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AMARO AND AMARO COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK

 

“Rumble in the Brancs” made with Branca Menta

Pair with- arriving too early at the restaurant and trying not to get too drunk before your semi cool inlaws show up… but you want to hang out with your super bitchin bartender and not order water like a turd, an unquenchable thirst from a rosè hangover, a 10k, a blistering hot summer day, carpaccio, trout, mint zucca, escarole salad.

 

A little something someone once said about Fernet Branca Menta:

Fernet Branca Menta  (also known as Branca Menta) was created in the 1960s, inspired by a famous opera singer Maria Callas. The singer was known to drink Fernet Branca along with a touch of mint syrup before each performance. This preparation of Fernet Branca wasn’t uncommon as it was known to be served as a frappe (over crushed ice) with mint syrup, especially in the summer. The Fratelli Branca Distillerie recognized the popularity of this preparation and so they created Fernet Branca with mint, a spirit based on Fernet Branca but with more mint, less alcohol, and more sugar. The initial Fernet with mint was colored green (the actual mint oil added was clear). Fernet with mint ultimately morphed into Fernet Menta when the colorings were dropped and then ultimately to Branca Menta.

Fernet Branca Menta (60 Proof / 30% ABV) is based on the same recipe as Fernet Branca including an assortment of 40 herbs, roots, and spices. While the exact recipe is a secret, we do know that Fernet-Branca contains aloe, gentian, chamomile, angelica, chincona, colombo root, chinese rhubarb, myrrh, peppermint, saffron, and iris.  Branca Menta adds to the equation more sugar and peppermint oil (Piedmontese peppermint). Side by side Fernet Branca and Fernet Branca Menta smell quite different. The lead note on the nose for Branca Menta is sweet mint, while Fernet Branca leads with bitter aloe. Underneath the mint in the Branca Menta are all the wonderfully bitter herbs that make Fernet what it is, but the sweet mint is so strong that they exist more as suggestions than anything else. The nose is considerably less complex on the Branca Menta than Fernet Branca, but it’s also considerably more inviting. The entry for Branca Menta is also considerably more inviting. Sweet mint jumps onto the palate from the get go, and feels like a liqueur on the palate with a thick and heavy mouthfeel. The thick layer of sweet mint does open slightly to allow some of the slightly bitter fernet elements to emerge in the midpalate, including the bitter aloe, chinese rhubarb, and saffron. Branca Menta’s bitter qualities really peak towards the end of the palate, but it’s also the point where the mint gets most intense. The sweet mint wins the battle here and dominates the finish with strong mint lingering for an extremely long time. The bitter is still there, but it’s ethereal, and there’s something really nice about the ethereal bitter quality.

Branca Menta may be too sweet for some, but it’s also light years ahead of Fernet Branca in approachability. Mint is a key element in making Fernet Branca both popular and palatable, and with Branca Menta it’s the mint that’s been brought forward to lead the pack. Since the mouthfeel for Branca Menta is a little heavy, it benefits from ice and does exceptionally well over crushed ice in a frappe. Fernet Branca is often consumed as a shot which helps speed through the stronger, bitter elements of its midpalate to get to its more balanced and minty finish. Branca Menta lends itself much more to sipping and its ethereal bitter quality can really be explored and savored as it’s sipped. While we absolutely adore Fernet Branca, it’s really not for everyone. Branca Menta, however, is an amaro that could have an extremely wide appeal. Mint is a popular flavor and Branca Menta does a superb job presenting strong mint balanced out with a nice bitter undertone. Bartenders often overlook Fernet Branca’s kindler, gentler relative, but that’s really a mistake. Branca Menta is a much better introduction into the world of Fernet for the uninitiated and over crushed ice (with a mint sprig garnish) is one of the easiest and most pleasing amaro preparations we’ve had. Branca Menta can also be mixed with Fernet Branca 1:1 to create an amazing middle ground that is both wonderfully bitter but much more balanced and minty. It’s simply superb.

CHARLATAN RELEASES SPRING MENU

CHICAGO, IL May 10th 2015 – Charlatan (1329 W. Chicago Ave) is pleased to announce debut of the late winter menu on May 10th.

