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Owen & Engine
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  • Post #31 - June 25th, 2011, 9:21 am
    Post #31 - June 25th, 2011, 9:21 am Post #31 - June 25th, 2011, 9:21 am
    My wife and I had a wonderful dinner at Owen & Engine after a 3-mile walk from our home.

    Our beverages were an Aventius weizenbock (dark wheat beer) for me and the house "take" on a Pimm's cup for my wife (which she enjoyed immensely).

    The charcutrie plate offered a variety of house-made sausages, pork rillettes, some kind of dry-cured ham and - best of all - a pork liver pate.

    My wife had the fish and chips, which were among the best (if not the best) I've had in Chicago - the coating was nicely done and not at all greasy and the fish (haddock) itself was flaky and tasty. My dry-aged ribeye (sourced from Creekstone Farms) was melt-in-your mouth good and better than steaks that I have had in some traditional steakhouses (e.g. Gibsons, Capital Grill, Chicago Chop House) and was accompanied by an unusual, flat Yorkshire pudding (it almost looked like a pita or a chalupa shell) with a Worcestershire reduction.

    We shared a nice trio of mascrapone turnowvers stuffed with strawberries and accompanied by a very sweet (maybe too sweet strawberry sauce.


    We've dined here for lunch/brunch twice prior to this visit and also enjoyed those meals. O & E is on par with Longman & Eagle although it doesn't get quite as much attention as the one Michelin starred L & E.
  • Post #32 - July 16th, 2011, 10:20 am
    Post #32 - July 16th, 2011, 10:20 am Post #32 - July 16th, 2011, 10:20 am
    After a great meal at Owen & Engine last month, a friend & I returned last weekend. Overall, we weren't as wowwed as we were during our original meal. A few hits, a couple misses and a server who just wasn't as good as our server the first time.

    Server: One of my pet peeves is the server who repeatedly blows by the table, offers a quick "How's it goin', guys?" barely listens to to the answer and then responds, "Great!" no matter what you say. We had one of those servers on our most recent visit. It's possible he was slammed, but ground floor was no more than half full, so I doubt it. On our first visit, I discussed my beer preferences with the server and she offered a lot of insight, suggestions and--without hesitation--offered samples of a few beers. The server during our second visit was much less helpful and didn't offer samples even though I was waffling between several beers.

    Food: One of the things I like & appreciate about Owen & Engine is that their menu changes according to what's in season. The downside is that some dishes may not be tried and true, so you're apt to get a dud.

    We re-ordered the charcuterie platter and the scallop dish, both of which were favorites on our first visit, and found that each had been tweaked sufficiently that neither was as good as it was the first time. One of the big misses: The charcuterie featured a lamb pate (though it might have been called a lamb terrine) that tasted, as my friend put it, like puke. Strong sour/acidic flavor. For the scallop dish, the number of scallops had been reduced, the crispy prosciutto disappeared and was replaced with a big chuck on pork belly...the dish just didn't come together as it had before.

    We also ordered something that was described as a chilled summer soup which appeared to be nothing more than skim milk (maybe subtly flavored with some herbs but I couldn't really taste them) over a few peas, a sliced potato and perhaps another vegetable or two. It was just a strange, flavorless soup, if it could even be called that.

    We did try the hamburger, which has been raved about in prior posts. My disclaimer: I'm not a huge burger eater, but I though it was pretty good. My friend--who eats far more burgers than I do and ate more of this one--said it was one of the best burgers he'd had in Chicago this year. The fries were excellent. (I'm a thin-cut fan & there were slightly thicker than I prefer, but very crisp & salty, which is how I like them.)
  • Post #33 - July 28th, 2011, 7:35 am
    Post #33 - July 28th, 2011, 7:35 am Post #33 - July 28th, 2011, 7:35 am
    Went for the first time last night. Shared the charcuterie plate, followed by a burger, accompanied by a stout, and all I can say is--wow.
  • Post #34 - July 28th, 2011, 12:18 pm
    Post #34 - July 28th, 2011, 12:18 pm Post #34 - July 28th, 2011, 12:18 pm
    Phil Vettel gave them a solid 3-star: http://trib.in/pp5el0
  • Post #35 - July 28th, 2011, 4:22 pm
    Post #35 - July 28th, 2011, 4:22 pm Post #35 - July 28th, 2011, 4:22 pm
    This is a place that continues to wow me with the unpretentiousness of their food and the slam dunk execution. I was almost sad that they make the best burger that I've ever had. Mostly because they cooked it medium-medium well when ordered rare. And it still outshined. Pretty amazing and I have yet to have a so-so dish here.
  • Post #36 - August 12th, 2011, 5:40 pm
    Post #36 - August 12th, 2011, 5:40 pm Post #36 - August 12th, 2011, 5:40 pm
    NobleSquirrel wrote:This is a place that continues to wow me with the unpretentiousness of their food and the slam dunk execution. I was almost sad that they make the best burger that I've ever had. Mostly because they cooked it medium-medium well when ordered rare. And it still outshined. Pretty amazing and I have yet to have a so-so dish here.

    Agreed. There aren't many places I can think of where the burgers are overcooked and still rank among the best around but based on my first experience at Owen & Engine couple of weeks ago, I'd say it definitely falls into this category.

    My wife and I stopped in for a late Saturday afternoon lunch and ordered off the Pub Menu. We came away impressed . . .

    Image
    Owen & Engine - 2700 N. Western Ave, Chicago


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    Pork Rinds - piment d'Espelette
    A tasty starter and the heat level was very nice.


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    Pork Rillettes - sweet pickles, lavash
    The only clunker in the bunch. The rillettes were bland (we didn't finish them) but the pickles were sensational.


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    Chicken Wings - Gunthorp Farms, piment d'Espelette, chive creme fraiche
    Piping hot, crispy, citrusy and peppery.


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    Burger - Slagel Farms beef, caramelised onion, gruyere, rasher


    Image
    Burger (cheese and rasher are extra $)

    Yes, the burger was ordered medium-rare but came out medium at best. We were hungry and it was late so we didn't quibble. That said, once we took a bite it mattered not that it was cooked beyond what we ordered. It was delicious and juicy with a notably beefy flavor -- almost as if roasted beef fat had been ground back into it. Whatever, it was sensational.

    As has been posted above, the beer list is quite impressive and the spirit selection is respectable, too. My wife had a cask-aged Arcadia Whitsun (one of 4 cask-aged ales available on this day) and I had a Bockor Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge. Service was friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. This is a place to which I will be returning on a regular basis. If they can cook a burger to order, I may implode with joy upon eating it. :D

    =R=
    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 #37 - August 14th, 2011, 2:01 pm
    Post #37 - August 14th, 2011, 2:01 pm Post #37 - August 14th, 2011, 2:01 pm
    Had my first O&E visit last night with my wife of six days (woot!). Didn't get to try the burger, so I'll have to go back soon, and can't wait.

    We got to drink Bell's Kalamazoo stout side-by-side from the tap and from the cask. It was surprising to see just how different the beers tasted and felt with the distinct temperatures and carbonations.

    The other thing I wanted to remark on are the three-word beer descriptions -- Each beer I tried, I then read the descriptions, and they always blew me away with their level of accuracy and succinctness. I could tell a cicerone was behind the pen (or, keyboard). Never before have I read beer descriptions that so helpfully tell me what the drink will actually taste like, instead of sounding overly flowery or full of empty promises of chimerical flavors.
    pizza fun
  • Post #38 - August 20th, 2011, 12:16 am
    Post #38 - August 20th, 2011, 12:16 am Post #38 - August 20th, 2011, 12:16 am
    My most recent visit to O&E wasn't as wonderful as my first. This was a mid-week visit at about 10:30 pm. The burger, this time ordered and cooked rare, was very good, even though it didn't taste quite as beefy as it did the previous time. Fries were great again.

    This time, the wings were so doused with vinegar, they were almost inedible. Last time there were wonderful and well-balanced. This time, not even approaching that territory.

    Fish and chips did not impress me but I was sharing and was the last person at the table to try them. Perhaps they had cooled substantially in those moments because the fish was not crispy but the flavor just wasn't there, either.

