**** (4 stars)
This is a really delightful place to sit outside under the forest of umbrellas and enjoy a summer day. The inside is equally expansive, but seems a bit confined compared to the lovely outside space overlooking the plaza.
The menu is eclectic American bistro, with some sports bar touches. The beer list is very well organized and described, with many representatives of all styles, and is claimed to be Chicago’s widest selection.
We started with the Sea bass ceviche, which wasn’t really a ceviche at all, but more like a thickened lime soup with vegetables and some pieces of completely cooked sea bass added at the last minute, rather than raw fish “cooked” by the lime juice. Still, it was good.
We also tried the Korean chicken wings. These had a very crispy, almost crunchy crust, and were slathered with a spicy sweet sauce. Delicious, but thank goodness they came with two wet wipes per person, as my fingernails are still orange!
For entrees we had the kitchen split a burger and salad. The Bacon Cheeseburger was perfectly cooked, juicy, served on a bun with some substance so it didn’t disssolve, just the right accompaniments of lettuce and sliced onion, and with nice crisp bacon. Pretty much a perfect burger.
The Ahi Chopped Salad was also excellent. Despite the name, the tuna is not chopped, but rather coated with togarashi spices, seared rare, and thinly sliced. The rest of the ingredients were indeed chopped: napa cabbage, romaine, bok choy, bell peppers, daikon radish, and green onions. It was finished off with mandarin oranges and crispy wonton strips, and lightly dressed with sesame ginger vinaigrette. Delicious.
Despite the fact it was obviously our server’s first day (and we were possibly his first table) service was excellent. We liked everything we tried, and really enjoyed our entire experience. I’m glad Howells and Hood is close to us, and I wish we’d tried it sooner.
Howells & Hood
435 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611