Archive for the tag “sports bar”

D.S. Tequila Company

WHAT: D.S. Tequila Company
WHERE: 3352 N. Halsted St.

OUR RATING: Skip It!

(dstequila.com)

(dstequila.com)

Tacos. Tequila. Outdoor patio. This all sounds quite dandy, especially when D.S. Tequila Company serves up half-priced food on Mondays and All-you-can-eat tacos on Thursdays for ten bucks. But don’t let the specials fool you – this Lakeview taco/burger/tequila joint is not so special.

(dstequila.com)

(dstequila.com)

Adam: I understand, I’m spoiled. I like my food hot and good, my drinks cold and interesting and my ambiance beautiful and intoxicating. I’ve been to taco joints all over the city, and whereas Bullhead Cantina and Antique Taco stand out as highlights, D.S. Tequila Company might as well start with a different set of letters. Unfathomably small portions, and a taste that’s not much to write home about, you can certainly boycott this place to your heart’s content.

Chicken Fajita Taco and Coffee Steak Taco

Chicken Fajita Taco and Coffee Steak Taco

I started out with a chicken fajita taco. Simple is best, right? In this case, completely wrong. This grilled chicken was as dry as a bone, accompanied by a smattering of refried beans and queso fresco that was almost undetectable. I slathered on hot sauce because I would rather have my mouth burning like the Savannah than consigned to the dry depths of Death Valley. Next, sampling the steak taco with trepidation, I was slightly surprised. This taco is decent, but that may have more to do with the coffee spice rub than the steak. And at $3.89 for one measly sample size, you might as well go to a more upscale place and enjoy yourself a little.

Jalapeno Slaw & Elote Corn Hash

Jalapeno Slaw & Elote Corn Hash

As for sides, they are wildly disappointing. Jalapeno Slaw sounds really great, but when the mayonnaise overpowers even the slightest hint of jalapeno, I wonder why I am going to a Mexican restaurant at all, and not just buying slaw and dumping giardiniera on it at home. Trust me, the homemade recipe would be hotter.

Tangibly dreadful fare at shockingly inflated prices, D.S. Tequila needs to move over for more reputable competitors. Seriously, it’s like they’re trying to cheat you here.

Tequila Shrimp Taco & Grilled Fish Taco

Tequila Shrimp Taco & Grilled Fish Taco

Alicia: Being big into seafood, I was super excited to try some fish and shrimp tacos here. D.S. Tequila’s grilled fish taco served me alright, with jalapeno cole slaw and spicy aioli. There was plenty of sauce and a good amount of bite, but the mayonnaise in the coleslaw kind of drowned out the rest of the taco. Actually, coleslaw was most of the taco, with a frighteningly-small serving of grilled fish hidden somewhere in there.

(dstequila.com)

(dstequila.com)

With these lukewarm feelings I then attempted the tequila shrimp taco with red cabbage, pineapple salsa and spicy aioli. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, this taco was basically three pieces of shrimp in a corn tortilla with some raw red cabbage. Pineapple salsa? Spicy aioli? Pretty non-existent, and really just some diced pineapple. Tequila? Yeah…not sure that was in there either.

(dstequila.com)

(dstequila.com)

Ultimately, I found each of these tacos pretty underwhelming, with little to no love given to the food inside the tortillas, let alone the dry and boring tortillas themselves. I was even more disappointed with elote corn hash. The name sounds fun, but really I was just served a bowl of corn and some type of light cream with some crumbled queso fresco. It tasted like cream corn, but even less flavorful. It was pretty horrific, and gives elote a bad name.

(dstequila.com)

(dstequila.com)

Final Thoughts: If we hadn’t been lucky enough to get in on this food on a Monday (i.e. we paid half-price), I think we would have been in an uproar to pay full price for what we got. With mediocre food, sub-par service, and a forgettable ambience, D.S. Tequila Company is definitely a place you can skip over if you want some good Mexican food. Sure, the outdoor patio is alright when the weather is nice, but a park bench will do you just as good.

Public House Chicago

WHAT: Public House Chicago (Sports Bar / Contemporary American)
WHERE: 400 N. State St.

OUR RATING: Skip It!

(publichousechicago.com)

(publichousechicago.com)

You can’t go too much more American than at Public House Chicago, where contemporary American cuisine mashes with the flavors of a smokehouse and plenty of beer. Brought to you by the same folks who run sister bar Bull and Bear, not only do they have 25 beers on tap, but they include beer in many of their dishes and even some of their sauces, and it’s no surprise their small claim to fame is their beer tasting and pairing menu.

Quite honestly, this place is very much your average Near North Side sports bar, attempting to match the trendiness of the area with higher priced semi-gastropub food.