    I felt bad because I'd been raving about the place and took a friend who'd never been. None of us were really happy with an experience that did not live up to the expectations set at my first visit. I'll definitely be back but less confidently.

    =R=
    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 #39 - August 20th, 2011, 9:48 am
    Post #39 - August 20th, 2011, 9:48 am Post #39 - August 20th, 2011, 9:48 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Fish and chips did not impress me but I was sharing and was the last person at the table to try them. Perhaps they had cooled substantially in those moments because the fish was not crispy but the flavor just wasn't there, either.

    Just to provide another data point...I was at O&E this past Monday night for my second visit. On the first, I had the marvelously beefy burger. This time, I ordered the fish & chips, on the strength of word that it was the best in the city.

    I found it to be the best in the city, and the best I've ever had anywhere. The fish was beautifully fresh, moist, and buttery in flavor; the coating perfectly light yet doing its bit to take the whole experience to the next level. The ample portion sated me before I finished it, but I had to eat every last bite anyway, just because the flavor was so transcendently good.
  • Post #40 - August 20th, 2011, 11:25 am
    Post #40 - August 20th, 2011, 11:25 am Post #40 - August 20th, 2011, 11:25 am
    riddlemay wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Fish and chips did not impress me but I was sharing and was the last person at the table to try them. Perhaps they had cooled substantially in those moments because the fish was not crispy but the flavor just wasn't there, either.

    Just to provide another data point...I was at O&E this past Monday night for my second visit. On the first, I had the marvelously beefy burger. This time, I ordered the fish & chips, on the strength of word that it was the best in the city.

    I found it to be the best in the city, and the best I've ever had anywhere. The fish was beautifully fresh, moist, and buttery in flavor; the coating perfectly light yet doing its bit to take the whole experience to the next level. The ample portion sated me before I finished it, but I had to eat every last bite anyway, just because the flavor was so transcendently good.

    Very good to know. Based on my first experience (and my current schedule), I really want to rely on and love this place.

    =R=
    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 #41 - August 23rd, 2011, 1:23 pm
    Post #41 - August 23rd, 2011, 1:23 pm Post #41 - August 23rd, 2011, 1:23 pm
    Stopped here last Sunday around 5-ish. Plenty of seats available but we like sitting at the bar so we went upstairs and relaxed with some beers while pondering what we wanted. Started with a dozen oysters and an order of the pork rinds. I'm more of a traditionalist and don't tend to order oysters in the non-R months but Mrs. Kman had a jones for them so there you go - 1/2 dozen Kumamotos and another 1/2 dozen whose name escapes me but were from the west coast. Well shucked and nicely presented with a tasty mignonette which, in this case, really added to them IMO as that "right out of the water" briny taste I enjoy didn't seem to be there (Shaw's is my usual Chicago oyster destination). $5 for pork rinds? Really? But then, wow, what pork rinds! I'm going to be hard pressed not to order these every time I stop at O&E - and equally hard pressed to ever again open one of those commercial bags.

    For mains Mrs. Kman bypassed her usual fish & chips (look, more ampersands!) in favor of a drum en papillote with heirloom cherry tomatoes, fennel, and some sliced small potatoes (IIRC yukons). This was delicious. The fish was just cooked through and had been infused with the tomato and fennel flavors in a way that enhanced but didn't overpower.

    I noticed that since my last visit a 10 oz dry aged ribeye had been added to the menu. This really appealed to me as ribeye is my go-to cut for the inherent flavor it provides but so often is only available in 20+ oz portions which I just wasn't up for. Ordered medium-rare it was served closer to rare which was perfect with me. VERY flavorful. Enough so that my hardly-ever-eats-red-meat spouse kept asking for more samples until finally, when I said I was stuffed, she finished it off.

    Our bartender had overheard me describing Bubble & Squeak earlier so had added that, gratis, to our order. They have really elevated this dish to well beyond any version I've ever had. Even absent the very tasty veggies embedded within these might be the best mashed potatoes around - and given how rich they tasted I'd guess they contain enough butter to make a Wisco dairy farmer proud.

