My bff and I were getting haircuts from Shimi at Carissima Salon (she is AMAZING!) and somewhat randomly stopped in here for lunch, enticed by the sign suggesting hot spiced cider ("Try it spiked!") outside. We immediately ordered two such ciders (spiked please!) and were rewarded with two steaming mugs of deliciousness. I am not always the biggest fan of hot whiskey drinks, or hot alcohol drinks in general. I think the secret is getting the proportions just right - too much alcohol, and you're just drinking hot booze, ie heated alcohol, because all the other flavors seem muted. Too little, and you're drinking hot apple cider that seems to have gone bad. But these were perfect: BFF had the whiskey option, which I loved, and I, in a bid to play it safe, tried the pear alcohol (vodka? whiskey? I don't actually know), which was very tasty.
The interior is all wood, somewhat dimly lit with red accents. Very intimate and pleasant, and romantic, though not in an overdetermined kind of way. You feel strangely removed from the slightly soulless bustle of Clark Street outside. The cutlery and dishes are really lovely, which seems like a minor thing but it gives the place a bit of character.
We followed our drinks up with two bowls of soup - BFF went with the French Onion, and I got the soup of the day, a potato leek. Both were absolutely phenomenal. The French Onion was, quite simply, perfect. Gooey, crisp-at-the-edges cheese, a rich onion broth with that lil' somethin' somethin' flavor that the best onion soups have (white wine? hours of attention?) and blobs of bread. My potato leek was rich and warming and exactly what I wanted. I used some of the soft baguette that appeared on the table to mop up every last drop.
We concluded, somewhat hurriedly, with a coq au vin crepe. The coq au vin filling, again, was a masterful execution of the classic, and it worked surprisingly well as crepe filling. The crepe itself was slightly crisp and very pleasant, enough filling that it sort of squished out as you cut it, but not so much that it became overwhelming or soggy.
Overall, I was really blown away. It was a wonderful place to have lunch or perhaps dinner before a movie at Landmark. I will definitely be coming back. For that spiked cider for sure.