One of my very first Chritiques was of Coppervine earlier this year. When I was invited to return for a pre-fixe dinner arranged by the Chicago Food Bloggers, I jumped at the opportunity to experience it once again, and to explore the new and updated menu. Partner and Beverage Director, Don Sritong, along with Executive Chef David Wang, put together an incredible meal for us, which highlighted the restaurant’s most popular dishes, along with expert drink pairings.
Coppervine takes its name from a combination of things. First, a beautiful vine runs throughout the restaurant as part of its decor. Additionally, as a nod to the drink pairings recommended by the restaurant, “copper” is the material in which many liquors are distilled, and “vine” pays homage to the grapes that are made into wine. As explained in my previous Chritique of Coppervine, each menu item includes a recommended beer, wine and cocktail pairing. Guests can choose to order the pairings with their dishes, or order drinks a la carte. The goal of Coppervine is to have each diner consciously think about the interplay of food and drink and how each can mutually benefit the other.
To begin, we enjoyed three small plates, each paired with a different beer. Beer tastings are served in 5 ounce pours, cocktails in 2, and wines in 3, so as to allow diners to try a number of different drinks. We enjoyed blue lump crab fritters, served with smoked corn and a spicy and delicious guindilla pepper aioli. The Brooklyn Blast IPA from Brooklyn Brewery was not overly hoppy and balanced nicely against the spicy sauce. I absolutely loved the crab fritters.
We also enjoyed a classic ahi tuna tartare, served atop a nice house made giardiniera. The flavorful and light tartare was paired with a Centennial IPA from Founders Brewing Company.
A favorite from my last meal at Coppervine, the Maine lobster mac & cheese with a panko-romano crust, was also served, along with a citrusy SideKick Extra Pale Ale by Two Brothers. The chunks of lobster in the creamy pasta was delicious, and the Pale Ale paired perfectly with it. I am not much of a beer drinker, but I really enjoyed this one by SideKick.
We then moved on to three cocktail pairings, which were among my favorites. The mozzarella di bufala flatbread, with heirloom tomatoes, basil, and roasted garlic was great, and when paired with the Heirloom Daquiri, made with tequila, marashino, muddled tomatoes, basil, and lime, was fantastic. On its own, the tomatoes in the daquiri were undetectable, but when paired with the flatbread, the fresh tomato flavors shined. This pairing really highlighted how drinks can boost the flavor of food, and vice-versa.
The English pea agnolotti, served with haricot vert, lobster mushrooms, burratta cheese, and mizuna, was another outstanding dish. It was light, flavorful, and seasonal. The dish paired harmoniously with my favorite cocktail of the evening, The Standard, made with Death’s Door Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, St. Germain, fresh lemon, and egg whites. This combination is a perfect summer meal for me.
For heartier appetites, the Maine lobster BLT, with Nueske’s applesmoke bacon, heirloom tomatoes, and truffle mayo would be a winner. The decadent dish pairs with Coppervine’s number one selling cocktail, the Brown Butter Old Fashioned. Made with brown butter infused bourbon, brown sugar, and aromatic bitters, it highlighted the smoked bacon and truffle mayo and made a great combination.
Three wine tastings were then paired with the entrees. My favorite entree of the evening was the diver scallops, prepared with morel mushrooms, English peas, tomato butter, and English pea puree. Sure, I have a thing for mushrooms and peas, but it really was that good. And, paired with the 2012 Qupe Chardonnay Y Block Bien Nacido, a nice and smooth white wine that is not too buttery or oaky, you would love it, too.
Other entree winners included the crispy Miller Farms fried chicken, served with buttermilk whipped potatoes and sriracha mayo. The chicken was complemented nicely by a 2008 Jean-Francois Merieau “Bulles” sparkling wine from the Loire Valley.
My favorite wine of the evening, a 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin De Tablas, from Paso Robles, matched nicely with the exquisitely executed lamb t-bone, with heirloom baby carrots and mint chimichurri.
Luckily I saved room for dessert, which included a chocolate molten cake with Chantilly cream, and a seasonal rhubarb cobbler with mint ice cream. The chocolate was wonderfully decadent and paired well with the Port Madeira. The rhubarb cobbler was sweet and satisfying.
Coppervine is still producing quality dishes, paired perfectly with select beers, cocktails, and wines. Coppervine is a perfect date spot, or dinner with friends who love food and drinks as much as you do. I was happy to return again, and share my meal with Mike of Chicago Food Bloggers, Amanda of The Ghost Guest, Starr of Chicago Foodie Girl, and Douglas, of Chicago Pinot.
1962 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL
My meal was complimentary, but all views expressed herein are my own.