My old roommate first introduced me to Nightwood last year. We drove down to Pilsen to have dinner on night but were heartbroken to find that they were closed that night. I love the Pilsen area but for a girl without a car, it can be a pain to get to sometimes. Nightwood is owned by the same people as Lula's Cafe, which I also adore, so I've been wanting to check it out for some time.
When an old college friend came to town, a group of us decided to have dinner here. It's on the corner of Halsted and 21st in Pilsen. Here's a pic of their unassuming sign.
It's dimly lit inside and the walls are painted black, so it's easy to miss. I think there's a patio area to the side, which would be a perfect place to have brunch when it gets warmer. I'll have to come check it out then.
Their dinner menu is divided into appetizers (salads and small plates), pasta and entrees.
We started out with a few appetizers to share. Our waitress recommended the Sweet Potato Ravioli with brown butter and sage. This was delicious but a wee bit expensive for 3 pieces of ravioli.
We also tried the escarole and chopped vegetable salad with buttermilk dressing. This was probably the least favorite of all of the dishes we tried. It tasted a bit bland to me and not enough chopped vegetables to make it interesting.
The burrata crostini with spiced honey and pears was much better. Anything with burrata can do no wrong in my book.
For our entrees, we ordered several dishes to share. First up, we tried the Superior whitefish poached in a bacon-onion broth with braised leeks, bok choy and black radish.
I am always hesitant of fish poached in liquid and a pork one at that, but this was excellent. I always thought bacon would overwhelm something delicate as fish, but it did not at all. The flavor of the fish was not compromised and the fish was perfectly cooked. The bacon-onion broth was flavorful but didn't overpower the dish. I have to admit I was really curious to see what a black radish would look like. I imagined it to be black throughout but I guess it just has a black outer lining but the rest is white. It tasted pretty similar to a regular radish too.
Our other friend picked the grilled cheeseburger with fries. I didn't have a bite, but she thoroughly enjoyed it.
Our last dish was the beef stew with Anson Mills farro, sweet potatoes and root vegetables. It looked a bit disappointing when it arrived, but it sure was tasty. I kept stealing bites from my friend. This is total comfort food at its best.
Overall, I thought all of their dishes were great and you can tell they use fresh and local ingredients. I hear that their brunch is quite good, especially their bacon butterscotch donuts. I'll be back for sure!
2119 S Halsted St
(at 21st St)
Chicago, IL 60608