**** (4 stars)
The Bristol is an upscale restaurant that manages to avoid being too crowded and too noisy while still achieving a trendy vibe. The narrow, brick-lined space is lit sparingly, making it good choice for intimate conversation and romantic dinners. While the tables are fairly close, they are aligned in a way that doesn’t seem invasive.
There’s a reason everyone talks about the duck fat fries. They’re surprisingly un-greasy, perfectly crisp on the outside, tender inside, and nicely seasoned, served with a wonderful garlic aioli.
We also really enjoyed the wagyu beef, which was just the right mix of meat and fat, charred yet still perfectly medium rare on the inside, and served with a delicious red pepper sauce. The trout and the tempura broccoli were just okay.
Dishes are served family style, so go with people who enjoy sharing and tasting lots of different things.
One member of our party had many allergies, and the chef marked up a menu for her, showing her what she could have and what he could modify. Very nice.
The wine list is extensive, and prices are fair, although there are no bargains.
Service was friendly, and the bus boys were particularly on the ball with plate removal and water refills. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the service was impressive. This is a very good restaurant, flirting with great. Definitely worth a visit.
2152 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647