    We've always enjoyed the "standard" (for us) burger and fish & chips at O&E, and will definitely keep them in our rotation, but seeing how well the other menu items are executed we will be exploring more of them in future visits.

    Oh, and as per usual, all of the staff were extremely pleasant, knowledgeable, and helpful.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #42 - September 8th, 2011, 2:08 pm
    Post #42 - September 8th, 2011, 2:08 pm Post #42 - September 8th, 2011, 2:08 pm
    Labor Day Update: Hooked up with some friends Labor Day evening at O&E - 2 that are "regulars" and 2 first-timers. We all sat at the bar downstairs.

    O&E had just kicked off a new program where, Monday through Wednesday, certain beers are $3 and select cocktails are $5. Labor Day Monday was the first day for this and we were delighted to find that the two beers in the program were Half Acre's Gossamer and (new to me) "Heftyweiss" from the Onion Pub & Brewery in Lake Barrington. Tried a taste of the Hefty, liked it, and ordered a full pour . . . which was, amazingly, an Imperial Pint (for $3!). Perused the cocktail list for potential later enjoyment - featured $5 drinks were concoctions from either Boomsma gin or Old Overholt (aka "Overhurt" sometimes in my past) rye. While we all chatted and caught up we ordered a variety of apps to share - pork rinds, house pickles, pork rillettes - that were enjoyed by all. I decided to try one of the rye cocktails, the Adventurer, which was a mix of the rye, Grand Marnier, orange juice, and Angostura bitters, stirred with ice. Excellent - I look forward to having this again. We beer drinkers meandered through more options - the 1000 IBU ale and the Liefman's Oud Bruin are two I can remember - while we got ready to order dinner.

    For mains we had a variety - I opted for the burger served near-naked with just the standard carmelized onions atop, one of the first-timers also had the burger but loaded it with the aged cheddar, rasher of bacon AND fried egg. Another burger next to me with cheddar and egg, one half grilled Amish chicken, and a 10 oz dry aged ribeye to round things out.

    This was the first time I had seen the chicken and it was gorgeous - dark exterior, juicy interior, savory aroma - everything a great chicken dish should be. My burger was medium rare as requested and delicious as ever. Dining companions all loved their dishes - I wish I had a picture of the eggs served on the burgers, they were the ideal of what a perfectly fried egg should look like, magazine cover-worthy. Fries with the house-made malt vinegar aioli great as ever, a big hit with the first timers.

    Later a server came out with 3 desserts which we advised her must be meant for someone else but Elliot, our bartender (and O&E's cicerone), advised us he'd ordered them for us. I'm usually too full at O&E to order dessert and instead prefer to just watch them go by to other tables and admire them from afar. However - when they are placed right in front of me, regardless of how full I am, it's pretty impossible to resist trying. They were all very good but I recall being extremely impressed with the "summer berry Eton Mess" with Honey Meringue , Vanilla Chantilly and Mint Oil - just an explosion of flavor starting with wonderfully ripe and tasty berries. The other two - Black & Tan frozen souffle and Peach upside down cake - were also quite good but, gosh, those berries . . .

    All in all a great night with good friends and excellent food and drink with friendly and professional service. I really love this place and am glad it's relatively close to my home.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #43 - September 8th, 2011, 3:52 pm
    Post #43 - September 8th, 2011, 3:52 pm Post #43 - September 8th, 2011, 3:52 pm
    I was at O&E this past Tuesday. It seems like they've adjusted their pricing downward, and now include chips with their sandwiches. (They used to offer a BLT with loin bacon, which didn't include fries, so when you included that in the price, it was a $21 BLT and fries. :? ) I'm glad to see that. I love the beer, cocktails and service; it's a comfortable room. I love the house pickles to munch on with a Manhattan. The fries with malt vinegar aioli are solid. The burger is strange; I avoid it like the plague. But last Tuesday with the onset of cold weather, I was induced to order the bangers and mash. Loved the herbaceous, moist and slightly jiggly bangers, and the ethereally light mashed potatoes were easily the best I've eaten in a restaurant, period. The not-at-all-stodgy accompanying onion gravy hit comfort-food heights.

