With Easter fast approaching, I cannot help but think about home. The thoughts and feelings that “home” brings up for me are one of comfort, safety, and security. A place in which you know your needs are met and that everything is at that appropriate level of satisfaction. As a Michigan transplant to Chicago for the past 9 years, I have sought out places in this vast and large city that can capture that same experience. Home Bistro is the quintessential home dining experience.
I walked in on a Saturday night to the small storefront and was warmly welcomed by the host. The first thing I noticed was the pen and paper they used for reservations and seating – no computer, no online reservation system, no buzzers to tell you that your table is ready. Rather, the beeper was replaced with a warm smile and the computer with a thoughtful conversation of who you are. The staff at Home Bistro want to know who is entering into their “home” and gave me a welcome worthy of a family reunion.
The cozy restaurant was filled with couples and friends. The “no frills” decor was tastefully welcoming, reminiscent of a french farmhouse. I smelled the aromas of fresh, home cooked food with wine bottles plentiful on every table. Much like visiting a friend’s home for dinner, Home Bistro welcomes guests to bring their own wine to their meal.
From the moment I sat down at the table, my server Erin ensured that I felt like I was at home, from her delightful smile to the thoughtful hug upon departing. If that alone doesn’t make you want to visit Home Bistro, I’m not sure what will. Perhaps it will be the Crisp Fried Oysters, that, despite being fried, retained their freshness and natural flavors.
A bite of this with the creamy grits and chili vinegar equaled a balance of sweet and heat bringing out the true flavor of oyster. My main course was the Rainbow Trout, which I can only say was perfectly done. Many restaurants choose to remove the skin before cooking or serving, and those that choose to leave the skin often make the fish mushy or overcooked/charred.
This, I must say, was the most perfectly done fish, with the fish lightly flaking away from the crisp skin that was not charred. The soft-boiled egg, when broken, mixed nicely and thickened the natural jus on the plate. My compliments to the chef for a dish well done and well executed.
If you followed the #livetweets from my dining experience, you would see the lovely quote next to my dessert: “ridiculous.” The Advocaat, which is listed as a Dutch almond and brandy pudding, was the most delightful finish to a wonderful meal. It was light, savory, and sweet, creating an experience in my mouth that was truly “ridiculous.” And to add to the experience of feeling at home, when I attempted to first take the photo of the dish, executive chef and owner Joncarl Lachman tried to get into my picture.
His lovely demeanor and thoughtful disposition as he engaged me about my dining experience and meal was like my father who, when he tries a make a new dish, wants feedback in order to make it perfect for me. pho It was these interactions that I had with all of the staff, my now friends, that made me feel at home.. at Home Bistro.Home Bistro is located at 3404 N. Halsted Street in Chicago, IL.