Fresh spring vegetables including ramps, spring onions, fresh herbs and mushrooms are the sign on the season and the perfect time to usher in our spring menu change. Executive Chef Matt Troost has received rave reviews for his inventive house-made pastas, including the Black Kale Spagettini in a walnut pesto or Black Pepper Rigatoni served with Wild Boar Ragu. Often highlighted are the more untraditional menu item like our Pig Head for two. We have added Lamb Neck Stracatto for two with chickpea gnocchi, fried chickpeas, cuquillo olives, goat cheese, mint, pea shoots, confit garlic, and lamb jus. The attached menu features new house-rolled and extruded pastas like the Mushroom Rotolo with mushroom-ricotta filling, morels, sugar snap peas, and black garlic. Or be sure to try the Mint Zucca with rock shrimp and sweet pea bisque. Additional highlights include Smoked Bucatini Carbonara, Pan Fried Trout with new potatoes, grilled spring onions, salsa verde, and spring herbs, Beef Carpaccio with pickled ramps, calabrian aioli, parmesan, and dehydrated olives, Prosciutto with buckwheat gnocchi fritto, grilled asparagas, and pickled mustard seeds, and a Bruschetta with whipped house ricotta, golden beets, pickled morels, and crispy Spanish chorizo.

“Though an English word, Charlatan was born in Cerreto di Spoleto, a town in Italy once known for the wackiness and quirkiness of its natives. Charlatan to many is a huckster, a mountebank, an impersonator. To us he is a showman, who does much with little. Turning flour, water, and egg into spaghetti, lumache, and bucatini. Tomato, garlic and basil into a beautiful pomodoro, bruchetta, or acqua pazza. Taking a lesser cut of meat and turning it into a red wine-braised pork cheek with polenta, oxtail agnolotti, or roasted pig head in all its glory. Using a case of in season Cherries, a bottle of high proof, and a bag of sugar and making a house made Cello. A bottle of wine, a simple pasta, and attentive friendly service makes for a magical evening. “

The team behind Three Aces, Executive Chef Matt Troost along with Co-Owners and Chicago industry vets Lyle Aker and Anthony Potenzo carry successful histories in the nightlife and dining landscape (Google us), bringing a combined 65+ years of experience to the table and together they make Charlatan.

For press inquiries about Charlatan please contact Lyle Aker at lyle@CharlatanChicago.com

Watch this space for more stories.

Spring Bruschetta Charlatan 2015

Beef Carpaccio Charlatan 2015

Prosciutto Spring Charlatan 2015

FRIED CHICKEN & WAFFLE ALL NIGHT MONDAYS

CHICAGO, IL April 8th 2015 – At the behest of our guests and its rousing success on our late night menu Charlatan (1329 W. Chicago Ave) will now be offering Fried Chicken & Waffle on Mondays from 5PM ‘til 10PM.

West Town Tavern was famous for the Monday Fried Chicken special and in honor of our dear friends, we added the dish to our late night menu. Its immediate popularity has driven us to make it our Monday special as well. We present Charlatan’s Fried Chicken & Waffle Mondays, made with buttermilk soaked Slagel Family Farm chicken thighs, dredged in flour and cornmeal and twice fried to get that perfect crispy crunch. The chicken is served on a malted waffle, topped with honey-butter, Old Crow maple syrup, house-made hot sauce, pickled vegetables and seasonal Italian herbs. We anticipate this neighborhood favorite, three-piece Chicken dinner and a whole waffle for $19, to sell out every Monday.

