To call the food at Commonwealth Tavern “upscale bar food” is doing it a gross injustice. While Commonwealth, as an establishment, is not much more than a neighborhood sports bar, the food is deserving of a much grander stage, and of much attention.
My husband and I recently dined at Commonwealth, and we fully expected the traditional bar food found at other Chicago-area pubs. What we were served, however, were extremely flavorful, composed, and delicious dishes highlighting elements of smoke and spice with an international flair.
Commonwealth Tavern serves as the home of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, and also plays all of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, and Bears games. While we did not visit during one of these sporting events, I am told that it is quite crowded when they are aired – especially the Cowboys games, which made my Cowboys fan of a husband very happy.
Everything on the menu sounded great, so we decided to share a number of items, with the help of our friendly and informed server. I was immediately drawn to the spinach falafel on the bar snacks portion of the menu, so we started with those. The falafel were made of heaping amounts of fresh spinach, and sat atop a refreshing and flavorful tzatziki sauce, and were topped with pickled red onion, piparra peppers, cucumbers, crumbled feta, and pita chips. We gobbled up every bite.
Equally as impressive were the incredibly tasty fried smoked potatoes, with garlic aioli, pickled red onions, and scallions. They usually come with chorizo, but we requested it on the side. Oh my gosh, these smokey spuds were fantastic. I appreciate when potatoes are served with the skin intact, and these were perfectly crispy. Another win.
We then tried the warm ricotta, with peperonata – a stew of peppers, onions, and tomatoes – basil, and pizza oil, hidden below a mound of toasted bread. I am not sure what pizza oil is, but I need to have more of it in my life. The flavors just worked.
I absolutely loved the fluffy potato gnocchi with ricotta, mushrooms, smoked endive, black garlic, fresno chili peppers, and mushroom jus. Once again, the flavor combination was perfect, and I loved the contrast of the spice from the chili, the earthiness of the mushrooms, and the caramelization of the black garlic.
Our final savory dish was the 1/2 roasted chicken, which was very tender, and was served with a lovely spiced yogurt, smoked carrot, couscous, and green harissa – a traditional Tunisian herb blend. We, once again, enjoyed every bite.
For dessert, my husband, who typically never orders anything sweet, completely devoured the ice cream sandwich, featuring peanut butter semifreddo, chocolate crunch, and a bourbon caramel sauce.
I, on the other hand, enjoyed a special dessert of the evening – a more savory than sweet crustless cheesecake, topped with sweet currants, a graham cracker/granola hybrid crumble, and a salty and addicting maple sauce. I had to stop myself after two bites because I was already stuffed, but it was so good, I need to go back for more.
My husband and I were both blown away by the quality and taste of the food at Commonwealth. What Chef Donny is doing in the kitchen is worthy of praise and attention. Don’t wait to catch a game at Commonwealth – go now and enjoy the outstanding food.
Commonwealth is open for lunch Monday through Friday, dinner seven days a week, and brunch on the weekends. Reservations are not accepted.
2000 Roscoe Street, Chicago, Illinois 60618
While my meal was complimentary, all opinions expressed herein are my own.