Brussels Sprouts Bucket List
One of the most ubiquitous ingredients of the fall and early winter is back in full force. Brussels sprouts are currently popping up all over menus in Chicago, in ways both classic and contemporary. There’s even a Brussels sprouts cocktail this year, which ranks among one of the most inventive ways we’ve ever seen the ingredient prepared. Here’s your Brussels sprouts bucket list for the season:
Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits: One of the savory non-pie sensations currently on the roster at Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits, the “fancy grits” are currently outfitted with Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and mushroom hash.
Ironside Bar & Galley: This River North newcomer is wasting no time diving into seasonal ingredients with fresh menu creations like pan-roasted Brussels sprouts. Courtesy of executive chef Jim August, the savorous side dish contains bacon jus and whole-grain mustard as well.
Presidio: That aforementioned Brussels sprouts cocktail can be sipped at Presidio, which derives inspiration from classic folk tales and urban legends for its latest batch of themed drinks. The Bell Witch is a drink with pisco, Suze Gentiane and a pomegranate-Brussels sprouts shrub. The drink is inspired by the story of the Bell Witch that haunted the Bell family in Tennessee.
Allium: It’s comfort food to the maximum at Allium, where one of the newest dishes is a Brussels sprouts plate with bacon, brown butter and cheddar. The sprouts are served over a warming butternut squash and brown butter puree, along with Nueske’s bacon, Wisconsin cheddar and a soft-poached egg for good measure.
Table, Donkey & Stick: You can always count of this Logan Square favorite to deliver the goods in regard to unique seasonal preparations. Case in point: a new rabbit crepinette dish is served with Brussels sprouts, tarragon and sanguinaccio, a sauce made with blood, rabbit jus and cocoa.
RPM Steak: Curry isn’t likely the first thing you think about when you envision Brussels sprouts accompaniments, but it sure works like magic at RPM Steak. The downtown restaurant is newly serving up curried Brussels sprouts as a side. The vegetables are picked leaf-by-leaf, flash-fried and tossed in an aromatic housemade curry vinaigrette.
Pearl Tavern: Adjoined by sweet potatoes and pork, the latest Brussels sprouts creation at Pearl Tavern sings of autumn in every way. The handiwork of chef Frank Valdez, the dish is a grilled Berkshire pork chop served over a bed of sweet potato puree with crispy Brussels sprouts and housemade tamarind barbecue sauce.
Autre Monde Cafe & Spirits: From pumpkins to apples, the menus at Autre Monde Cafe & Spirits are currently reading like an essential list of fall flavors. This is definitely true of their Brussels sprouts, which are served with chile, bacon and maple butter for notes of savory, spice and sweetness.
Quartino: Go raw at Quartino this season, as the Italian restaurant recently rolled out their new raw Brussels sprouts salad. It’s all made with heirloom apple chips, vin cotto and organic pumpkin seeds. For those looking for another side dish, there’s also a roasted Brussels sprouts option.
Ruxbin: One of the most interesting Brussels sprouts option this year comes by way of the ever-inventive Ruxbin. They’re served as part of the restaurant’s country fried celeriac dish, a vegetal ode to Southern comfort with white bean “ranch,” rooftop greens and tomato confit.
Brindille: At Brindille, Brussels sprouts are so rich they’re about as indulgent as a steak. That’s thanks to the new duck egg “en cocotte” preparation, wherein the eggs are enrobed in Bayonne ham with Sainte-Maure goat cheese, soft polenta, Brussels sprouts, coin onions and black truffle toast.
The Betty: Another example of Brussels sprouts proclivity for pork can be found at The Betty in Fulton Market. Here, braised pork belly is served with sprouts and sweet and spicy khaleesi sauce.
Chop Shop: Ricotta gnocchi makes for a fine foundation for Chop Shop’s Brussels sprouts rendition. A newcomer for fall, the plate features pillowy gnocchi, sprouts, grape tomatoes, garlic cream sauce, basil oil and pecorino cheese.
Atwood: As part of Atwood’s brand new fall menu rollout, the kitchen is serving up a standout Brussels sprouts option. These include a salad of arugula, Brussels sprouts, celery root, pomegranate, crispy prosciutto, almonds and blue cheese dressing.
Robert’s Pizza Company: Brussels sprouts take the pizza spotlight at this promising Streeterville newcomer. Along with applewood-smoked bacon, dates and smoked mozzarella, the sprouts are glazed with sweet balsamic before hitting the piping hot ovens.
Acanto: Last but certainly not least, one of the best Italian restaurants in town is serving up crispy Brussels sprouts with pancetta, white beans and whipped goat cheese. Get it.
- Matt Kirouac