“Though an English word, Charlatan was born in Cerreto di Spoleto, a town in Italy once known for the wackiness and quirkiness of its natives. Charlatan to many is a huckster, a mountebank, an impersonator. To us he is a showman, who does much with little. Turning flour, water, and egg into spaghetti, lumache, and bucatini. Tomato, garlic and basil into a beautiful pomodoro, bruschetta, or acqua pazza. Taking a lesser cut of meat and turning it into a red wine-braised pork cheek with polenta, oxtail agnolotti, or roasted pig head in all its glory. Using a case of in season cherries, a bottle of high proof, and a bag of sugar and making a house made Cello. A bottle of wine, a simple pasta, and attentive friendly service makes for a magical evening. “

The team behind Three Aces, Executive Chef Matt Troost along with Co-Owners and Chicago industry vets Lyle Aker and Anthony Potenzo carry successful histories in the nightlife and dining landscape (Google us), bringing a combined 65+ years of experience to the table and together they make Charlatan.

For press inquiries about Charlatan please contact Lyle Aker at lyle@CharlatanChicago.com

Watch this space for more stories.

CHARLATAN RELEASES LATE WINTER MENU

CHICAGO, IL January 27th 2015 – Charlatan (1329 W. Chicago Ave) is pleased to announce the debut of their late winter menu on January 28th.

Braised meats with slow cooked and roasted root vegetables are the signs of the season, and the perfect time to usher in the first menu change since Charlatan opened in October 2014. Executive Chef Matt Troost has received rave reviews for his inventive house-made pastas, including Black Kale Spaghettini in a walnut pesto or Black Pepper Rigatoni served with wild boar ragu. Often highlighted are the more untraditional menu items like Whole Oxtail served over creamy polenta and braised Pig Head to share. The attached menu features new house-rolled and extruded pastas like the Mushroom Messinese with a 45-minute duck egg and fresh truffles; or be sure to try the Charred Fennel Tortellini in a porchetta brodo served with crispy rosemary and belly porchetta. Additional highlights include Venison Tartare with roasted beets, anise, and pumpkin seeds, Chicken Liver Mousse with pickled cipollini and dehydrated olives, and a Suckling Pig Crepinette in a maple pork jus, dusted with cracklins.

“Though an English word, Charlatan was born in Cerreto di Spoleto, a town in Italy once known for the wackiness and quirkiness of its natives. Charlatan to many is a huckster, a mountebank, an impersonator. To us he is a showman, who does much with little. Turning flour, water, and egg into spaghetti, lumache, and bucatini. Tomato, garlic and basil into a beautiful pomodoro, bruschetta, or acqua pazza. Taking a lesser cut of meat and turning it into a red wine-braised pork cheek with polenta, oxtail agnolotti, or roasted pig head in all its glory. Using a case of in season cherries, a bottle of high proof, and a bag of sugar and making a house made Cello. A bottle of wine, a simple pasta, and attentive friendly service makes for a magical evening. “

The team behind Three Aces, Executive Chef Matt Troost along with Co-Owners and Chicago industry vets Lyle Aker and Anthony Potenzo carry successful histories in the nightlife and dining landscape (Google us), bringing a combined 65+ years of experience to the table and together they make Charlatan.

For press inquiries about Charlatan please contact Lyle Aker at lyle@CharlatanChicago.com

Watch this space for more stories.

Download PDF Dinner Late Winter 2015

OUR LATEST OBSESSION: SQUID INK PASTA FROM CHARLATAN via RABBIT HOLE MAGAZINE

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“Upon first glance, a heaping plate of pitch-black spaghetti hitting your dinner table might seem weird — is death metal pasta a thing? But at Charlatan, the new Italian restaurant in Chicago from the Three Aces team, the black pasta fits in perfectly with a candle-lit, cozy room full of people eating, laughing, and throwing back shots of Fernet Branca Menta, which is available here on tap.”

LINK TO RABBIT HOLE ARTICLE HERE

THANKS TO BONE MARROW, A CHARLATAN BARTENDER LEARNS TO LIKE BLOODY MARYS

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“Meat butter” is how Alex Enochs of Charlatan describes bone marrow, the ingredient with which Gilt Bar’s Remy Walle challenged him to create a cocktail. “Bone marrow in a cocktail is pretty ridiculous, and I think Rémy wanted to stick it to me a little bit,” he says.

Alex Enochs Video

WHERE TO MEET AND MINGLE via LOVETHISCITY.COM

Buffalo

“This West Town tavern and restaurant opened last fall, but it hasn’t slowed down once–not even on the coldest days in January. For those not dining, the front bar has become quite the hangout for neighborhood types, industry peeps and those looking for action.”

