory jelly roll filled with red onion. Though the dishes skew fancy, management is trying hard to make it feel like a neighborhood spot, and those little gestures—like help putting on my coat and a parting gift of chocolate-coconut macaroons— go a long way.

Hated it: The quinoa fries ($7) sounded like a fun starter to share, but earned an early spot on my list of the stupidest things I’ve eaten this year (and said list has just one thing on it so far). Our server suggested we dip each fry in the provided pile of sheep’s milk cheese and madeira granita, but the tiny fries break in half as soon as you pick them up and I couldn’t so much scoop up cheese shavings and grains of granita so much as awkwardly poke at them. The cocktail menu sticks close to classics and my apricot-tinged manhattan was boozily delicious, but it’s not cool to charge $14 for it when you’re blocks from the craft-cocktail measuring stick that is The Violet Hour and they charge $12.

Bottom line: Minus a couple gripes, I like what I tasted at Storefront. I’d definitely return, but next time would try the multi-course meal served at the four-seat kitchen counter to really see what Moscatello is capable of. 

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