NORTH CENTER — After announcing and canceling various opening dates for the past two years, the long-awaited Northman Cider Bar finally quieted skeptics with a stealthy low key debut over the weekend.
Anyone not paying close attention on Twitter or Facebook likely missed the news but enough folks got the message to provide Northman's owners and staff with a steady stream of guinea pigs and a taste of crowds to come.
Here's what to expect:
• The cider: Northman is not fooling around — the cider menu is extensive in depth and breadth (see below). While so much choice could, at first blush, appear intimidating, Northman has come up with a nifty way to guide cider newbies. During the soft opening, diners received a sampling of Northman's semi-dry house cider to gauge their palate — would they prefer sweeter or "funkier"? Wait staff have been expertly trained to steer patrons through the copious options and recommend pairings with food.
• Speaking of food: Chef Sean Sanders menu is compact but varied (see below). Chips (aka, french fries) are among the starters, but so is escargot. Yes, there's a burger, but also roasted goat with noodles.
Sunchoke and gouda pasty. [All photos DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]
• The decor: The Northman's been more than two years in the making, and it shows in the details, from the bathroom floors laid with Chicago bricks to the mural over the bar. The red, white and blue color palette reads "French farmhouse pub" more than "USA, USA."
The Northman, 4337 N. Lincoln Ave., is closed Monday to regroup but will begin regular hours Tuesday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily; on Saturdays, the bar is open 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.
The chunky fries are served with a curried ketchup and black garlic aoili dipping sauces.
Kale and arugula salad, with pretzel croutons.
Yep, cider donuts are on the menu, served with brown butter ice cream and pecan crumble. Pairs well with a cold brew coffee cider.
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