The Bentley Tavern Brings Fine Dining to a Casual Setting

September 13, 2013 | by elle eichinger | Food & Drink News

This year has marked the rise of Lakeview’s culinary scene, with The Bentley Tavern—which opened August 30 and begins serving brunch this weekend—emerging as one of its standouts. The Bentley Tavern shows neighborhood pride with chef Ian Flowers’ casual-comfort twists on upscale European brasserie fare, and by paying respect to its address’ colorful past. 

In fact, peering through The Bentley Tavern’s full-length French doors from the sidewalk is like tumbling back through time, as the corner building the bar/resto inhabits is full of history. The chic subway tiles and dark, weathered furnishings incorporate its backstory: built in the late 1800s, the space has housed an accordion school, a brothel, an art gallery, a beer grocer, and an Italian restaurant.

To fully enjoy the storied spot and its Lakeview surroundings, The Bentley Tavern boasts an equal number of inside and alfresco seating options. Dig into the Bentley’s Burger, stacked with bacon and cheddar between a pretzel bun, on the casual patio. Inside, try something more formal, like the black cod with sweet and sour peppers and asiago risotto. No matter where you sit, start with something from the raw bar, such as the oysters or the Tavern clams.

Brunch incorporates that same mix of European café favorites with Chicagoan spins. The classic Benedict gets an upgrade with pork belly, asparagus, and corn cake; and the trendy chicken and waffles is served alongside honey-paprika butter and maple syrup. Frittatas and “snacks” like cinnamon rolls and smoked salmon round out the breakfast side of brunch. Those leaning toward lunch should opt for The Bentley Tavern’s sandwiches, such as the short rib with caramelized onion on a hoagie roll, or a gourmet grilled cheese with tomato and French fries.

Much like its food counterparts, the drink menu consists of American classics like Manhattans, martinis, and gimlets. Meanwhile, a beer list focuses on local brews, and a full barista station satisfies your brunch or after-dinner thirst. 2834 N. Southport Ave., 773-477-2283

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY THE BENTLEY TAVERN

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