(publichousechicago.com)

(publichousechicago.com)

That’s not to say that Executive Chef David Blonsky’s food doesn’t taste fantastic. We tried two of his flatbreads at a special event there, the Wild Mushroom (goat cheese, caramelized onion, fresh spinach, white truffle) and the Mediterranean (lamb merguez sausage, roasted garlic hummus, roasted cherry tomatoes, la clare farm evalon cheese, shaved red onion, house made tzatziki). Their decadence was all too apparent from the above ingredients, but we don’t feel they are anything special, and dressing standard food in fancy flavors doesn’t equal good food automatically.

(publichousechicago.com)

(publichousechicago.com)

$16 for a relatively petite flatbread is kind of high anyway, and the staff here aren’t the friendliest. The female bartender was ambivalent, and when we asked the male bartender what company produced the wine, he hesitatingly told us, shrugged, and then stated, “I don’t really know, don’t care.” Hmm.

(publichousechicago.com)

(publichousechicago.com)

Their draft beer selection is quite admirable, however, and although they only have a single white and red wine available, La Terre is definitely a good call. Although we didn’t take a seat at one of their booths, we noticed that they had two beer taps and one customizable liquor tap at each of them, which is definitely fun when going with a small group of friends (we’ve seen this design elsewhere and it seems to be the “in” thing right now). The most unique feature of the place is their “Walltender,” taps inside little alcoves in the wall where you swipe your credit card and pour yourself another draft. These guys don’t cut you off.

The crowd here is definitely an after-work crowd, so if you’re in the area it might not be the worst place to drop in with a few of your co-workers.

But ultimately Public House Chicago is just average, and although they add pieces of character here and there and try to make their food sound special with the beer additives, there’s plenty of places in the area to patronize after you’re finished with the upscale pretense with its confused hustle and bustle.

(publichousechicago.com)

(publichousechicago.com)

As for the decor, it seemed a bit, well, all over the place. While most walls are decorated in a semi-rustic style, the wall at the far side of one room was a confused mess of cream and tan with random pictures frames scattered across it. Such a work would be more at home at the MCA, and even then it would be one of the more annoying pieces.

That being said, it does make for a nice, central location for a party or fundraiser, but, in all other respects, Public House Chicago is too normal to waste your time with it. Try a more eclectic locale in the future.

The Burwood Tap

WHAT: The Burwood Tap (Bar)
WHERE: 724 W. Wrightwood Ave.

OUR RATING: Chance It!

(burwoodtap.com)

(burwoodtap.com)

Living only three blocks away from The Burwood Tap means that you would think we would have visited already for a review. Unfortunately, it was only recently that we set foot in this unknown, woodclad pub. We should have got there sooner to give you the full story.

Claiming to be the oldest neighborhood bar in Lincoln Park (founded in 1933), we certainly saw a dedicated crowd and friendly atmosphere. We think we’re going to have to come back a second time to fully appreciate the bar, but here we go–

(burwoodtap.com)

(burwoodtap.com)

Alicia: Give a girl free popcorn, free pool, a cozy aesthetic and some fun, intimate but low key lighting and you have her hooked. I may not be a fan of The Burwood Tap’s top-40 and pretty loud music selection or their numerous sports-on-TV screens, but you surprisingly don’t have to be a sports-loving DePaul frat boy to enjoy this place. Sure, there’s a lot of them here, but when a group of a few dozen current students and alumni from Geek-central University of Chicago can feel at home at this locale neighborhood bar, you can pretty much be anyone to come here. But you’ll definitely have to be in the mood to really try when socializing with others, as the music is pretty darn-loud (but then again, I’ve been to much louder spots in Wrigleyville, by far).

(burwoodtap.com)

(burwoodtap.com)

Adam: The Burwood Tap has a lot of pros: the previously mentioned free pool and popcorn, the friendly staff and a lovely interior. Unfortunately, certain aspects did not sit well with me, though they would have probably been tolerated by others. Drink prices were quite steep ($8 for a (small) Guinness draft) and bar staff, while attentive, took time chatting to patrons while fixing my pint (not a pint, by the way). I like efficient service with minimal time wasted. She was quite lucky I gave her the dollar tip at the end, but I felt that her convivial demeanor probably deserved a token of appreciation.

(burwoodtap.com)

(burwoodtap.com)

Other than this though, I thought this bar was pleasant and classic, and I’m sure that with frequent attendance a good relationship could be built with both patrons and staff. I’d come back for the drink specials and free buffet, but perhaps only order a domestic draft next time.

(burwoodtap.com)

(burwoodtap.com)

Final thoughts: We’ll definitely want to come back here on a Monday-Thursday night for a free buffet, and to check out their acclaimed Wednesday trivia night, but this may not be the best weekend-night out. You might be safer trying out a more well-known location, but the adventurous can experience Lincoln Park at its most authentic at this local little spot.

Post Navigation