Homestead: Chicago Restaurant Week 2014

Homestead

Bringing the outside in at Homestead

I finish my Chicago Restaurant Week with a visit to Homestead on the Roof, located atop Roots Homemade Pizza. In order to get to Homestead, you must go inside Roots and wend your way to the back. The indoors portion of Homestead isn’t attached to the main building, so you must go past the rooftop patio to get to the indoor portion of the restaurant. Let me say this wasn’t fun on a frigid night after we’d warmed up at the bar.

However, the heaters were blasting upstairs, which was nice and cozy. As the restaurant filled up, the heat became too much as did the noise level in this busy little space. I couldn’t hear across the table by the time we were done.

Kale Salad | Homestead

Chew and chew and chew.

Homestead opted to not offer their regular menu during Restaurant Week, so we had no way to compare differences at the table. Our waiter shared that some items were special for RW, but may make an appearance on the regular menu.

The first round of courses consisted of salads — a kale, a curried cauliflower, and a duck egg salad. Nothing stood out particularly, though the Frika Salad, with its curry base, was an odd mix of flavors and was over-seasoned. Certain ingredients, like curry, apples, and pomegranate, showed up here and made appearances throughout the meal. The lack of variation felt lazy and not cohesive. It’s like they wanted to used up what was left in the fridge.

Maple Glazed Sweetbreads Homestead

Maple Glazed Sweetbreads

Of the second set of courses, the Beef Short Rib Sugo, with fresh made pasta and tender bits of beef was the stand-out. I had the Moroccan Spiced Mussels, which again was heavy on the seasonings, whereas the Maple Glazed Sweatbreads barely had any hint of sweetness. I’m glad we were able to try the entire restaurant week menu as it let us see how the unevenness in the execution.

Chestnut | Homestead

A milk chocolate brulee dome disguised as cotton candy.

The dessert course was the most interesting of the three. I had a Hazelnut Financier with a Meyer Lemon Sorbet, which showcased a nice variation in tartness, citrus, and flavor. I also liked the beet dessert, with different treatments of the vegetable lending an earthy sweetness to chocolate cream rolls. The chestnut dessert was both a visual and taste show-stopper with a mound of cotton candied chocolate sugar atop a creamy center. It was awesome.

Would I come back? For dinner, probably not. However, I think Homestead would be a spectacular spot for drinks on a hot summer evening. If you’ve been to Homestead, let me know if I should give it another chance for dinner. Thanks!

Homestead
1924 W Chicago Avenue

[GARD]

  1. melissa mcewen (@melissamcewen) left a comment on February 8, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I think Homestead is great and really underrated. However, they seem to take the common strategy of Restaurant Week, which is to make much less of an effort. Restaurants should serve their regular dishes at Restaurant Week and not try out or offer any special Restaurant Week dishes. I’m especially disappointed to hear about the salads, since they have been outstanding before. This is so self-defeating. Sure, some Restaurant Week diners don’t dine out very much, but there are plenty who would come back.

  2. Tammy left a comment on February 8, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks for weighing in, Melissa. I wonder if Homestead (75 seats) felt like they were too small to offer both during Restaurant Week. It certainly makes planning easier, and I can see where this approach would make sense from their perspective.

    However, the limited menu wasn’t the best way to showcase what they were about, particularly if the hope was to get people to come back to try more.

    Based on this menu, I didn’t see much reason to come back to revisit dishes or explore more of what the kitchen offers. There were other restaurants that tried harder and were more impressive during R.W.

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