Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Resto Review: LINKS Taproom

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Not too far from my kitchen studio, there are a plethora of restaurants, bars and places to check out. The truth is, when I'm working, I don't have much time (if any) before my classes to visit any of these places. And by the time I'm done with a day of teaching, I'm too exhausted to go anywhere except in my car and straight home lol. Thankfully I had a chance to visit LINKS Taproom for brunch on a lovely Saturday with my partner in crime, Melissa of Turning Veganese. If I were sum up my delicious experience in a few words, it's a modern take on a hot dog joint...

Going in, it didn't click in my head why the place was called LINKS Taproom. But it didn't take long to realize why either...


Upon entering, I couldn't help but notice the huge tv screens in the middle of the dining area. These screens are the wave of bar future folks. The screens reflect the 36 craft beers on tap, 3 cask beers and also 5 tap wines. Not only are the names reflected, prices, style, brief tasting notes and even the keg status is clearly outlined. Because it's electronically driven, the screen is updated as often as beer is newly tapped and/or replaced. Genius! So, by this time, it;'s evident where 'Taproom' comes from...

Next, the menu. The menu is full of tasty options. Although we came to try out their brunch offerings, we were spoiled with also trying some of their usual lunch and dinner options. Sausage is king here and hence, this is why the place is called LINKS. Although the sausages are not made in-house, they have a specific sausage maker they work with and their recipes for each are all theirs.

We got to try their signature 'Chicago Steak & Ale' sausage, made with top sirloin, bacon, Bell's amber, and a touch of horseradish. After you select your link, you then have the options for one of five different mustards and a slew of toppings. For our Chicago Steak & Ale, we enjoyed it with cherry grain mustard and beer onions.

Another link we tried was their Vegan link, made with portobello mushrooms, black bean, extra virgin olive oil and tamari. I could easily be vegan if I lived off of these link everyday. In fact, I liked the Vegan Link just a touch more than the Chicago Steak & Ale. As for toppings, we enjoyed this with their creamy slaw, which was light, fresh and full of flavor. Easily my fave dish of the meal!

We also noshed on their Cheese Curds - which is hard to come by the further you are from Wisconsin. Their cheese curds were not some frozen variety that were thrown in the fryer and served up. We were pleasantly surprised with how light, airy and cheesy they were.

But of course, we didn't forget brunch. We got to try two of their most popular brunch items... and boy were they good! If you ever wondered what a beignet and a bratwurst would taste like, look no further. The 'Fat Man in a Bathtub' is what you're looking for, with slices of savory bratwurst tucked into the middle of a sweet and puffy beignet donut. They are served in a small aluminum basket shaped like a bathtub, dusted with some powdered sugar and served with chocolate and raspberry coulis dipping sauces.

The other brunch item was their 'Chorizo Horny.' Cute name and even better breakfast sandwich. I initially expected a chorizo sausage patty with an over easy egg, bacon mayo, spinach, and cheddar all served up in a cheddar and bacon biscuit. But rather than a sausage patty, it was a big chorizo link split in half lengthwise, grilled and stuffed into the sandwich. Insanely good.

By this point, we were stuffed to the limit and were so grateful for the restaurant's quick, friendly and fun service. It's definitely a spot I plan on make time for on the days I'm working at the kitchen studio... and I'm already craving another Vegan Link lol.

Check LINKS Taproom out in the Wicker Park neighborhood!

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