    However, the huge chicken wings (which were served entirely intact) were just...gross. Meat was slimy, skin was soggy, I gave up after just wrangling with just two.
  • Post #44 - September 8th, 2011, 4:17 pm
    Post #44 - September 8th, 2011, 4:17 pm Post #44 - September 8th, 2011, 4:17 pm
    I was there last night and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still a bit gun-shy after my last visit. All 3 in our party ordered burgers -- cooked rare -- and they were reliably great, as were the crispy fries and malt vinegar aioli served with them. I also really enjoyed the pickle riding shotgun on the plate. But none of us wanted to venture beyond that and risk ordering anything else as a main course. Fish Cakes (hairy taddies) appetizer with red beans and chickpeas was well-conceived but the cakes tasted really fishy. On the (very) plus side, I also had a casked Williams Bros. Grozet w/ Bog Myrtle, Meadowsweet, & Gooseberries, which I enjoyed a lot. I love the beer list and the burgers but after three visits, I'm beginning to feel like O&E is simply a fine burger/beer destination.

    =R=
    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 #45 - September 8th, 2011, 5:08 pm
    Post #45 - September 8th, 2011, 5:08 pm Post #45 - September 8th, 2011, 5:08 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote: Fish Cakes (hairy taddies) appetizer with red beans and chickpeas was well-conceived but the cakes tasted really fishy.

    You probably already know this, but for others who might misinterpret "fish cakes" - hairy taddies are, as I've always understood, made with salt cod or other similarly preserved fish. Much like brandade, they can have a pretty intense fishy taste. I like it in general, and I do like the O&E version too.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #46 - September 8th, 2011, 5:16 pm
    Post #46 - September 8th, 2011, 5:16 pm Post #46 - September 8th, 2011, 5:16 pm
    Kennyz wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote: Fish Cakes (hairy taddies) appetizer with red beans and chickpeas was well-conceived but the cakes tasted really fishy.

    You probably already know this, but for others who might misinterpret "fish cakes" - hairy taddies are, as I've always understood, made with salt cod or other similarly preserved fish. Much like brandade, they can have a pretty intense fishy taste. I like it in general, and I do like the O&E version too.

    I did not know this and if our server did, she didn't share it with us. Still, I do generally enjoy salt cod dishes but these were not to my liking.

    =R=
    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 #47 - September 10th, 2011, 6:48 am
    Post #47 - September 10th, 2011, 6:48 am Post #47 - September 10th, 2011, 6:48 am
    We had an early dinner at Owen & Engine last night. Service was super friendly without any sign of stuffiness that bugs me a lot.

    Right after the appetizers and first round of drinks, We were asked to change tables to accommodate an older lady with walking problems. We did so without any issues, anyone working on the floor came individually and thanked us. An they got a free round of drinks, which was absolutley not necessary but very well received of course.

    Among 4 us, we had the House Pickles, Pork rinds, Oysters, Charcuterie plate, Clams, "Hairy Taddi”, Chicken Wings , Burger with egg on and Fish&Chips. Everything was delicious. Yes, the fish was a little too moist for fish&chips but still quite delightful. The burger exceeded my expectations.

    Oh also, I loved my Victorian drinks(Pimms cub, cucumber, some lemonade, rose water etc.; can't remember)

    It is a cute place that makes you feel warm in a rainy, not-so-pleasant night
  • Post #48 - September 26th, 2011, 6:02 pm
    Post #48 - September 26th, 2011, 6:02 pm Post #48 - September 26th, 2011, 6:02 pm
    Went for brunch yesterday. Started off with the crumpets, they were to die for. My wife decided then we needed the scones which we had for dessert. A really good dessert. They were not like any scones Ive had before, not the rocks Im used to. I had the full English Breakfast. I thought the grilled tomato was quite nice. While the portions were small they were all excellent. My wife had the burger ordered med rare served mre medium but she loved it and really liked the bun. I had the Arcadia Rye from the cask. I could spend a lot of time in this place, but I imagine the parking could be an issue at night. total with tip for 2, just under 100.00 but so enjoyable I would repeat again soon.
  • Post #49 - September 26th, 2011, 9:13 pm
    Post #49 - September 26th, 2011, 9:13 pm Post #49 - September 26th, 2011, 9:13 pm
    Burger/fries last week were again spectacular and fish & chips were great too, with one exception. A huge glob of tartar sauce had been plunked down all over the fish, so that it immediately became soggy. Had the sauce been on somewhere else on the plate -- anywhere else -- the fish still could have been enjoyed but the sauce would not have been an automatic detriment to the overall dish. It seemed that the 'artistic' will of the kitchen greatly outweighed common sense in this instance. As usual, draft beer -- in this case a Bourgogne de Flanders -- was fantastic, as was the service.

