It's a case of "better late than never" for Cobblestone (4337 N. Lincoln St.; https://cobblestone-chicago.com/).
After selling his Bohemian House restaurant in River North, Cobblestone Restaurant owner Dr. Markus Chwajolwho also happens to be a multilingual neurosurgeon/professorfirst opened the 86-seat restaurant and cider bar in March 2020 before COVID forced its closure not once, but twice.
However, the spot has been open since April 29, according to General Manager Andy Knuth. The interior consists of comfortable nooks and booths while a 43-seat streetside patio is capped by a canopy offering a shady retreat. In addition, a new hidden courtyard adds another 38 outdoor seats.
As for the cuisine, Executive Chef Michael McCloud (formerly of Tortoise Supper Club) provides what are essentially European dishes that sport American twists. Regarding appetizers/shareable plates, it's hard to go wrong with the walnut-studded banana nut loaf, flavored with a little duck fat and accompanied by whipped bourbon butter. (By the way, a little bourbon goes a long way.) Other delightful apps include a sufficiently fatty cider-braised pork belly as well as beef tartare, the latter assisted by mustard, grilled pumpernickel and egg yolk. However, vegetarians may go for the farro-arugula salad, cauliflower mac or the grilled romaine.
My dinner companion and I were similarly satisfied with the entrees. My friend went for the fish and chips (here called fish and frites); the components were cooked perfectlyand I've experienced some rubbery cod at other spots. My dishgrilled shrimp with tagliatelle with toasted pistachio-mint pesto and whipped ricottawas wonderfully tasty.
And please do not skip dessert. There are only two offerings, but both will provide amazing ends to your evening. The skillet apple crisp with housemade cinnamon ice cream provides great contrasts in texture while complementing each other, flavor-wise. The warm butterscotch fudge bar is beyond decadent, and it's not so big that it will make you feel guilty for eating it.
Regarding drinks, my friend and I decided to forgo cocktails for flights. While she opted for two flights (one of ciders and the other solely of beers), I went for a cider mini-collection. (Patrons can mix and match ciders and beers, by the way.) The ciders I tried were the Virtue, Brut (a baseline variety) as well as ones that featured spiced peach and strawberry lemonade; all were absolutely delicious. Cobblestone has almost three dozen ciders and 20 craft beers to keep things interesting.
Cobblestone is a wonderful place to stop for dinner. Provided the delta variant of the coronavirus doesn't cause another lockdown, this restaurant should become very popular.
COVID protocols: The server said he brought us boxes so we could pack our leftovers as a COVID-related precaution. Otherwise, no other protocols were observed.