image from Jaclyn Rivas via TimeOut
During the summer months, there is nothing better than open-air dining. Whether it’s on the patio or by the retractable floor-to-ceiling windows, Corridor Brewery & Provisions is exactly the sort of place I want to imbibe the alcohols and eat the foods. Even on a Sunday night, the Lakeview spot is noisily crowded, conversation bouncing off the exposed brick and the hanging yellow tandem bicycle to be swallowed up by the open expanse of the night.
The first time I went, I was unavoidably excited about the seared tuna sandwich, but when it arrived, it was missing the promised green tomato and daikon. The fish was rosy and beautifully cooked, a monstrous piece of fish for the price, but underseasoned and missing those satisfying acidic and crunchy counterpoints. What managed to save the meal were the Belgian mussels, $12 fetching you a hefty pile of bivalves swimming in an ocean of creamy beer broth and buttered leeks. There has been many a time I’ve grown bored with these ubiquitous mussel dishes, but this is not one of them.
The mussels are just as good the second visit, and perfect dipping for our fries. These fat, crispy batons come courtesy of a roast beef sandwich, which could easily have had difficulties distinguishing itself in a beef-centric city like Chicago. But this one is fresh and juicy and oozing tangy horseradish sour cream on a soft yet crusty roll that both maintains integrity and the proper meat-to-bread ratio, the most important ratio of all.
Less consistent are the pizzas, including a clever combo of Spanish chorizo, dates, and goat cheese that is smoky and peppery with arugula. It’s not nearly avec’s famed dates on a pie, but it’s paydirt for sweet-and-salty lovers. A steak and chimichurri pizza is a little clunkier, the herbs of the chimi failing to pop and large chunks of lemony cheese weigh the dish down. The crust is also conspicuously burnt.
But the memory of these sporadic flaws is washed away by the Rapunzel, a Belgian golden ale that marries easily to the mussels, all hints of candy and infinitely drinkable. I’d climb a tower for another pint. These are accompanied on the menu by other craft-brewed beers bearing names like Wizard Fight and Drink Me and Acquainted with Butterflies, the latter a tart and light saison that finishes off the night.
True to their word, I still get butterflies thinking about our meal. The food and drink exhibit far more care than any restaurant/bar requires without ever providing sticker shock. Service can be occasionally absent, but it’s polite and pleasant and most importantly, offers us extra bread without once trying to steal away our jealously-guarded bowl of mussel broth. Corridor isn’t the perfect place, but on a lush summer night with friends, it’s the place I want to be.