    =R=
    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 #50 - September 27th, 2011, 8:08 am
    Post #50 - September 27th, 2011, 8:08 am Post #50 - September 27th, 2011, 8:08 am
    Parking is definitely not a problem at Owen and Engine. For $2 you can park all day in the parking garage of the movie theater across the street.
  • Post #51 - September 27th, 2011, 9:14 am
    Post #51 - September 27th, 2011, 9:14 am Post #51 - September 27th, 2011, 9:14 am
    My wife and I had lunch at Owen and Engine on Saturday with two other couples. My wife had the burger with bacon and I had the fish and chips. The fish and chips was excellent, but the burger was on another level. I doubt you can get a better burger anywhere. The fries were fantastic, too. Everyone in our group really loved this place and would go back in a heartbeat. We all enjoyed the charcuterie plate, but it didn't blow us away. I had the Arcadia Rye and the Lagunitas Maximus from the engines, and the Great Lakes IPA from the regular draft. I wish I could get all of these on draft near me. All were very, very good.
  • Post #52 - September 27th, 2011, 12:30 pm
    Post #52 - September 27th, 2011, 12:30 pm Post #52 - September 27th, 2011, 12:30 pm
    Needed to unwind last night so stopped at O&E on the way home to have some quiet time at the bar and read. Mondays through Wednesdays O&E offers a couple beers for $3 and some gin and rye cocktails for $5 (the "Boulevarder is a fave of mine). Last night Bell's excellent Kalamazoo stout was one of the $3 pours (20 oz!). Alternated chatting up the friendly and knowledgeable staff with reading my book and sipping good beer - and noshing on the excellent chips - and reveling in the amazing bargain basement price for enjoying such a great atmosphere. I'm really glad to have such a great place not far from the house.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #53 - October 13th, 2011, 9:54 am
    Post #53 - October 13th, 2011, 9:54 am Post #53 - October 13th, 2011, 9:54 am
    I noticed recently that they changed from Slagel Farms beef to Meyer Ranch beef for the burger. It's still a great burger, but somehow it was lacking a little something. When pushed to describe the difference I said it tastes more like beef fat and less like beef, but admittedly the difference was subtle. Still it's one of my favorite burgers in town.
  • Post #54 - October 13th, 2011, 2:47 pm
    Post #54 - October 13th, 2011, 2:47 pm Post #54 - October 13th, 2011, 2:47 pm
    I was underwhelmed on my last visit to O&E a few months back. The pork rinds and pickles were both inferior to the versions we had experienced the previous week at Publican. The rinds were very hard. I'm no expert on pork rind preparation, so I don't know if they were fried at the wrong temperature or simply too long, but they were texturally unappetizing. The pickles were fine, but far from the peak of pickles I've been served in the last year.

    We had chicken wings that were as described above (slimy, gross). I'd rather have had an order from a Wrigleyville bar. The burger was certainly nice, if not large, and the fries and aioli were wonderful. All of this with a price tag that felt a little ridiculous.

    Our service was nice, and the beer and atmosphere are great, but I will likely only return on someone else's request.
  • Post #55 - December 19th, 2011, 10:22 am
    Post #55 - December 19th, 2011, 10:22 am Post #55 - December 19th, 2011, 10:22 am
    Yet another enthusiastic thumbs up for the burgers, beers, and the staff here. My annoying indecision on what to drink was rewarded with a pretty extensive beer tasting setup by the awesome bartender - I went with the Victory's Festbier. My medium-rare burger was cooked exactly as I wanted it (mostly pink with a thin red center) and was excellent - beefy, nice crust, fresh-tasting bun. I enjoyed the fries, but I really went crazy for the malt vinegar aioli - I'm a sucker for sour, especially malt vinegar, and on top of that this stuff was so creamy and light, I ended up eating dunking every last crispy fry crumb in it.

