Recently, Chritiques made the trek out to the western suburbs for a special dinner with friends. After hearing good things about Fire + Wine, located in downtown Glen Ellyn, and perusing the delicious-sounding menu, I was very much looking forward to it. While Fire + Wine does not take reservations, parties are able to call ahead for placement onto a priority seating list. Arriving at 8:00 p.m. on a Saturday evening, we only had to wait about ten minutes for our table; just enough time to order a wonderful glass of Pinot Noir from the restaurant’s extensive wine list at the bar.
The dining room is dark, with exposed brick walls and wood beams lining the ceiling. Tables are located in the center, with booth seating lining the walls. The atmosphere is lively, but not too loud for conversation.
Because the entire menu, made up of small plates, salads, wood-fired pizzas, pastas, and sides, looked incredibly appetizing, our table of four decided to share a selection of items from each section of the menu. To start, we ordered the ricotta jar, filled with light, whipped ricotta, with freshly baked bread and wildflower honeycomb served on the side. The flavor of the ricotta with the honey, spread over the warm, chewy bread, was wonderful. Our only complaint was that it was served with only three slices of bread for four people, and definitely not enough for the entire jar. When we asked for more, our server had a look of consternation on his face as if we were crazy to ask for more!
We also tried the Italian bean dip, a hummus-like dish made with garbanzo beans, tahini sauce, smoked paprika, and toasted pizza bread. While very good, the bean dip was really no different than any other hummus dish that I have had before. The pizza bread, however, was warm, delicious and amazing!
An order of zucchini fries rounded out the small plate selections. The zucchini was cut into fry-like shapes, and nicely fried and topped with a little sea salt and parmesan cheese. Served with a ranch-like dipping sauce on the side, these were fantastic. Since they were zucchini, they were healthy, right?!?
Next came our salad course. We opted for the grilled romaine, served with tomatoes, gorgonzola, pancetta (on the side for me), and creamy parmesan dressing. The dressing made this dish, but it did not quite live up to the praises I heard sung about it.
Instead, I thoroughly enjoyed the quinoa and charred broccolini salad. French green beans, organic carrots, and a nice citrus vinaigrette rounded out the dish. It would have made an excellent main course for lighter appetites.
No trip to Fire + Wine would be complete without a Neapolitan wood fired pizza or two. We demolished the bianco, featuring extra virgin olive oil, roasted garlic, mozzarella, oregano, crispy sage, butternut squash, pecorino, and truffle oil. I am still dreaming about this pizza, including the perfectly cooked crust and the medley of amazing flavors. Aside from the ricotta jar, this was my favorite dish of the night.
Our table also enjoyed the butcher’s corner pizza, with pepperoni, fennel, sausage, tomato sauce, oregano, mozzarella, and mushrooms.
Shockingly, we still had room for dessert. My favorite was the butterscotch budino – a glass full of pudding-like goodness topped with whipped cream that I almost completely finished myself. The Italian doughnuts were also deliciously sinful. A plate full of freshly fried dough, served hot and topped with powdered sugar was served with a bowl of dark chocolate for dipping on the side. Doughnuts usually do not excite me very much, but I could not stop eating these lovely puffs of goodness.
Service was good, for the most part, with the exception of the bread incident, mentioned above, as well as when our server brought me a new glass of wine, which I did not order, and then, without asking, proceeded to pour what remained of my existing glass into the new one – a HUGE no-no for me, as well as my fellow oenophiles.
Overall, however, I was completely pleased and impressed with our meal, and I will absolutely return again very soon.
433 North Main Street, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137