A Squared: Recent Restaurant Visits: SIP Southport & Irving

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Recent Restaurant Visits: SIP Southport & Irving

I love discovering new restaurants-- and I love it even more when they're located in my neighborhood, just a leisurely stroll from my place. And SIP Southport & Irving is exactly the kind of place I want to walk to on warm spring night: a creative menu, cozy atmosphere, and quiet neighborhood location on the north tip of the Southport Corridor. The vibe here is very speakeasy-esque with heavy curtains, tufted leather benches, live jazz on weekends, and a prohibition era-inspired cocktails. And the food menu is equally as inspired-- with globally influenced dishes as a nod to American cuisine being a melting pot of different ethnic food traditions.

Alex and I walked up Southport to SIP one unseasonably warm spring evening and immediately decided to take advantage of their outdoor patio. It is situated on the corner of Southport & Irving Park (hence the name), a quieter part of the bustling Southport Corridor. It was the perfect place to sip wine and catch up with Alex after a long Friday at the office. SIP has an extensive craft cocktail menu, a great wine list (I was loving this summery rose), and Alex ordered off of their beer list which had tons of great seasonal and craft options.

We started off the meal with a little amuse-bouche: SIP's housemade pimiento cheese spread served with a few flatbreads and the most delicious house pickled radishes. The spread was fresh, creamy, and flavorful and paired with the tangy radishes it was the perfect little first bite.

The menu at SIP is arranged from the smallest plates to the largest, so no matter if you want to share everything or nothing or something in between they've got you covered. Alex and I started by sharing the poached lobster and coffee-cured bacon dish. The lobster and bacon was plated over spicy and creamy poblano cheddar grits with wild mushroom cream. The sweet lobster with the subtle heat of the poblano worked really nicely together. The grits were extra creamy and a sprinkle of fried onions on top was a perfect textural foil. Alex doesn't even really like polenta, but he dug right into this dish. And I would absolutely order this again-- even as an entree.

One of my favorite dishes of the night was the Smoking Goose and Great American Cheese Collection market board. As soon as it was placed in front of us we were wowed by the variety and how beautiful it looked. Plated on a huge slate board with tons of vibrant colors, this was like no charcuterie board I've ever seen. The board includes a few meats from boutique Indianapolis butcher in Smoking Goose (our favorite was the Stagberry Salame, made with elk, blueberries, and meade), a variety of cheeses, raisins, pickled beets and cauliflower, turmeric hard boiled eggs, housemade kalamata tapanade, and a few slices of Texas toast. This was not your average meat and cheese plate and the flavors here were just as intense as the gorgeous colors on the board. It was a real showstopper!

Alex and I decided to share entrees as well so that we sample a few more things together. We first tried the hanger steak-- one of the heartier dishes on the menu. The steak was nicely seared and served with a super flavorful chimichurri sauce, fried sweetbreads, and sauce gribiche (a thick and flavorful egg-based sauce) all served over the most delicious and creamy sunchoke and potato mash. This dish was rich and decadent with tons of flavor, but the portion was perfectly sized so that it wasn't an overwhelming amount of food.

The second dish we shared was our unanimous favorite of the two and we collectively cleaned this plate. Two large diver scallops were seared and tender, served over the most delicious sweet potato-chile puree. It was sweet and spicy and really amazing. The whole thing was topped off with a sweet and spicy sauce, housemade purple potato chips for a little crunch, with grilled apples and carrots. The flavors of this dish were so amazing: just the right amount of heat and some great textural differences. This is for sure a 'must order!'

Thinking that we needed some veggies to go along with all of this, we also ordered a side of the grilled broccolini. The broccolini had a delicious charred flavor with a little sweetness from the addition of Meyer lemon and some salty Parmesan cheese. It was a simple and tasty side and I loved the grilled scallions they added to the mix.

As you can see, we enjoyed quite a spread that night so we didn't have any room for dessert. The next time we come back I am definitely saving room for the Elderflower creme brulee!

SIP is such a great little hidden gem and I'm so glad we had the chance to dine here. I see many more date nights, summer patio cocktails, and a few brunches (their brunch menu looks amazing!) in our future as Lakeview residents.

Editor's Note: While our meal at SIP Southport & Irving was complimentary, the opinions expressed here are-- as always-- my own.

A Squared

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