The food, the decor, the service. Everything about Bohemian House, or BoHo, is sublime. BoHo has been on my list of must-dine restaurants since it opened last July. Located amongst trendy bars and restaurants in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, BoHo, a rustic Eastern European restaurant, aims to be more unique, and unique it is. From the decor, to the Czech cuisine, BoHo stands tall and stands out as approachable, unpretentious, and relaxed.
The menu at BoHo is evocative of traditional Eastern European cooking with a modern twist. Seasonal ingredients are incorporated in the evolving menu, and sausages, pickles, preserves, and cured and smoked meats are all made in house. The beverage program is also on point, with interesting and creative cocktails, a mix of European, American, and local beers on tap, as well as a nice wine selection.
When I visited with three girlfriends, we were all immediately taken with the decor and attention to detail, from the main entrance, to the gilded ceiling, to the sliding barn door, to the collection of lovely plates secured to the wall. The feel is eclectic but comfortable, with dark tones and dim lights.
A front lounge boasts chesterfield couches, and a 14-seat bar stretches along one side of the dining room. Two communal tables sit near the kitchen, and all tables are nicely spaced to allow comfort and conversation.
Finally came the food. I studied the menu before arriving and immediately knew what I wanted to order. Luckily, my friends approved. We began with what was one of my favorite dishes of the evening – the potato pancakes with buttery cured salmon, apple preserves, kohlrabi, and dill. I could have eaten an entire platter of these remarkably tasty cakes myself. The flavors were perfect and the potato pancake nicely crisp, without being either overly greasy or over cooked.
The deviled eggs with smoked whitefish, pickled peppers, and crispy shallots were delicious, as well, and nicely highlighted the house-smoked whitefish. I usually order deviled eggs whenever I see them on the menu, and these are definitely in the top of the pack.
The only miss of the evening was the bacon buns, with pickles and prune marmalade. While I did not try the buns, the consensus was that they were a bit too bready or doughy with not enough filling. An additional jam or butter would have benefited the buns.
Quickly getting back on track, the slow roasted beets were absolutely outstanding. Featuring apples, fantastic smoked walnuts, and a caraway vinaigrette with molasses, the smokey walnuts set this beet salad apart from those found on other menus, and really made this salad special.
Also worth a try is the cauliflower salad, with a nicely poached egg, smoked onions, radish, and crispy chicken skin. This salad had a nice flavor, but not quite as memorable as that beet salad.
The braised mushroom barley, with roasted cauliflower, crispy trumpet mushrooms, and pea tendrils is a lighter and healthier take on a vegetarian risotto, and the nutty barley was nicely paired with the earthy mushrooms.
We decided to finish our meal by sharing a delectable apple strudel with brandied raisins and crème fraîche ice cream, and it was delicious. Not too heavy or sweet, this strudel nicely summed up the feel of BoHo – comforting traditional dishes with a modern and refined flair.
In addition to wonderful cocktails, delicious food, and lovely decor, our server was also on point with wonderful recommendations and service with a smile. In sum, BoHo is all around fantastic, and I highly recommend it. I will definitely be returning to BoHo.
BoHo is open for dinner seven days a week. Reservations are accepted.
11 West Illinois Street, Chicago, Illinois 60654