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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



SAVOR REVIEW Hoyt's: Very satisfying fare from a Loop fixture
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 651 times since Sun Sep 3, 2023
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You might have walked by Hoyt's American Tavern (71 E. Wacker Dr.; a thousand times, and not have been aware of it.

But the dependable spot (situated on the river between LondonHouse and the cool-looking Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist) has been around more than a decade—back when the Royal Sonesta hotel it's affiliated with was Hotel 71.

And Hoyt's is true to its name, as it has some of the most traditionally American dishes you're likely to find—and they're all done well, with a few standouts.

However, you should definitely start things with a drink—and the cocktails here are interesting if for no other reason than they're named after Chicago landmarks. For example, The Water Tower contains mezcal, Aperol, lemon, honey and … aquafaba (the water from cooked beans, often used as an egg substitute); and The 31st Street Beach has Grey Goose, lemon. St. Germaine, cucumber and soda. However, I opted for the What You Talkin' About, Willis?—a delightful olio of jasmine-infused vodka, mango puree, coconut milk, lemon and orange bitters. (However, I had to admonish the server for not knowing what TV show that phrase is from.)

As for the snacks/appetizers, my dining companion and I went for the roasted mushroom-and-gouda flatbread and the steak-rubbed wings. (Another quibble: The menu just reads "roasted mushroom and gouda," with no acknowledgement that they're on a flatbread—something the staff already knew.) The flatbread really floored my friend, who ranked it a 10 on a scale of one to 10; I thought it was very good as well, but I would go with a 7.5. The wings, which came with sport pepper ranch dressing, were "solid performers," as they say. Some of the other apps included crackling mushrooms (which may be on a flatbread as well), chard scallion whipped feta, crisp haricot vert/green beans and yellow Thai mussels. Salads include baby kale and candied pistachio; berries and balsamic; and arugula Caesar (which I was told contains a fair amount of lettuce, although that also is not the menu).

The mains were also pretty pleasing. My friend chose the grilled yogurt-marinated chicken (with baby vegetables and poblanos) while I had the dry-brined heritage pork. The chicken (which I also tried) was "memorable," according to my friend; I agreed about its quality—and was thankful that it wasn't dry. The pork was also prepared well and I was once again thankful—not for the meat, but for the flavorful pea puree that accompanied it, as it was needed to balance the somewhat bland potatoes. You may want to try the burger, branzino or (new) lobster roll, however.

And the desserts provided a nice, tidy end to the evening. Again, Hoyt's is not reinventing the wheel with its dishes but it does a nice job with a blueberry peach cobbler and a brownie a la mode that will definitely hit the spot.

Despite a few glitches that shouldn't happen with a venue that's been around for as long as Hoyt's has, there are certainly more than a few reasons to recommend this spot, including enticing food and a restaurant staff that's been more upbeat than any from recent memory. Just be sure to think about it as you stroll along that stretch of Wacker Drive—for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Note: This visit was arranged.

This article shared 651 times since Sun Sep 3, 2023
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