    Ended the meal with a cocktail (the "Winter Reading" - like a Bar DeVille Old Fashioned with allspice dram added...very nice), a bourbon (Blanton's), and some great conversation with the bartenders and staff.

    Great place!
  • Post #56 - January 5th, 2012, 11:15 am
    Post #56 - January 5th, 2012, 11:15 am Post #56 - January 5th, 2012, 11:15 am
    I had dinner with my wife and daughter at Owen & Engine last night and had a very good meal. My starting cocktail was delicious: sweet and bitter and very orange-y. (I don't recall the name, but it had Boomsa Genever and Malort, along with a few other ingredients.) My wife had a hard cider (Juliana?) that our server described as champagne-like, and indeed if I had been given a glass and told it was champagne, I likely wouldn't have questioned it.

    We all 3 shared several plates for dinner: mole pork rinds, pork rillettes, marrow bones, clam chowder, ribeye and bubble and squeak. The pork rinds were solidly good, but not memorable. The rillettes were excellent with a rich porky flavor. The marrow bones were probably the highlight of the meal. I love marrow bones and these were a great example. They came split lengthwise with herbed bread crumbs and escargot on the top. The marrow and escargot complemented each other beautifully. It was also a somewhat obscene amount of marrow. There were 2 pieces, each almost a foot long. My one slight complaint about the marrow is that with that giant serving they sent only 3 small pieces of toasted baguette, but that was easily solved by asking for more bread. The clam chowder was a bit of a miss for me. It was clams and mussels with potatoes and bacon in a thin milky/creamy broth. To me it was too thin to be called a chowder, although it did taste like chowder. The main miss here though was that about half the potatoes were cooked correctly and about half were still a bit crunchy/raw. They must have added potatoes to the soup at two different times, which really doesn't make sense to me. The few bites of ribeye I managed to sneak away from my daughter were quite good as well.

    For dessert we had a pickled forelle pear trifle that was very very good. Our sever warned us that it was more savory than sweet. It definitely had some savory notes to it, and I can see why she gave the warning, but it was still solidly in dessert territory. The trifle had the pickled pears, a black walnut cake, some kind of honey mousse and a blue cheese pesto. The pears had a great balance of sweet and tart and a nice crispness. The cake was delicious and had a very pronounced black walnut flavor. Even with all those strong flavors, they really blended well and the whole was more than the sum of its parts. All in all, a very nice meal, as I have come to expect from Owen & Engine.
  • Post #57 - January 8th, 2012, 2:08 pm
    Post #57 - January 8th, 2012, 2:08 pm Post #57 - January 8th, 2012, 2:08 pm
    I met some out-of-town friends on Saturday for lunch at O&E. They are burger fans and asked me for suggestions. Once they decided on O&E, I decided to join them. :D

    Image
    Meyer Ranch Beef Burger
    Even with the change from Slagel to Meyer, this burger is every bit as good as it has always been...maybe even better.


    Image
    Meyer Ranch Beef Burger
    I went 'fork and knife' on this burger. I ordered it rare and only added the egg. As much as I love the quality of the cheddar and rasher at O&E, I feel they obscure the essence of the burger just a bit. I thought this was an ideal configuration.

    This remains my favorite burger in Chicago, and it's remarkably consistent. This made me especially happy because I wanted it to be a good showing for my friends. They were clearly and genuinely blown away by the quality of this burger, which was great to see.

    =R=
    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 #58 - January 8th, 2012, 2:27 pm
    Post #58 - January 8th, 2012, 2:27 pm Post #58 - January 8th, 2012, 2:27 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I met some out-of-town friends on Saturday for lunch at O&E. They are burger fans and asked me for suggestions. Once they decided on O&E, I decided to join them. :D

    Meyer Ranch Beef Burger
    Even with the change from Slagel to Meyer, this burger is every bit as good as it has always been...maybe even better.

