A Chicago Wine Bar and A Dancing Man
Whenever I travel to another city, town, or country, one of the first things I check for is a good wine bar. The discovery of one can prove to be difficult on a holiday. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case this past Fourth of July.
Enolo Wine Café on Clark Street in Chicago’s River North district was open until 9pm. This may have been due to sommelier, Tony Rossi’s proclaimed aversion to crowds. Nonetheless, I was grateful. The fact that it was walking distance from my hotel made it even more appealing.
Upon entering Enolo Wine Café’s boldly decorated interior, I instantly noticed the gorgeous gold accent wall. Mr. Rossi who instructed us to sit anywhere we like greeted us. There was a quaint sidewalk patio but we opted for the high table facing the outdoors. It was a tad muggy, especially after the walk.
There were four other people in the entire restaurant aside from us. One was sitting inside and the other on the patio. They all left shortly after our arrival, making for quite an intimate experience. The café, which would be more appropriately named a bar/restaurant, was relatively quiet as most patrons were presumably on their way to their prospective fireworks spectating locales.
Tony Rossi, the sommelier as I mentioned above, convincingly recommended a delicious, dry white wine known as Albariño. Grown in Spain, the after taste was unlike anything I’ve ever tried. He went on to explain the interesting differences between French and Spanish Albariños, visibly enjoying sharing his wealth of knowledge on the beverage of the Gods. I must also mention the wine he recommended also happened to be the cheapest glass on their list. I sincerely appreciate a professional who suggests based off of my stated preferences and not simply to gain an extra dollar or few. It’s rare.
I ordered tempura shishito peppers, as what I hoped would be a light snack. I was full from our previous meal. Holy shishitos! Light would not be an accurate term for this appetizer, but the presentation was beautiful. It arrived to the table in a lined metal basket with handle and a side of kimchi aioli dipping sauce. Quite honestly, though, the tempura was unnecessary. I actually ended up removing the fried batter halfway through and just eating the pepper.
I can’t forget the live entertainment. “Dancing Man,” as Mr. Rossi affectionately called him, walks up and down Clark Street with headphones in. He puts on a full self-choreographed routine to music that only he can hear, utilizing street signs as the occasional stripper pole. He twerks and twists and drops and pops, just hoping to catch someone’s eye, and he caught mine. I received the fiercest look that screamed, “It’s Britney, bitch.”
Apparently, Dancing Man’s routine is a regular, free show for patrons and employees of Clark Street’s businesses. Not gonna lie, I kinda felt like joining him, reminiscing on and missing my many years of dancing. For the record, by dancing, I do not mean stripping. I wish I’d gotten a photo or video of Dancing Man but he dropped it like it’s hot too fast for my Smartphone camera’s capabilities.
Enolo Wine Café has it all – great wine, a menu that extends far beyond the tempura shishito peppers I tried, an extremely knowledgeable sommelier, lovely décor, and free entertainment! The restrooms are pretty awesome, too, in case that’s of importance to any of you as it is to me. Unpretentious, friendly, and relaxing – who could ask for more?