Evanston’s 27 Live, a music and event venue, has branched out into the dining business with a new restaurant. The Treble-Maker Grill is owned by John Tasiopoulos, while the kitchen is helmed by Charles Andersson (Green Dolphin, Butter, Sage Grille) and Joe Moore (Marigold). Their menu pays homage to rock legends such Kurt Cobain (the Nirvana Burger). The goal of the restaurant is to serve a seasonally-inspired menu using locally-sourced ingredients, hand-ground meats and house-made bread and pastas. They've been open a few weeks, serving lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday and a brunch on Sundays.
It's a nice space, with an attention to small details, like the tin-ceiling-inspired stencils on the acoustic tiles. Seating includes booths, small tables, and stools at the bar. The bar anchors one end of the room, displaying guitars, bottles of booze, and a menu of cocktails, beer, and wine (small but well-thought-out list). Most of the pictures hung on the wall are of dead rock stars, many (most? all?) from the “Forever 27 Club,” a group of popular musicians who died at age 27. Oddly enough, the music selection wasn't very good when we visited, at least in my opinion - I would have expected better, something more inspired.
Drinks menu is small but decent - I had an IPA from local craft brewery Temperance, while Tazer opted for a Gosling's Ginger Beer (very good, you should try it). I had hoped to try the Grüner Veltliner from the wine list, but the waitress never asked if I wanted another drink - bummer. Really tasty focaccia bread was served with the drinks, a nice surprise.
The menu makes it tough to choose, with so many things that sound good that you know you're missing out on something. Since we wanted to include dessert in our meal, we ordered only two starters. A definite must are the Battered Pickle Spears (Battered Kosher Spears, Fried to a Golden Brown with Ranch Dressing), crisp batter, crunchy pickles, these were outstanding. A maybe was the Poutine (Hand Cut Fries, Topped with Brown Gravy, Cheese Curds and Green Onion) - while the flavor was really good, the fries were not crisp (and made softer by the gravy), and the gravy itself looked like it had come out of a can. Tasty but not inspired. Two entrees were then forthcoming. The Sausage and Giardiniera Pizza (Sliced Sausage, Spicy Giardiniera, Peppers, and Mozzarella) was awesome, with plenty of spice from the giardiniera, minimal sauce, and a great thin crust. The Porterhouse Pork Chop (Grilled Pork Chop over Jalapeno Bacon Cornbread, Chimichurri Sauce, Charred Pineapple and Green Onions) was a visual delight and tasted awesome, though the meat itself was slightly tough from being overcooked. Perhaps some difficulty lining up the two entrees' cooking times? For dessert, a chocoholic like myself can be no happier than the Sympathy for the Devil (Slice of Devil’s Food Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Whipped Cream). Strangely enough, the waitress once again did not inquire if I was interested in another drink, coffee or otherwise.
Just off the busier city center, this is a relaxed restaurant that shows definite potential. Food is inventive and tasty, with a menu that makes for tough choices. Apart from some minor hiccups with the service, this is a great option for a meal that is casual but not ordinary.
This meal was comped for review purposes - all opinions are my own.
Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel