Tucked away on the busy stretch of Grand Avenue in Chicago’s West Town is TWO Restaurant and Bar, which has been serving Midwestern cuisine since 2012. TWO focuses on wholesome, seasonal ingredients that are typically found at local butchers, farms, markets, or fisheries. Except at TWO, all bacon, sausage, jerky, cheeses, sauces, and pastas are made in-house. As a result, the menu constantly changes to highlight seasonal ingredients and new dishes developed by the kitchen. The name “TWO” not only comes from the fact that TWO is General Manager Yamandú Pérez’s second restaurant, but also because all of TWO’s interior detail is reclaimed and reused.
TWO has been on my list of restaurants to try since it first opened, and I was looking forward to my recent visit. To begin, my husband and I started with the P.E.I. mussels, prepared with saffron, tomato broth, and buttered leeks, and served with grilled bread. The mussels were wonderfully cooked and the broth was quite flavorful. The grilled bread served as the perfect sponge to soak up the remaining broth.
We then tried the succulent day boat scallops, served atop a sunchoke bisque, with Yukon gold potatoes, roasted celery root, radish, and chives. The scallops were perfectly cooked and had a nice caramelization on each side. It was a nicely flavored and light dish.
The one mis-step of the evening was the black truffle risotto, with butter poached lobster, fresh thyme, and Parmesan. We opted to add a fried duck egg, and that was the error. While the risotto, itself, was nicely flavored, though a bit too creamy and heavy for my usual tastes, and the lobster nicely cooked, the duck egg was rubbery and basically inedible. A more generous portion of lobster would be appreciate, as well, rather than five small pieces.
My husband enjoyed the fried chicken leg, served atop creamed spinach, roasted wild mushrooms, lemon juice, and chili oil. The skin was perfectly crispy, while the meat was tender, and the acid from the lemon juice and chili oil provided a nice contrast to the fried batter.
We ended the meal with a fantastic gingerbread pudding, served with a chocolate ganache, chantilly cream, and homemade ice cream. It was decadent and delicious.
With the exception of the overcooked egg atop the risotto, we enjoyed our meal at TWO. Service was friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive, without being overbearing, and I enjoyed the well-curated cocktail, wine, and beer menu. I look forward to returning as the menu develops with the seasons.
TWO is a great restaurant to visit with friends so that an array of dishes can be shared, and is a nice date spot, as well. TWO is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Reservations are accepted.
1132 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60642