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Twice as Nice – The Sheerin Brothers Tackle Trenchermen Together

Every restaurant has a concept. It’s how well they execute it that matters.Trenchermen, brought to us by chef brothers Mike and Pat Sheerin, have nailed it. Unusual, thematic, and nuanced best describes both the selection and the space that this Wicker Park establishment has brought to the Chicago food scene.

Immediately when walking in, the dedication the designers put forth in achieving a distinct look and feel is evident. Down to the details, the atmosphere is one that transports you to a different time and place: earthy, scientific. It’s a “1900s factory feel” that is carried out throughout the separated restaurant and bar spaces in era-approved style.

As far as the food goes, the Sheerin brothers, both who hale from prominent fine dining institutions, have come together at last to create synergistic dinner and brunch menu that adequately reflect their proficiency in flavor combination. Even the most experienced diner should anticipate reading the ingredient description on the menu and instead of thinking, “Yum,” think: “How?”

All questions aside, the answer to that can be found in their spot-on execution. Take for example the Kimcheee Mortadella Bao on their brunch menu. Both Kimchee and Bao are typical Asian fare, while Mortadella is a staple at any Italian deli. Put them together and serve with a side of homemade chips, and there’s a crave-worthy savory sandwich. Given how unexpectedly well the dishes come together, it’s truly as if these brothers have are holding a secret to combination mastery that other chefs simply don’t get.

Kimcheee Mortadella Bao

Now by definition, a trencherman is person who enjoys food, a hearty eater. While one may expect gluttonous portions of rich delicacies coming from this kitchen in particular, it is quite the opposite. Plates are well done, but not filling. Considering the average cost per dish (entrees around $24), diners may have a difficult time getting behind the skimpy sizes after adding a starter, dessert, and drinks to the line-up.

Another muted point about Trenchermen lies in their service. Very clearly, they aren’t operating in fine-dining digs. However, refined, start-to-finish service from an establishment whose leaders hail from Michelin-rated institutions is expected, and simply not there. Servers cannot be expected to anticipate needs or contribute to the experience in any compelling matter. For that, diners will have to rely on the food and their company alone. Do remember to keep an eye out for the Sheerin brothers, who will peek out into the dining room from time to time during service.

On a final note: come thirsty, as their beverage menu is as advanced as their food, making it the perfect place to hunker down with a craft cocktail, glass of rose, or bottle of an unexpected new favorite.

Emily Belden

Emily Belden

everyone's favorite no-one | nerd trapped in a cool kid's body | writer, blogger | cooler online than in real life | doesn't come home to stuffed animals |

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