Eat Right Around Chicago

Chicago Restaurant - Boystown Neighborhood Bistro

In the eclectic Chicago district affectionately called Boystown, sits Executive Chef Joncarl Lachman's brick-walled, bustling bistro, Home Bistro.  This BYOB (no cork charge) is known for its home cooking, comfortable but urban atmosphere and yummy, generously portioned dishes - but I wasn't sure if this bistro would be all buttery and bacon, or if I would be able to eat right.  
It was a full flight this Friday evening at 9PM, but the host was able to find us a suitable table in the warm colored and candlelit dining area.  Although the space is limited in HB, the tables are well-placed and elbow room is ample.  HB's atmosphere offers the perfect mix of happy patron laughter, unpretentious service and "welcome to the neighborhood" feel. 

As I scanned the menu, I saw that there were several starters that could fit if you want to eat right.  You must be cautious however, several sounded lovely up to the point where they added pork, fried it or wrapped it in bacon before baking in brown sugar.  Not to worry, to eat right the Crab -n-a-Cart (baked crab, house made hot pepper sauce, small greens, lemon wedge), Seared Scallop in Mustard Soup or assorted green options (except for the Caesar) would have fit just fine.  Unfortunately, my dinner mate couldn't take his eyes off the Gouda Tasting:  a 5-year aged, Roomkaas (a double-cream, cow's milk cheese) and Leiden (a drier cheese with cumin).  Each ounce of Gouda has about 125 calories and 10 grams of fat so this starter sounds like a diet disaster.  Fortunately, HB helps out.  

Instead of sitting a basket of bread next to the tasting of Gouda, HB presents you with whole-grain rye crackers (Wasa is a common brand).  Each of these rectangles supplies about 45 calories, no fat and a couple grams of fiber.  This means that you can enjoy a tasting (a taste, not a trough) of Gouda with a crisp or two and get away with about 200 calories worth of starter.  Slice wisely, not aggressively and consider the Gouda when selecting your entree. 

HB 1.JPG

Thank you, kind server, for the meal pic!

Given the Gouda, I wanted a vegetable-rich, antioxidant-packed, nutritious dish.  HB does offer Beer Battered Haddock, Shrimp & Oyster Chowder and Lamb Merguez Sausage, but the list also includes healthier options like Baked Red Grouper, Coriander Rubbed Salmon, a traditional Bouillabaisse and the veggie-dense meal I chose:  Champagne Braised Leeks. The leeks are atop a polenta cake with harissa (chili paste), tarragon pesto and toasted almonds.  (By the way, for those with Celiac Disease, a polenta cake is a great gluten-free diet option - if made with only corn and made in a gluten-free food plant.)

Not only did the dish satisfy my tastebuds, it provided me potential health benefits.  Leeks belong to the same group as garlic, onions, chives and shallots; they are part of the Allium family. Diets high in this family may help reduce the risk of chronic disease - such as heart disease and cancer.  Oh, and leeks have a sweet, subtle taste that is complemented well by the tangy harissa.

HB 2.JPG

Thanks for this pic, too!

After my evening at Home Bistro, I was comfortably satisfied, nutritiously pleased and glad I was able to eat right. 

Thank you, HB!     

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