SEE FULL LOVE THIS CITY LINK HERE

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES CAME BY, SEE WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

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“Then there’s the showstopper: a whole pig’s head for two ($55). “It’s old-school Italian,” says Potenzo, whose grandfather made the delicacy for holidays and special occasions before “chasing the kids around with the eyeballs.” At Charlatan, there’s no chasing — but you will meet the blank stares of the taxidermied animal heads on the back wall. (There’s another good story behind one of them, too — just ask Aker after you’ve already enjoyed your dinner.)”

SUN TIMES FULL ARTICLE

THE INFATUATION.COM STOPPED BY, SEE WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

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Charlatan is basically the Midwest in a nutshell, or at least that’s the effect meat, carbs, beer, and dead animal heads have on us. We recently hit it up on a cold Tuesday night, and even though it was kind of empty when we got there, the place blew up by around 8 p.m. Granted, Charlatan is the new kid to the scene, but we think it’ll make friends just fine. The guys behind Three Aces have had success before, and with Charlatan, they took a bit of the Three Aces vibe and turned it into more of a restaurant than bar.
The menu is dominated by a number of attention-grabbing pasta dishes that you have the option of ordering half or whole. No matter which you order, expect a lot of real earthy and gamey flavors that will be the most enjoyable part of your meal. As practical as the pastas are, the real eye candy can be found at the bottom of the menu under a section appropriately titled “You + Me,” which is code for: “here’s a whole f*cking pig head.” And if that’s too crazy for you, there’s a slightly less ridiculous whole oxtail available too. The sight of it all is probably more pleasing than the taste, but that’s really more a nod to the absurdity of the two dishes than it is a total knock against the flavors of the food.
The place itself is begging you to eat and drink too much. Between the dishes and decor, we found ourselves thinking this would be an ideal place to get snowed in. Stone walls, wood tables, and giant animal heads give Charlatan a type of designer hunting lodge feel. On top of it all, the staff is cheerful and helpful too. They are good about answering questions, whether you’re curious about beer specials or food, and they definitely pushed us into ordering the whole oxtail the first time we went. Can’t say we were mad.
If you want to know what Charlatan is all about, look no further than the sign by the kitchen and bathroom doors: “Che Cazzo fai?,” which in Italian loosely translates to “what the f*ck are you doing.”
So, what are you doing? Take the bull by the horns, and by bull we mean pig head.

LINK TO FULL ARTICLE

CHARLATAN SET TO OPEN IN OCTOBER

The new concept, from the owners of Three Aces, brings locally sourced, modern Italian inspired fare – with local brews, hand-crafted cocktails, and an Italian and American wine list to West Town.

CHICAGO, IL September 15, 2014 – Charlatan (1329 W. Chicago Ave) is pleased to announce it will be opening its doors in October in the heart of the West Town neighborhood.

Though an English word, Charlatan was born in Cerreto di Spoleto, a town in Italy once known for the wackiness and quirkiness of its natives. Charlatan to many is a huckster, a mountebank, an impersonator. To us he is a showman, who does much with little. Turning flour, water, and egg into spaghetti, lumache, and bucatini. Tomato, garlic and basil into a beautiful pomodoro, bruschetta, or acqua pazza. Taking a lesser cut of meat and turning it into a red wine-braised pork cheek with polenta, oxtail agnolotti, or roasted pig head in all its glory. Using a case of in season cherries, a bottle of high proof, and a bag of sugar and making a house made Cello. A bottle of wine, a simple pasta, and attentive friendly service makes for a magical evening.

The team behind Three Aces, Executive Chef Matt Troost along with Co-Owners and Chicago industry vets Lyle Aker and Anthony Potenzo carry successful histories in the nightlife and dining landscape in Chicago, bringing a combined 65+ years of experience to the table and together they make Charlatan.

For press inquiries about Charlatan please contact Lyle Aker at lyle@CharlatanChicago.com.

Watch this space for more stories.

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