Vincent is the kind of cozy neighborhood bistro that can only exist in a few Chicago neighborhoods, and that’s a real shame. Everyone should have a local favorite around the corner that’s as friendly, delicious, and inviting. But they don’t, because some neighborhoods can’t have nice things, and some neighborhoods think life is one big Vogue photoshoot - we’re looking at you River North restaurants. Andersonville, however, is the perfect breeding ground for Vincent.
Vincent is the product of someone who decided to take a chance on their dream of a restaurant, and it shows. It’s great in the sense the staff seems to be a hodgepodge of friends and acquaintances who just happen to work there, which keeps the mood light and cheerful. It also means they aren’t as professionally on top of sh*t at times like a well oiled hospitality group. But the imperfection is what makes Vincent human and weirdly is an endearing trait, kind of like a narcoleptic puppy - it’s not an ideal attribute, but the people and place are so damn cute and friendly it’s tough to get mad. And you’ll never get mad at Vincent, because whether you’re with a small group of friends or on a date, the dimly limit and homey restaurant will be an enjoyable time.
Of course, the food will be deliver too. Vincent pegs itself as a “New American Bistro,” with a menu that offers everything from small and light to large and hearty. Salads? Innovative and tasty. Meats? Filling and comfortable. Fish? Flakey and as fresh as the Prince of Bel-Aire. And mussels. Don’t forget the mussels. There’s a whole section of the menu dedicated specifically to different style mussels, which we strongly suggest you entertain.
We also strongly suggest you get to Vincent, because it will make for one entertaining and excellent night.
Our waitress once suggested this appetizer, and we’re happy she did. The garlic sausage is delicious, and it comes over a mix of fava beans and mashed potatoes that’s equally as good. Add some pancetta, caramelized onions, and pickled mustard seeds and you’ve got a great dish.
We’ve never met a burrata we didn’t like. The burrata itself is solid, even if not in the upper echelon burrata sphere. What makes this dish so interesting is the ramp and garlic mojo, orange, shaved jalapeno, and balsamic reduction that comes on the cheese. Get a little bit of everything involved in each bite.
A creamy polenta that’s been dragged through the garden (asparagus, fresh ramps, pickled ramps, mushroom, crispy parsley) and topped with a poached egg. The polenta and mushrooms steal the show.
A beautifully sliced and plated skate wing topped with a tarragon pesto and charred lemon. It’s mild and light, which let’s the bit of pesto shine. The baby carrot, glazed radish, and saffron carrot puree is good looking and a nice compliment too.
A giant bowl of plump mussels in a saffron and coconut cream based sauce. A little lime adds some bite for flavor, and don’t forget to use the fries as dipping sticks for the sauce too. You need to order mussels, whether this style or one of the others.