A few weeks ago my friends Kit, Windy City Epicurean, Laura, and I headed over to The Dawson, one of the latest and greatest additions to the Chicago restaurant scene.
As soon as I walked through the giant wooden door into the glass atrium reception area, I knew The Dawson and I were going to become quick friends. This spot, at the River West six corners intersection of Halsted, Grand, and Milwaukee, was once owned by the Dawson Brothers, manufacturers of fireplace mantels in the late 1800’s. Co-owners Billy Lawless (The Gage, Henri) and Branko Palikuca (Amber, Topaz) have done a great job of keeping a small piece of the location’s history alive in the rustic, relaxed atmosphere of The Dawson.
As soon as we were seated cocktails were our first order of business. GM Clint Rogers stopped by our table and recommended one of his additions to the menu-the Luchini. Three of us went with Clint’s suggestion and we were very happy we did. The Luchini incorporates their house-made cherry phosphate soda with Cynar Amaro, Luxardo Apertivo, and Carpano Antica (sweet vermouth) and the result is one amazing cocktail! We also each ordered one of their daily jello shots and I know what you’re thinking, no we weren’t pretending we were back in college! The Dawson takes jello shots to a whole new level-they’re not just for frat parties anymore!
The grown-up jello shot
Drinks in hand, we were ready to order! We all wanted to try as many dishes as possible so we ordered a bunch and shared. We started with a beautiful charcuterie board along with the pickled onion rings, crispy pork tacos, pozole, and smoked beef tongue sliders. We enjoyed each dish but the tacos were the hands-down favorite of our group. Do yourself a favor and enjoy an order of these all to yourself…after the first bite you won’t want to share!
Pickled Onion Rings
Crispy Pork Tacos
Smoked Beef Tongue Sliders
After finishing off these smaller plates we moved on to the main events-the Chicken Fried NY Strip Steak and the Wood Grilled Burger. It’s not very often that you find a chicken fried NY strip…and this one was delicious!
Chicken Fried NY Strip
Wood Grilled Burger, Fries
At this point we were all pretty stuffed but we just couldn’t say no to trying a couple sweet treats. We tried both their funnel cake and the gin and citrus dessert-both good but my vote went to the funnel cake.
Gin and Citrus: lemon curd, almond divinity, “gin” syrup
Just this week news broke that the original head chef Rene De Leon has left The Dawson and sous chef Patrick Russ will now be taking his place. I’m not sure if that means the menu will see some changes or not but regardless, you’ll be in good hands and good company at The Dawson!