Thursday, April 8, 2010

Longman & Eagle

Sometimes I wonder why Lakeview East can't grab a new gastropub like Longman or Revolution Brewing. What about a Gilt Bar, Big Star or something from Bill Kim? I'm not complaining about my location, it just would be awesome if I could walk down the street to cool bar with great food as opposed to making a night out of visiting other neighborhoods. I like the travel, but just one spot to call home would be great. 
Erica and I had a solid meal at Longman, but I dare to say that it is a bar first. The cocktail and drink selection is mind blowing. Having just returned from Kentucky Bourbon country, I appreciated the 80+ bourbons available to drink. They offer 1.25oz tastes or 2oz glasses. And it's not just bourbon, but all forms of whiskey including tasting flights for $12. Not to be outdone, the beer list is also impressive. Further supporting my view of a drink first place is the decor. Nicely dark, lots of wood, large bar and tight tables. Longman succeeds in their quest to feel like a neighborhood spot, where people know your name.

 
Don't get me wrong, the food is solid too, but each dish we ordered was missing "something." A friend said he thought they were "one note dishes," which I can also see. The menu is well laid out, with four sections: Snacks, Salads/Sandwiches, Plates (shareable), and Entrees. You have about 6-9 selections in each, with prices ranging from 5-7 for snacks, 8-11 salads, 9-11 plates and 17-21 for entrees. There's plenty to choose from and something for everyone.

We started with a nice sampling of Kobe meatballs, Sunchoke Bisque and organic mixed green salad. The meatballs were a little bland for Kobe meat, but the creamy polenta and parsley pesto were fantastic. My salad was nice, but the meyer lemon vinaigrette was very strong and felt like I was eating a lemon. Erica's bisque was our favorite dish of the night. The peeky toe crab added nice flavor and texture  to the creamy goodness. 



I ordered the Wild Boar Sloppy Joe for my main course and Erica had the seared scallops & braised oxtail. My sloppy joe was tasty and filling, but not "sloppy" enough to my liking. I enjoy a well seasoned tomato based sauce to make a sloppy joe, and this felt more like seasoned ground meat (almost taco style). I liked the crispy onions and the pickled jalapeno, but the meat lacked the punch I expect from a Joe. 


 Erica enjoyed her scallops, probably more than I enjoyed them. I just had a taste, and they were good. I didn't quite get the oxtail and don't think it added to the dish. There were potato gnocchi that I did not try, but guessing that neither one of us sent any food back, it must have been pretty good. 

The craziest dish of the night was dessert. We couldn't decide between the poached apple and the banana bread pudding. I should have gone with my gut, but we got talked into the poached apple. In fact, everything about the apple dish was great, french toast with bourbon maple syrup and a soft poached apple, except the bacon ice cream. I'm not much of bacon person, so I should have known, but I wanted to explore. As it turns out, I'm not a fan of bacon ice cream; it actually has bacon bits in the scoop. I know bacon is all the rage, it's not for me for dessert. 


The food at Longman & Eagle is solid, especially for a place that highlights the drink list. It is apparent there is a lot of talent in the kitchen, and maybe this is just the start of more great things to come. I would go back with drinking on my mind, with the added bonus of good food choices should I get hungry. And if you didn't know, their sign "Eat, Sleep, Whiskey" can be taken literally. I don't know the details yet, but there are/will be rooms to crash at the end of long night. Now that's a neighborhood bar that lets you stay a while.

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