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Black Bull--Spanish in Ukranian Village

Black Bull--Spanish in Ukranian Village
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  • Black Bull--Spanish in Ukranian Village

    Post #1 - May 8th, 2019, 6:29 am
    Post #1 - May 8th, 2019, 6:29 am Post #1 - May 8th, 2019, 6:29 am
    We were really blown away by our recent (first) meal at Black Bull. Friends from Spain recommended it an we were excited to try it. The meal surpassed our high expectations.
    We'd had a late lunch on the day we dined there and planned to have a light meal with a few tapas but ended up ordering a bit more than we planned.
    We tried
    Gambas al ajillo--shrimp with garlic, Fresno chiles and chives and ended up ordering extra bread (from Publican) to sop up the sauce
    Pulpo a la Gallega--grilled octopus with Pimenton over smoked mash potatoes. This was a terrific version of octopus--smokey and tender.
    Soppressada Iberica--a new-to-me 'nduja-like sausage spread with goat cheese and caramelized onions served with ciabatta toasts
    Fideua de cerdo Iberica--a fideos dish with Iberico pork shoulder and maitaki mushrooms. This was my favorite dish of the night--we scraped up every bit of crusty noodle/pork/sauce from the bottom of the pain.

    The restaurant is adorable inside with Spanish tiles, cool chandeliers and vintage fabric banquettes. Service was excellent. We were surprised that this place had escaped our radar (and I couldn't find a dedicated post on LTH). Per our server, the restaurant has been there about 7 years--she said it's always been very good but she thinks the chefs have really stepped things up their game in the last year or two. We already have reservations for our next meal there (the lighting is a little dim but we'll try and snap a pic or two). There were lots of interesting things on the menu we'd like to try and they have Jamon Iberico and lots of conservas ("gourmet canning") though we may pass on these in favor of the dishes the kitchen in putting out.
    In sum, this was definitely in our top 2 restaurant meals in the last year--we loved it!

    Edited to add--they also have a very nice wine list. I had a red by the glass from the Alentejo region of Portugal which was delicious and a nice match for the dishes we chose)

    Black Bull
    https://www.blackbullchicago.com
    1721 W. Division Street
    ​Tuesday - Friday 5pm - 2am
    Saturday 5pm - 3am
    Closed Sunday & Monday
    773.227.8600
  • Post #2 - May 8th, 2019, 10:05 am
    Post #2 - May 8th, 2019, 10:05 am Post #2 - May 8th, 2019, 10:05 am
    Thanks, for the detailed and favorable report. This has been on my list for quite some time. I'm definitely going to move it up now. I've had little or no success finding decent Spanish food in town, so this very encouraging.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #3 - May 8th, 2019, 11:44 am
    Post #3 - May 8th, 2019, 11:44 am Post #3 - May 8th, 2019, 11:44 am
    We walk past it fairly often and in nice weather the entire front is open to the street. The interior does look very nice. Same owners as Beatnik, which is a really cool space. Only had drinks at Beatnik a few weeks after they opened.
  • Post #4 - May 11th, 2019, 10:43 am
    Post #4 - May 11th, 2019, 10:43 am Post #4 - May 11th, 2019, 10:43 am
    Incented by this thread being started -- and a geographically convenient opportunity to imbibe at The Violet Hour before dinner -- I met a friend over here the other night. Our experience was mixed but mostly favorable. I thought the sherry selection was great. Palo Cortado Gonzales Byass Leonor 12 Años was out of this world. Just a perfect balance between acidic and sweet, and with a long and delicious, nutty finish. The procured food items -- Tinned Galician Seafood, Cured Meats and Cheeses -- were another highlight.

    For us, cooked items were less consistent. Tortilla was the tastiest of the lot. It was hardly traditional but I really enjoyed the inclusion of blood sausage. Otoh, the exterior was browned a bit too hard. The Romesco with Grilled Broccolini was nicely executed and even though I love broccoli and all its variants, I found myself wishing for more of the headline component. Here, it was relegated to a supporting role at best. Pulpo A La Gallega (Galician-style Octopus, Smoked Mashed Potatoes, Pimentón De La Vera, Extra Virgin Olive Oil) featured tender octopus with a nice exterior crust. Pimenton was applied judiciously to the octopus but the smoked mashed potatoes tasted more scorched than smoked. Instead of complimenting the pimenton, they clashed with it and unfortunately, clouded every bite.

    Priced at $15 per person, Arroz Negro (Bomba Rice, Squid Ink, Calamari, Baby Scallops, Head-on Prawns, Saffron, Parsley Aioli) felt a little skimpy but the flavors were very nice. Maybe a bit more of the calamari and baby scallops would have moved the needle on this one. And one head-on prawn per person seemed a little light, too. $30 for an entree that's predominantly rice and two total prawns is a bit much. But again, it tasted very good and the seafood was not overcooked, which was definitely a good thing.

    Service varied widely, from an unfriendly, indifferent host who was desperately in need of some training (or perhaps, a new line of work) to a server who could not have been more friendly, knowledgeable, competent and engaging. It was annoying that even though we made a reservation, our table was not ready at the appointed time. This was compounded by the unnecessary, tone-deaf text I received from resy.com 30 minutes before our reservation, reminding me that we were "due" at Black Bull in 30 minutes. That was a perfect opportunity -- entirely missed -- to inform us that they were running late. And once we arrived, the oblivious, unapologetic host acted like she was doing us a favor suggesting we sit at the bar while we waited to be seated after our reservation time. No information was provided about how long we'd have to wait. No offer of buying us a drink while we waited was made, either.

    There were a lot of tempting items on the menu for which we didn't have room but I'd like to go back and give it another whirl. In both food and vibe Black Bull reminded me of Spain more than any other place I've been in town. One other plus, the play list, curated by the owner, was really fun. It was an eclectic mix featuring some 70's, some 80's new wave and some Spanish tunes. Good stuff and played at a level at which it was entirely audible without impeding conversation.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #5 - May 11th, 2019, 11:42 am
    Post #5 - May 11th, 2019, 11:42 am Post #5 - May 11th, 2019, 11:42 am
    Have found it decent-good @ best. The real attraction is upstairs @ Bordel.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata

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