Saturday, December 3, 2011

Three Aces

I was the lucky man to have two awesome ladies join me for a meal and drink at Three Aces this week. Since moving to Wicker Park I've always said I would like to spend more time in Italy since it's much closer than living in Lakeview. I've heard good things about 3 Aces from multiple sources and I can add my praise to the list. I've also heard how much more fun it is in the summer with the large patio open - something to look forward to in a few months (that and the Big Star patio). The vibe is great  and the scene is definitely more bar than restaurant with a few tables and loud music and a large bar. The drink list is great and huge with many choices of cocktails and a seriously large beer selection. The menu is organized as "small plate" sharing (I guess that fad is here to stay), but it also works well since most people might come for drinks and get a little food here and there. I enjoyed our food choices but there was some variability in the quality and flavors of what we ordered. It's good enough to enjoy without being too critical and certainly tastes better alongside the drinks. 

We started with three dishes: tortellini, grilled romaine, and butternut squash soup. All were nice - the soup had good flavors and solid kick of spice, the grilled romaine was interesting and kind of goofy but hard to mess up and I liked the light dressing and my favorite was the tortellini though the pasta seemed slightly under cooked or too "al dente" for my preference. 

The next three plates we tried a pizza, the burger and the gnocchi with rabbit ragu. I must not have read the menu closely because our pizza came with pickled peppers which is the same as hot "banana" peppers as I know them. We were expecting basil pesto, four cheese blend, and pickled peppers, but we felt like it was too light on the pesto and too heavy on the peppers. I did like the wood tree trunk serving plate. The Ace Burger (aged cheddar, trimmings, bacon jam, aioli, fries, garlic and hops pickle) was good but it's huge and a full meal on a bun. It's a solid option for the bar with good fries, though somewhat expensive at $13. Our ricotta gnocchi (with confit rabbit, mushrooms, pecorino, celeriac cream sauce) was nice but quite salty. There was plenty of flavors and well made gnocchi but the sauce was overpowering with salt. 

Finally we ended our meal with a few apple glazed doughnuts. They don't stand a chance against the Doughnut Vault but a little sweet at the end of the meal didn't hurt. What I like most about 3 Aces is that they know their identity and embrace it completely. They are a neighborhood rock n roll bar serving good Italian food. Or in their own words, "The Italian countryside meets the american Keith Richard's basement bar." I wasn't overwhelmed with the food quality but it's a good experience and one that I would return to, and quite frequently if I lived down the street (plus need to check out patio in summer). 

Three Aces on Urbanspoon

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