Holy Nola, Sweetwater is Sweet

Millennium Park is Chicago’s cleaner, nicer version of Central Park. It’s an expansive hub of cultural and artistic activity paralleling Lake Michigan. From the Bean and the Art Institute to innovative street performances, this area is always the “happening” place to be. As such, the typical, sit-down restaurant around here tends to be a little on the over-priced side. Tavern at The Park is a perfect example. Now, let me tell you about a better gastro-pub around the corner from Tavern called Sweetwater.

Sweetwater Tavern and Grille may not have views of “The Park” from its windows, but it definitely has a more inviting atmosphere for grabbing drinks and sitting down for a casual meal. The menu is your standard bar fare with burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and salads, but it also has fancier entrees like chops and steak. The meat is from Niman Ranch, offering grass-fed, antibiotic free products. I’m personally not a meat person, but I appreciate this fact as it is clearly printed on the menu.

When the food arrived, it was Texas-style. The portions were enormous and looked very appealing. My partner ordered the Big Baby, an Angus beef patty with Guinness cheddar, onion rings and chipotle aioli on pretzel bread. I don’t know how people can eat that without messing up their face and the plate. I got the Nola Salad featuring blackened salmon and deviled eggs over zesty, citrus-dressed mixed greens. It was very satisfying, and the capers mixed in well with the Greek-style salad and the fish. The addition of the deviled eggs was definitely the gourmand answer to what I crave in a bar meal. It wasn’t necessary, but since it was there, I ate it happily.

Dislikes: The Guinness cheddar was more gimmicky than an actual flavor component. Also, my salmon almost looked like sashimi on the inside. Likes: Tater tots offered as a side. Both meals with two beers cost around forty bucks. Overall: the food was pretty good. The place has an upscale atmosphere with prices that are reasonable. Better than Tavern at The Park, for sure.

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