Over the weekend we met up with friends at Smyth + The Loyalist, a dual-concept, farm-to-table restaurant and bar in the West Loop. The upstairs, Smyth, features a tasting menu which Graham and I have already decided we need to check out sometime. But for this occasion, we went to the downstairs section called The Loyalist, and I’m so glad we decided to try it out.
Surprisingly we flew into the city in a matter of 30 minutes, which, coming from Aurora, is record breaking time for us. Whether it was due to the fact that everyone was already in the city at St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, or our rather late 9:15 reservation time, we were happy to miss the crazy traffic that we are used to. After arriving a bit early, we were seated at one of the bar tables to wait for the rest of the group. I went for the Coco Lamate cocktail with yerba mate gin, saffron, honey, lemon, and grapefruit bitters. They had me at the yerba mate gin, it was amazing. Graham went for the Rodenbach Grand Cru Sour beer, and although it wasn’t at his ideal “sour” level, we both agreed it was an awesome sour beer.
Once the rest of our group arrived we were all seated at a table. After agreeing that everything on the menu sounded worth trying, we went for a few appetizers and then entrees. For appetizers, we got the Potato flatbread with shelling bean hummus and salsa verde, the rice grits, liver mousse glazed chicken thigh and hot sauce, the malpeque oysters with grapefruit and yozu koshu, and the red beets and grilled avocado with pumpkin seed butter. The oysters were my absolute favorite of the selection we tried.
My choice for entree was the grilled miatake casarecce, smoked ricotta, and chile. It was phenomenal. Seriously I was in love. It had great complexity, the perfect dimensions of texture and unique flavors that all worked perfectly together. I would go back solely for this dish. Graham splurged on the aged ribeye topped with brown butter and black garlic which also came with a side of potatoes, slow cooked onions and aged cheddar.
Overall I really enjoyed the food, the drinks, and the atmosphere. With good music, rustic decor and ambient light, The Loyalist is a nice upscale bar that still feels casual and cool. While the wait for drinks and food was a bit slow, the quality of taste and service was impeccable. Our waitress was on top of her game, constantly paying attention to anything we might need and went above and beyond to tell us about the place and herself. The Loyalist has a great story, great people, and great food. You’ve got to check it out.