This week I’m featuring a great new find called Haywood Tavern. An invitation to do a menu tasting brought me in to this European inspired corner eatery, and I am so glad it did! Located in the upcoming Humboldt Park neighborhood, this corner bar definitely promises to break the stereotype of bar food, by offering high quality yet affordable fare.
With dishes like the salted cod croquettes, smoked whitefish dip & white anchovy olives, you can eat fancy without breaking the bank! The menu is succinct, with only nine appetizers and six entrees. To me, that says something about a restaurant’s confidence in what is being offered. And, I also appreciated not being overwhelmed by the menu choices.
The drinks menu offers some amazing wine options and six cocktails with fun names like, The August and The Sneeze Guard. And if you happen to stop by on the weekend, I hear their Brunch Bloody is a must try!
Like the menu, the tasting happened in two waves - the small plates and the entrées. I began with a very healthy & delicious Russian kale salad with apples & raisins lavishly scattered throughout. The taste of the lemon vinaigrette in the salad still lingers in my mouth. The Octopus A La Plancha however, was the most impressive of them all. In front of me was a beautifully served Spanish octopus in pimento oil & sherry vinegar, served with gordal olives and crunchy potatoes. The octopus was topped with orange zest and together they worked magic. I can see myself going back just for that dish!
And yet, the dish that made all the difference for me was the Grilled Rainbow Trout. Although this entree is on the pricier side of the menu, it is so worth it! As the name implies, the fish was perfectly grilled (whole), with accompaniments of potatoes and a Piparras chili pepper salad. As I peeled the skin off, a tender, aromatic piece of fish revealed itself looking every bit appetizing. The fish was salty in just the right proportion and the flavors remained cryptic enough to preserve the true taste of the fish. I could tell right then that this dish had been conceptualized with careful thought and prepared with a lot of love. Lucky for me, I got to bring some home!
Everything at this restaurant is made from simple, high-quality ingredients and seasoned so nicely; it makes you forget you are at a tavern.
Haywood Tavern began as a vision of two friends, Rodney Staton & Jason Balutan, who wanted to create a friendly neighborhood space that offered a rotating menu. Staton’s background boasts impressive culinary experience in restaurants such as Longman & Eagle and Spiaggia .The food is heavily inspired by Spanish, Italian and French cuisines, which sets it apart from your regular corner bar. I very much enjoyed my visit, so if you want to eat fancy yet feel casual, Haywood Tavern is just the place for you!