Downtown's first gastropub feels as if it's been here forever, thanks to an impeccable remodeling of a historic space (the restaurant's name comes from Gage Bros. & Co., a millinery company that was based in the building in the late 1800s). The owners, originally from Ireland, own the Irish Oak pub in Wrigleyville, and with the Gage they have created a place where the food deserves equal billing with the drinks. (This is also one of the few places in the Loop that serves decent food late, even on weeknights.) The menu had me puzzled at first, with headings listed simply "First," "Second," "Third," and "Fourth"; the result is an emphasis on appetizer-size portions, which you can order in any combination. Choices run the gamut from basic (homemade chicken-noodle soup; burgers; roasted Amish chicken) to exotic (the roast saddle of elk, for which you'll pay an eye-popping $38). The wide range means that the Gage is a good choice for groups with different tastes. (I can't think of many places downtown that offer tuna tartare, duck leg confit, mussels with spicy Indian vindaloo sauce, and ricotta-and-semolina dumplings on the same menu.) My only disappointment -- surprisingly -- was the bland fish and chips.
On Saturdays and Sundays, the Gage serves brunch, including a traditional Irish breakfast of eggs, rashers, black and white puddings, sausages and beans on toast.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Recommended 2009
- Recommended 2010