“Comfortable clubhouse and a lively lounge” perfectly sums up Tortoise Club in River North. Tortoise Club is about a year old but feels like your grandparents old school club in a good way because you have all of the fancy schmancy and none of the stuffiness, the vibe is upbeat and fun. Plaid wallpaper covers the walls, old men with beards in paintings, white table cloths, proper service, live jazz band and beautiful Red Room and Library for private events.
Rich classic comfort food dominates the menu and on cold winter night it’s just what you need. The specialty cocktails are well made, I recommend the Southside: Hendricks gin, fresh squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup, mint.
The Restaurant Week menu is $44 for three courses and a really good value (meat dishes a la carte would be $57.85). First Course:
Hand-Cut NY Strip Steak Tartare: Tabasco, worcestershire, quail egg and pretzel toast. This had a nice spicy kick with a good texture and a good red color (steak tartare should be red not brown). The egg was perfect and I don’t need to tell you how great pretzel toast is.
Brussels Sprouts Salad: Purple kale, sunflower seeds, apple cider vinaigrette. Fantastic textures and flavors that worked really well together. The brussels sprouts were nice and tender without being mushy and no hint of bitterness. The vinaigrette had a bit of a sweet taste
Butternut Squash Risotto with Parmigiano -Reggiano. Wow, this dish is indulgent. The cheese had rich almost cheddar taste and I was kind of wishing I had ordered it.
Wild Pheasant Pie: Slow-roasted wild pheasant, root vegetables, and foie gras cognac sauce. This was THE dish of the evening. I probably don’t want to know how much butter went into the flaky crust and after trying it I don’t care. The bird was just gamy enough and the root vegetable were hearty and the sauce was a piece of heaven. Everyone at the table had order envy. If you want rich comfort food this is your dish.
Lake Superior Whitefish: Herb crusted, broccoli, baby potatoes, pine nuts, raisins, Buerre Blanc. I didn’t try this one but the plate was cleaned and my friend said it was veeery good.
Veal Tenderloin Medallions: Wild Rice and mushroom jus. I’m liking the wild rice and black rice trend I’ve been seeing lately on menus. The veal was full of flavor and tender. If veal is your thing you need to get this dish.
Turtle Sundae: House made vanilla ice cream, gold brick, caramel sauce and praline.
Warm Chocolate Brownie: Valrhona chocolate and house made Madagascar vanilla ice cream. I was amazed I had room for this but glad I did because there is nothing like home made warm brownies with ice cream. Definitely get this.