    Meyer Ranch Beef Burger
    I went 'fork and knife' on this burger. I ordered it rare and only added the egg. As much as I love the quality of the cheddar and rasher at O&E, I feel they obscure the essence of the burger just a bit. I thought this was an ideal configuration.

    This remains my favorite burger in Chicago, and it's remarkably consistent. This made me especially happy because I wanted it to be a good showing for my friends. They were clearly and genuinely blown away by the quality of this burger, which was great to see.

    =R=


    Glad you were there to save them from some of those other suggestions!

    The burgers at O&E are truly great.
  • Post #59 - February 6th, 2012, 11:28 am
    Post #59 - February 6th, 2012, 11:28 am Post #59 - February 6th, 2012, 11:28 am
    jvalentino wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I met some out-of-town friends on Saturday for lunch at O&E. They are burger fans and asked me for suggestions. Once they decided on O&E, I decided to join them. :D

    Meyer Ranch Beef Burger
    Even with the change from Slagel to Meyer, this burger is every bit as good as it has always been...maybe even better.

    Meyer Ranch Beef Burger
    I went 'fork and knife' on this burger. I ordered it rare and only added the egg. As much as I love the quality of the cheddar and rasher at O&E, I feel they obscure the essence of the burger just a bit. I thought this was an ideal configuration.

    This remains my favorite burger in Chicago, and it's remarkably consistent. This made me especially happy because I wanted it to be a good showing for my friends. They were clearly and genuinely blown away by the quality of this burger, which was great to see.

    =R=


    Glad you were there to save them from some of those other suggestions!

    The burgers at O&E are truly great.


    Based on these comments, I decided to try out O&E last night on my way out of town (Who books a flight departing during the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl? Oops...). I ordered the chicken wings and the burger with cheese. My wife had the fish & chips.

    The wings were very well done. I love espelette pepper...it's close behind truffles on the "it's like cheating" scale for me. Put it in just about anything and I'm going to like it. There was a vinegary note to them that worked well with the other flavors on the plate, but produced a not entirely pleasant aroma to the finished dish. That didn't stop me from licking the plate.

    While clearly made from delicious, top of the line ingredients, the burger I had did not approach the best in Chicago (that designation I save for Three Aces). It was close enough to the requested medium rare (though certainly closer to medium, truth be told), but both it and the bun it was served on had been flattened to the point where it looked almost more like a patty melt. [Here I will note that our mains took about 30 minutes to come out after the wings were cleared...during the wait we let our server know we under some time constraints. Things may have been rushed in the kitchen as a result, but I wouldn't have thought that budgeting an hour for dinner here would have been an issue.] The beef, cheese and onions were all packed with flavor, but the bun suffered from the harsh treatment and was alternatingly crisp or gummy. Fries were definitely above average, but the malt vinegar aioli that was served with them was quite unappetizing. I'm having trouble thinking of less appealing condiment in taste or appearance.

    Sadly, the aioli was also drizzled over my wife's fish, of which I only had a small taste. The breading was very nice, but the fish was clearly not up to the standards of this place. I commented that it was "fishy," and my wife said she would not order it again and posited that a notoriously slow Sunday night was probably a less than ideal time to order seafood.

    We sampled 4 different beers from the varied, but well curated, list. They were unique and excellent across the board. These days, I find too many options are frequently as unhelpful as too few, and here I appreciated the obvious care that went into the selection of the offerings. We had a pleasant evening, received thoughtful, attentive service and really enjoyed the beer selection. We'll certainly be back to try more of them and hope to have better luck with the food.
  • Post #60 - February 6th, 2012, 11:54 am
    Post #60 - February 6th, 2012, 11:54 am Post #60 - February 6th, 2012, 11:54 am
    kl1191 wrote:the malt vinegar aioli that was served with them was quite unappetizing. I'm having trouble thinking of less appealing condiment in taste or appearance.

    Interesting. Did the aioli seem "off", or were you just not a fan? I loved the stuff, to the point that I actually ate all of my fries (which I generally don't do...I'm not a huge fry guy, especially after they cool down).

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