Maude’s Liquor Bar, located in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago, is a rustic French-inspired restaurant, and part of the Brendan Sodikoff empire (Bavette’s, Gilt Bar, Au Cheval, Green Street Smoked Meats, to name a few). Maude’s opened in late 2010, and not much of the menu has changed since then, likely because it stays true to classic dishes that work, like steak tartare, mussels, and escargot. The menu features shareable dishes, seafood towers, classic French dishes, and tasty sides. Cocktails are the emphasis here, but a carefully curated wine and beer list is offered, as well. The vibe is laid-back chic, with mis-matched tables, chairs, and couches, and antique chandeliers. While comfortable for dinner, you will not overstay your welcome here.
I recently dined with my fellow blogger buddies Tiffany of Style Sidebar, and Brittany of The F Bombs and we had a fantastic time; not only because of the company, but because of the food and drinks, as well.
We started with what ended up being my favorite dish of the evening – the Délice de Bourgogne cheese. The creamy French cheese was paired with phenomenal brandied honey crisp apples. I wish all applesauce could taste this good! A delicious and just-baked baguette accompanied the cheese, and we spent the entire evening savoring both the cheese and bread. I could easily make a meal out of this, along with some wine, all by myself.
To make things a bit more healthy, we then tried the shaved vegetable salad, with beets, carrots, apple, walnuts and bleu d’auvergne cheese. The salad was incredibly flavorful, especially thanks to the blue cheese (yes, more cheese!). I enjoyed it and was glad that I ate my veggies.
Tiffany and Brittany really enjoyed the tenderloin steak tartare, with slow cooked egg yolk, capers, parsley, and Calabrian chili, served alongside crusty and buttery bread. This dish came highly recommended, and they were not disappointed.
Next were the steamed mussels, with pastis, celery root, fine herbs, and more baguette, perfect for sopping up the tasty broth. While the broth could have used a bit more flavor, the mussels were still quite good and nicely cooked. Typically, this dish is prepared with bacon, and perhaps that addition would add a salty and more flavorful component to the broth.
Another incredible dish that we tried was the ricotta gnocchi, prepared with royal trumpet mushrooms, brown butter, and thyme. I certainly could not have eaten an entire plate myself as it was quite rich, but it was perfect for sharing. I liked that these gnocchi were made with ricotta cheese, rather than with potato, and the mushrooms added a nice earthiness.
Finally, we rounded out our meal with a side of blackened Brussels sprouts, prepared with parmesan and chives. These sprouts were tasty and nicely cooked, and a nice accompaniment to the gnocchi.
Overall, we had a wonderful meal at Maude’s. From the drinks, to the service, to the food, everything was nicely executed. Maude’s is a perfect date night spot, in addition to suiting small groups of friends. The smashes and throwback cocktails are recommended, and do not miss the Délice de Bourgogne cheese.
Maude’s is open for dinner seven days a week. Reservations are accepted.
840 West Randolph, Chicago, IL 60607